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Genesis 41

41
1At the end of two full years, Pharaoh dreamt, and behold, he stood by the river. 2Behold, seven cattle came up out of the river. They were sleek and fat, and they fed in the marsh grass. 3Behold, seven other cattle came up after them out of the river, ugly and thin, and stood by the other cattle on the brink of the river. 4The ugly and thin cattle ate up the seven sleek and fat cattle. So Pharaoh awoke. 5He slept and dreamt a second time; and behold, seven heads of grain came up on one stalk, healthy and good. 6Behold, seven heads of grain, thin and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them. 7The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy and full ears. Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream. 8In the morning, his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all of Egypt’s magicians and wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them to Pharaoh.
9Then the chief cup bearer spoke to Pharaoh, saying, “I remember my faults today. 10Pharaoh was angry with his servants, and put me in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, with the chief baker. 11We dreamt a dream in one night, he and I. Each man dreamt according to the interpretation of his dream. 12There was with us there a young man, a Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard, and we told him, and he interpreted to us our dreams. He interpreted to each man according to his dream. 13As he interpreted to us, so it was. He restored me to my office, and he hanged him.”
14Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon. He shaved himself, changed his clothing, and came in to Pharaoh. 15Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have dreamt a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you, that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”
16Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, “It isn’t in me. God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”
17Pharaoh spoke to Joseph, “In my dream, behold, I stood on the brink of the river; 18and behold, seven fat and sleek cattle came up out of the river. They fed in the marsh grass; 19and behold, seven other cattle came up after them, poor and very ugly and thin, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for ugliness. 20The thin and ugly cattle ate up the first seven fat cattle; 21and when they had eaten them up, it couldn’t be known that they had eaten them, but they were still ugly, as at the beginning. So I awoke. 22I saw in my dream, and behold, seven heads of grain came up on one stalk, full and good; 23and behold, seven heads of grain, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them. 24The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads of grain. I told it to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me.”
25Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dream of Pharaoh is one. What God is about to do he has declared to Pharaoh. 26The seven good cattle are seven years; and the seven good heads of grain are seven years. The dream is one. 27The seven thin and ugly cattle that came up after them are seven years, and also the seven empty heads of grain blasted with the east wind; they will be seven years of famine. 28That is the thing which I have spoken to Pharaoh. God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29Behold, seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt are coming. 30Seven years of famine will arise after them, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will consume the land, 31and the plenty will not be known in the land by reason of that famine which follows; for it will be very grievous. 32The dream was doubled to Pharaoh, because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.
33“Now therefore let Pharaoh look for a discreet and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint overseers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt’s produce in the seven plenteous years. 35Let them gather all the food of these good years that come, and store grain under the hand of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. 36The food will be to supply the land against the seven years of famine, which will be in the land of Egypt; so that the land will not perish through the famine.”
37The thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants. 38Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?” 39Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Because God has shown you all of this, there is no one so discreet and wise as you. 40You shall be over my house. All my people will be ruled according to your word. Only in the throne I will be greater than you.” 41Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Behold, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” 42Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand, and put it on Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in robes of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck. 43He made him ride in the second chariot which he had. They cried before him, “Bow the knee!” He set him over all the land of Egypt. 44Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh. Without you, no man shall lift up his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt.” 45Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphenath-Paneah. He gave him Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On as a wife. Joseph went out over the land of Egypt.
46Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt. 47In the seven plenteous years the earth produced abundantly. 48He gathered up all the food of the seven years which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities. He stored food in each city from the fields around that city. 49Joseph laid up grain as the sand of the sea, very much, until he stopped counting, for it was without number. 50To Joseph were born two sons before the year of famine came, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore to him. 51Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh,#41:51 “Manasseh” sounds like the Hebrew for “forget”. “For”, he said, “God has made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house.” 52The name of the second, he called Ephraim:#41:52 “Ephraim” sounds like the Hebrew for “twice fruitful”. “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
53The seven years of plenty, that were in the land of Egypt, came to an end. 54The seven years of famine began to come, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. 55When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, and Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. What he says to you, do.” 56The famine was over all the surface of the earth. Joseph opened all the store houses, and sold to the Egyptians. The famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57All countries came into Egypt, to Joseph, to buy grain, because the famine was severe in all the earth.
41
1A full two years later, Pharaoh had a dream that he was standing beside the River Nile. 2He saw seven cows coming up from the river. They looked well-fed and healthy as they grazed among the reeds. 3Then he saw another seven cows that came up behind them. They looked ugly and skinny as they stood beside the other cows on the bank of the Nile. 4Then the ugly, skinny cows ate the well-fed, healthy cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.
5Pharaoh fell asleep again and had a second dream. Seven heads of grain were growing on one stalk, ripe and healthy. 6Then seven heads of grain grew up after them, thin and dried by the east wind. 7The seven thin and dried heads of grain swallowed up the ripe and healthy ones. Then Pharaoh woke up and realized he'd been dreaming.
8The next morning Pharaoh was worried by his dreams,#41:8. “By his dreams”: supplied for clarity. so he sent for all the magicians and wise men in Egypt. Pharaoh told them about his dreams, but no one could interpret their meaning for him.
9But then the chief cupbearer spoke up. “Today I've just remembered a bad mistake I've made,” he explained. 10“Your Majesty was angry with some of your officials and you imprisoned me in the house of the commander of the guard, along with the chief baker. 11We each had a dream. They were different dreams, each with its own meaning. 12A young Hebrew was there with us, a slave of the commander of the guard. When we told him our dreams, he interpreted for us the meaning of our different dreams. 13Everything happened just as he said it would—I was given back my job and the baker was hanged.”
14Pharaoh summoned Joseph, and they quickly brought him from the prison. After he'd shaved and changed his clothes, he was presented to Pharaoh.
15Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, but no one can interpret its meaning. But I've heard that when someone tells you a dream you know how to interpret it.”
16“It's not me who can do this,” Joseph replied. “But God will explain its meaning to set Your Majesty's mind at rest.”
17Pharaoh explained to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile. 18I saw seven cows coming up from the river. They looked well-fed and healthy as they grazed among the reeds. 19Then I saw another seven cows that came up behind them. They looked sickly and ugly and skinny—I've never seen such ugly cows in the whole of Egypt! 20These skinny, ugly cows ate the first seven healthy-looking cows. 21But afterwards you couldn't tell they'd eaten them because they looked just as skinny and ugly as before. Then I woke up.
22Then I fell asleep again. In my second dream I saw seven heads of grain growing on one stalk, ripe and healthy. 23Then seven heads of grain grew up after them, withered and thin and dried by the east wind. 24The seven thin heads of grain swallowed up the healthy ones. I told all this to the magicians, but none of them could explain its meaning to me.”
25“Pharaoh's dreams mean the same thing,” Joseph responded. “God is telling Pharaoh what he is going to do. 26The seven good cows and the seven good heads of grain represent seven good years of harvest.#41:26. “Of harvest”: supplied for clarity. The dreams mean the same thing. 27The seven skinny and ugly cows that came after them and the seven thin heads of grain dried by the east wind represent seven years of famine. 28It's just as I told Your Majesty—God has shown Pharaoh what he is going to do. 29There are going to be seven years with plenty of food produced throughout the whole country of Egypt. 30But after them will come seven years of famine. People will forget the time when there was plenty of food throughout Egypt. Famine will ruin the country. 31The time of plenty will be completely forgotten because the famine that follows it will be so terrible. 32The fact that the dream was repeated twice means that it has definitely been decided by God, and that God is going to do this soon.
33So Your Majesty should choose a man with insight and wisdom, and put him in charge of the whole country of Egypt. 34Your Majesty should also appoint officials to be in charge of the land, and have them collect one-fifth of the produce of the country during the seven years of plenty. 35They should collect all the food during the good years that are soon coming, and store the grain under Pharaoh's authority, keeping it under guard to provide food for the towns. 36This will be a food reserve for the country during the seven years of famine so that the people won't die of starvation.”
37Pharaoh and all his officials thought Joseph's proposal was a good idea. 38So Pharaoh asked them, “Where can we find a man like this who has the spirit of God in him?” 39Then Pharaoh spoke to Joseph, telling him, “Since God has revealed to you all this, and there's no one like you with such insight and wisdom, 40you will be in charge of all my affairs, and all my people will obey your orders. Only I with my status as king#41:40. “My status as king”: literally “the throne.” will be greater than you.”
41Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Look, I'm putting you in charge of the whole country of Egypt.” 42Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph's finger. He dressed him in fine linen clothes and placed a golden chain around his neck. 43He had Joseph ride in the chariot designated for his second-in-command while his attendants went ahead, shouting, “Bow down!”#41:43. “Bow down!” This Egyptian loan word is variously translated: “Attention!” “Make way!” “Praise!” “Do homage!” All relate to honoring a dignitary. This is how Pharaoh gave Joseph authority over all of Egypt.
44Then Pharaoh told Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your permission nobody will lift a hand or a foot anywhere in the whole country.” 45Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-paneah,#41:45. Meaning “The God speaks and he (the subject) lives.” and arranged for him to marry Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. This is how Joseph rose to power over the whole of Egypt.
46Joseph was thirty when he started working for Pharaoh, king of Egypt. After he had left Pharaoh, Joseph traveled on an inspection tour#41:46. “On an inspection tour”: supplied for clarity. throughout Egypt. 47During the seven years of good harvests, the land produced plenty of food. 48He collected all the food during the seven good years, and he stored the grain produced in the local fields in each town. 49Joseph piled up so much grain that it was like the sand of the seashore. Eventually he stopped keeping records because there was just so much!
50It was during this time, before the years of famine came, that Joseph had two sons by Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. 51Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh,#41:51. “Manasseh” means “cause to forget.” because he said, “The Lord has made me forget all my troubles and all my father's family.” 52His second son he named Ephraim,#41:52. “Ephraim” means “fruitful.” because he said, “God has made me fruitful in the country of my misery.”
53The seven years of plenty in Egypt came to an end, 54and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other countries but the whole of Egypt had food. 55When all of Egypt was hungry, the people cried out to Pharaoh for food, and he told everyone, “Go and see Joseph and do whatever he tells you.” 56The famine had spread all over the country so Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the people of Egypt. The famine was very bad in Egypt, 57in fact the famine was very bad everywhere, so people from other countries all around came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph.