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Genesis 41

41
Pharaoh’s Dream
1Now it happened at the end of two full years that Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing by the #Lit the river, and so throughout.Nile. 2And lo, there came up out of the Nile seven [healthy] cows, sleek and handsome and fat; and they grazed in the reed grass [in a marshy pasture]. 3Then behold, seven other cows came up after them out of the Nile, ugly and gaunt and raw-boned, and stood by the fat cows on the bank of the Nile. 4Then the ugly and gaunt and raw-boned cows ate up the seven sleek and fat cows. Then Pharaoh awoke. 5Then he fell asleep and dreamed a second time; and behold, seven ears of grain came up on a single stalk, plump and good. 6Then behold, seven ears [of grain], thin and dried up by the east wind, sprouted after them. 7Then the thin ears swallowed the seven plump and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and it was a dream. 8So when morning came his spirit was troubled and disturbed and he sent and called for all the magicians and all the wise men of Egypt. And Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them to him.
9Then the chief cupbearer spoke to Pharaoh, saying, “I would mention my faults today. 10[Two years ago] Pharaoh was angry with his servants, and he put me in confinement in the house of the captain of the guard, both me and the chief baker. 11We dreamed a dream on the same night, he and I; each of us dreamed according to [the significance of] the interpretation of his own dream. 12Now there was with us [in the prison] a young man, a Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard; and we told him, and he interpreted our dreams for us, to each man according to the significance of his own dream. 13And just as he interpreted [the dreams] for us, so it happened; I was restored to my office [as chief cupbearer], and the baker was hanged.”
Joseph Interprets
14Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph, and they hurriedly brought him out of the dungeon; and when Joseph shaved himself and changed his clothes [making himself presentable], he came to Pharaoh. 15Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have dreamed a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it; and I have heard it said about you that you can understand a dream and interpret it.” 16Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me [to interpret the dream]; God [not I] will give Pharaoh a #Lit answer of peace.favorable answer [through me].” 17So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream, I was standing on the bank of the Nile; 18and seven fat, sleek and handsome cows came up out of the river, and they grazed in the reed grass [of a marshy pasture]. 19Lo, seven other cows came up after them, very ugly and gaunt [just skin and bones]; such emaciated animals as I have never seen in all the land of Egypt. 20And the lean and ugly cows ate up the first seven fat cows. 21Yet when they had devoured them, it could not be detected that they had eaten them, because they were still as thin and emaciated as before. Then I awoke [but again I fell asleep and dreamed]. 22I saw in my [second] dream, seven ears [of grain], plump and good, growing on a single stalk; 23and lo, seven [other] ears, withered, thin, and scorched by the east wind, sprouted after them; 24and the thin ears devoured the seven good ears. Now I told this to the magicians and soothsayers, but there was no one who could explain it [to me].”
25Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The [two] dreams are one [and the same and have one interpretation]; God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do. 26The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are seven years; the [two] dreams are one [and the same]. 27The seven thin and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years; and also the seven thin ears, dried up and scorched by the east wind, they are seven years of famine and hunger. 28This is the message just as I have told Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do. 29Listen very carefully: seven years of great abundance will come throughout all the land of Egypt; 30but afterward seven years of famine and hunger will come, and [there will be such desperate need that] all the great abundance [of the previous years] will be forgotten in the land of Egypt [as if it never happened], and famine and destitution will ravage and destroy the land. 31So the great abundance will become forgotten in the land because of that subsequent famine, for it will be very severe. 32That the dream was repeated twice to Pharaoh [and in two different ways] indicates that this matter is fully determined and established by God, and God will bring it to pass very quickly. 33So now let Pharaoh [prepare ahead and] look for a man discerning and clear-headed and wise, and set him [in charge] over the land of Egypt [as governor under Pharaoh]. 34Let Pharaoh take action to appoint overseers and officials over the land, and set aside one-fifth [of the produce] of the [entire] land of Egypt in the seven years of abundance. 35Let them gather [as a tax] all [of the fifth of] the food of these good years that are coming, and store up grain under the direction and authority of Pharaoh, and let them guard the food [in fortified granaries] in the cities. 36That food shall be put [in storage] as a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine and hunger which will occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land (people) will not be ravaged during the famine.”
37Now the plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all of his servants.
Joseph Is Made a Ruler of Egypt
38So Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this [a man equal to Joseph], in whom is the divine spirit [of God]?” 39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since [your] God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and clear-headed and wise as you are. 40You shall have charge over my house, and all my people shall #Lit yield to your mouth.be governed according to your word and pay respect [to you with reverence, submission, and obedience]; only in [matters of] the throne will I be greater than you [in Egypt].” 41Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you [in charge] over all the land of Egypt.” 42Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and dressed him in [official] vestments of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43He had him ride in his second chariot; and runners proclaimed before him, “[Attention,] bow the knee!” And he set him over all the land of Egypt. 44Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Though I am Pharaoh, yet without your permission shall no man raise his hand [to do anything] or set his foot [to go anywhere] in all the land of Egypt [all classes of people shall submit to your authority].” 45Then Pharaoh named Joseph #Probably Egyptian for “God speaks; he lives.”Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On (Heliopolis in Egypt), as his wife. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt [to inspect and govern it].
46Now Joseph [had been in Egypt thirteen years and] was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Joseph departed from the presence of Pharaoh and went through all the land of Egypt [performing his duties]. 47In the seven abundant years the earth produced handfuls [for each seed planted]. 48And Joseph gathered all the [surplus] food of the seven [good] years in the land of Egypt and stored [enormous quantities of] the food in the cities. He stored away in every city the food [collected] from its own surrounding fields. 49Thus Joseph gathered and stored up grain in great abundance like the sand of the sea, until he stopped counting it, for it could not be measured.
The Sons of Joseph
50Now two sons were born to Joseph before the years of famine came, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, bore to him. 51Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh (causing to forget), for he said, “God has made me forget all my trouble and hardship and all [the sorrow of the loss of] my father’s household.” 52He named the second [son] Ephraim (fruitfulness), for “God has caused me to be fruitful and very successful in the land of my suffering.”
53When the seven years of plenty came to an end in the land of Egypt, 54the seven years of famine began to come, just as Joseph had said [they would]; the famine was in all the [surrounding] lands, but in the land of Egypt there was bread (food). 55So when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried out to Pharaoh for food; and Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph; do whatever he says to you.” 56When the famine was spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold [surplus grain] to the Egyptians; and the famine grew [extremely] severe in the land of Egypt. 57And [the people of] all countries came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the [known] earth.

Genesis 41

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.