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Genesis 41

41
Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s Dreams
1At the end of two years Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing beside the Nile,#Gn 41:17–23 2when seven healthy-looking, well-fed cows came up from the Nile and began to graze among the reeds. 3After them, seven other cows, sickly and thin, came up from the Nile and stood beside those cows along the bank of the Nile. 4The sickly, thin cows ate the healthy, well-fed cows. Then Pharaoh woke up. 5He fell asleep and dreamed a second time: Seven heads of grain, plump and good, came up on one stalk. 6After them, seven heads of grain, thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouted up. 7The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven plump, full ones. Then Pharaoh woke up, and it was only a dream.
8When morning came, he was troubled,#Dn 2:1,3 so he summoned all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men.#Ex 7:11,22; Dn 1:20; 2:2 Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.
9Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I remember my faults. 10Pharaoh was angry with his servants, and he put me and the chief baker in the custody of the captain of the guards. 11He and I had dreams on the same night; each dream had its own meaning. 12Now a young Hebrew, a slave of the captain of the guards, was with us there. We told him our dreams, he interpreted our dreams for us, and each had its own interpretation. 13It turned out just the way he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was hanged.”#Gn 40:1–22
14Then Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and they quickly brought him from the dungeon.#41:14 Or pit, or cistern#Ps 105:20 He shaved, changed his clothes, and went to Pharaoh.#Dn 2:25
15Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said about you that you can hear a dream and interpret it.”#Dn 5:16
16“I am not able to,”#Dn 2:30 Joseph answered Pharaoh. “It is God who will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”#41:16 Or “God will answer Pharaoh with peace of mind.”#Gn 40:8; Dn 2:22,28,47
17So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, 18when seven well-fed, healthy-looking cows came up from the Nile and grazed among the reeds. 19After them, seven other cows — weak, very sickly, and thin — came up. I’ve never seen such sickly ones as these in all the land of Egypt. 20Then the thin, sickly cows ate the first seven well-fed cows. 21When they had devoured them, you could not tell that they had devoured them; their appearance was as bad as it had been before. Then I woke up. 22In my dream I also saw seven heads of grain, full and good, coming up on one stalk. 23After them, seven heads of grain — withered, thin, and scorched by the east wind — sprouted up. 24The thin heads of grain swallowed the seven good ones. I told this to the magicians, but no one can tell me what it means.”#Is 8:19; Dn 4:7
25Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s dreams mean the same thing. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do.#Dn 2:28–29,45; Rv 4:1 26The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads are seven years. The dreams mean the same thing. 27The seven thin, sickly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind are seven years of famine.#2Kg 8:1
28“It is just as I told Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt. 30After them, seven years of famine will take place, and all the abundance in the land of Egypt will be forgotten. The famine will devastate the land.#Gn 41:54,56; 47:13; Ps 105:16 31The abundance in the land will not be remembered because of the famine that follows it, for the famine will be very severe. 32Since the dream was given twice to Pharaoh, it means that the matter has been determined by God, and he will carry it out soon.
33“So now, let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and set him over the land of Egypt. 34Let Pharaoh do this: Let him appoint overseers over the land and take a fifth of the harvest of the land of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35Let them gather all the excess food during these good years that are coming. Under Pharaoh’s authority, store the grain in the cities, so they may preserve it as food. 36The food will be a reserve for the land during the seven years of famine that will take place in the land of Egypt. Then the country will not be wiped out by the famine.”
Joseph Exalted
37The proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants, 38and he said to them, “Can we find anyone like this, a man who has God’s spirit#41:38 Or the spirit of the gods, or a god’s spirit in him?” #Jb 32:8; Dn 4:8,9,18; 5:11,14 39So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one as discerning and wise as you are. 40You will be over my house, and all my people will obey your commands.#41:40 Lit will kiss your mouth#Ps 105:21; Ac 7:10 Only I, as king,#41:40 Lit Only the throne I will be greater than you.” 41Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “See, I am placing you over all the land of Egypt.” 42Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, clothed him with fine linen garments, and placed a gold chain around his neck.#Est 3:10; 8:2; Dn 5:7,16,29 43He had Joseph ride in his second chariot, and servants called out before him, “Make way!” #41:43 Or “Kneel!” So he placed him over all the land of Egypt. 44Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh and no one will be able to raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt without your permission.” 45Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-paneah and gave him a wife, Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest at On.#41:45 Or Heliopolis, also in v. 50 And Joseph went throughout#41:45 Or Joseph gained authority over the land of Egypt.
Joseph’s Administration
46Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Joseph left Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout the land of Egypt.
47During the seven years of abundance the land produced outstanding harvests. 48Joseph gathered all the excess food in the land of Egypt during the seven years and put it in the cities. He put the food in every city from the fields around it. 49So Joseph stored up grain in such abundance — like the sand of the sea — that he stopped measuring it because it was beyond measure.
50Two sons were born to Joseph before the years of famine arrived.#Gn 46:20; 48:5 Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest at On, bore them to him. 51Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh#41:51 In Hb, the name Manasseh sounds like the verb “forget.” and said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and my whole family.” 52And the second son he named Ephraim#41:52 In Hb, the name Ephraim sounds like the word for “fruitful.” and said, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
53Then the seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt came to an end, 54and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in every land, but in the whole land of Egypt there was food. 55When the whole land of Egypt was stricken with famine, the people cried out to Pharaoh for food. Pharaoh told all Egypt, “Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you.” 56Now the famine had spread across the whole region, so Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57Every land came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, for the famine was severe in every land.#Gn 12:10
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.