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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.
41
Joseph Interprets the King's Dreams
1After two years had passed, the king of Egypt dreamt that he was standing by the River Nile, 2when seven cows, fat and sleek, came up out of the river and began to feed on the grass. 3Then seven other cows came up; they were thin and bony. They came and stood by the other cows on the river bank, 4and the thin cows ate up the fat cows. Then the king woke up. 5He fell asleep again and had another dream. Seven ears of corn, full and ripe, were growing on one stalk. 6Then seven other ears of corn sprouted, thin and scorched by the desert wind, 7and the thin ears of corn swallowed the full ones. The king woke up and realized that he had been dreaming. 8#Dan 2.2In the morning he was worried, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. He told them his dreams, but no one could explain them to him.
9Then the wine steward said to the king, “I must confess today that I have done wrong. 10You were angry with the chief baker and me, and you put us in prison in the house of the captain of the guard. 11One night each of us had a dream, and the dreams had different meanings. 12A young Hebrew was there with us, a slave of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us. 13Things turned out just as he said: you restored me to my position, but you executed the baker.”
14The king sent for Joseph, and he was immediately brought from the prison. After he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came into the king's presence. 15The king said to him, “I have had a dream, and no one can explain it. I have been told that you can interpret dreams.”
16Joseph answered, “I cannot, Your Majesty, but God will give a favourable interpretation.”
17The king said, “I dreamt that I was standing on the bank of the Nile, 18when seven cows, fat and sleek, came up out of the river and began feeding on the grass. 19Then seven other cows came up which were thin and bony. They were the poorest cows I have ever seen anywhere in Egypt. 20The thin cows ate up the fat ones, 21but no one would have known it, because they looked just as bad as before. Then I woke up. 22I also dreamt that I saw seven ears of corn which were full and ripe, growing on one stalk. 23Then seven ears of corn sprouted, thin and scorched by the desert wind, 24and the thin ears of corn swallowed the full ones. I told the dreams to the magicians, but none of them could explain them to me.”
25Joseph said to the king, “The two dreams mean the same thing; God has told you what he is going to do. 26The seven fat cows are seven years, and the seven full ears of corn are also seven years; they have the same meaning. 27The seven thin cows which came up later and the seven thin ears of corn scorched by the desert wind are seven years of famine. 28It is just as I told you — God has shown you what he is going to do. 29There will be seven years of great plenty in all the land of Egypt. 30After that, there will be seven years of famine, and all the good years will be forgotten, because the famine will ruin the country. 31The time of plenty will be entirely forgotten, because the famine which follows will be so terrible. 32The repetition of your dream means that the matter is fixed by God and that he will make it happen in the near future.
33“Now you should choose some man with wisdom and insight and put him in charge of the country. 34You must also appoint other officials and take a fifth of the crops during the seven years of plenty. 35Order them to collect all the food during the good years that are coming, and give them authority to store up corn in the cities and guard it. 36The food will be a reserve supply for the country during the seven years of famine which are going to come on Egypt. In this way the people will not starve.”
Joseph is Made Governor over Egypt
37The king and his officials approved this plan, 38and he said to them, “We will never find a better man than Joseph, a man who has God's Spirit in him.” 39The king said to Joseph, “God has shown you all this, so it is obvious that you have greater wisdom and insight than anyone else. 40#Acts 7.10I will put you in charge of my country, and all my people will obey your orders. Your authority will be second only to mine. 41I now appoint you governor over all Egypt.” 42#Dan 5.29The king removed from his finger the ring engraved with the royal seal and put it on Joseph's finger. He put a fine linen robe on him, and placed a gold chain round his neck. 43He gave him the second royal chariot to ride in, and his guard of honour went ahead of him and cried out, “Make way! Make way!” And so Joseph was appointed governor over all Egypt. 44The king said to him, “I am the king — and no one in all Egypt shall so much as lift a hand or a foot without your permission.” 45-46He gave Joseph the Egyptian name Zaphenath Paneah, and he gave him a wife, Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, a priest in the city of Heliopolis.
Joseph was thirty years old when he began to serve the king of Egypt. He left the king's court and travelled all over the land. 47During the seven years of plenty the land produced abundant crops, 48all of which Joseph collected and stored in the cities. In each city he stored the food from the fields around it. 49There was so much corn that Joseph stopped measuring it — it was like the sand of the sea.
50Before the years of famine came, Joseph had two sons by Asenath. 51He said, “God has made me forget all my sufferings and all my father's family”; so he named his first son Manasseh.#41.51 Manasseh: This name sounds like the Hebrew for “cause to forget”. 52He also said, “God has given me children in the land of my trouble”; so he named his second son Ephraim.#41.52 Ephraim: This name sounds like the Hebrew for “give children”.
53The seven years of plenty that the land of Egypt had enjoyed came to an end, 54#Acts 7.11and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in every other country, but there was food throughout Egypt. 55#Jn 2.5When the Egyptians began to be hungry, they cried out to the king for food. So he ordered them to go to Joseph and do what he told them. 56The famine grew worse and spread over the whole country, so Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold corn to the Egyptians. 57People came to Egypt from all over the world to buy corn from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.