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Genesis 41

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Chapter 41
Pharaoh's dreams
1Two years later, Pharaoh had a dream. In his dream, he was standing by the River Nile. 2Seven cows walked up out of the river. They were fat and good to look at. They ate the grass at the side of the river. 3After those seven fat cows, Pharaoh saw seven other cows that also came up out of the river. Those cows were thin and not good to look at. They stood next to the other cows at the side of the river. 4The thin cows ate the seven fat cows! Then Pharaoh woke up.
5Pharaoh went to sleep again and he had another dream. He saw seven groups of grain that were growing on one branch. The grains were fat and good to look at. 6Then he saw seven other groups of grain that grew after the first seven groups. These grains were thin, because the hot east wind had burned them. 7Then the groups of thin grains ate the seven groups of grains that were good and fat. Then Pharaoh woke up. He realized that it was a dream.
8In the morning, Pharaoh had trouble in his mind. So, he told all the magicians and the wise men in Egypt to come to him. Pharaoh told them about his dreams. But no one could tell Pharaoh what his dreams meant.
9Then the king's cupbearer said to Pharaoh, ‘Now I remember that I have done a wrong thing! #41:9 The cupbearer had authority in the king's house. He would make sure that the king's wine was safe for the king to drink. 10Two years ago, you were angry with me and with your special baker. You put us in prison, in the house of the guards' captain. 11One night we both had a dream. Each of our dreams had its own meaning. 12A young Hebrew man was there with us. He was a servant of the guards' captain. We told the Hebrew man about our dreams. Then he told each of us the meaning of our dream. 13And everything happened as he had told us! You gave me my job as cupbearer again. But you hanged the baker to kill him.’
14So Pharaoh called Joseph to come to him. They quickly brought Joseph from the prison. Joseph washed himself and he cut his beard from his face. He put on clean clothes. Then he went and he stood in front of Pharaoh. 15Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I had a dream, and no one can tell me what it means. But people have told me about you. They say that you can tell the meaning of dreams.’ 16Joseph replied to Pharaoh, ‘I cannot do this. But God will give you an answer that will make you happy.’
17Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘In my dream, I stood at the side of the River Nile. 18I saw seven cows that came up out of the river. They were fat, and good to look at. They were eating the grass at the side of the river. 19After them, seven more cows came up out of the river. They were thin and they were not good to look at. I have never seen cows as bad as these in Egypt before. 20The thin cows ate the seven fat cows that came out of the river first. 21When they had eaten them, you would not have known it! They still seemed to be as thin as they were before they ate the fat cows. Then I woke up. 22In another dream, I also saw seven groups of grain that grew on one branch. The grains were fat and good. 23After those, seven other groups of grain grew. Those grains were thin because the hot east wind had burned them. 24The thin grains ate the seven groups of fat grains. I told those dreams to my wise men and magicians. But none of them could tell me the meaning of my dreams.’
25Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, ‘Your dreams both have the same meaning. God has shown you what he is going to do. 26The seven fat cows tell us about seven years. And the seven groups of fat grains also mean seven years. Both dreams have the same meaning. 27The seven thin cows that came out of the river mean seven years. And the seven groups of thin grains mean seven years. Both of these tell us about seven years of famine.
28This is what your dreams mean. As I said, God has shown Pharaoh what he is going to do. 29There will be plenty of food for seven years all over the land of Egypt. 30But then seven years of famine will follow. People will forget about the seven years when they had plenty of food. The famine will destroy the land of Egypt. 31No one will remember the seven good years, because the famine will be so bad. 32God gave you two dreams with the same meaning because these things will certainly happen. God will cause them to happen very soon. 33Now Pharaoh should look for a clever man. He should look for a man who knows what is right and wrong. Tell him to rule over the land of Egypt.
34-35This is what you should do: Choose some officers. Give them authority to store food during the good years when there is plenty. They must take a fifth part of all the food that grows everywhere in Egypt. They must store the extra food during the good years that will come soon. Give these officers authority to store and to take care of the food in the cities. 36Then you will be ready for the seven years of famine that will happen everywhere in Egypt. The people in Egypt will have enough food, and the famine will not destroy the land.’
37Pharaoh and his officers thought that Joseph's idea was good. 38Pharaoh said to his officers, ‘This man has the Spirit of God in him. We will never find anyone else like him.’ 39So Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘God himself has helped you to know all these things. So, there is no one who is as wise and clever as you are. 40I will give you authority in my palace. All my people will do whatever you tell them to do. Only I will be greater than you, because I am the king.’
41Pharaoh also said to Joseph, ‘I give you authority in the whole land of Egypt.’ 42Then Pharaoh took his king's ring from his finger and he put it on Joseph's finger. He dressed Joseph in beautiful clothes made of linen. He put a gold chain round Joseph's neck. 43Pharaoh gave Joseph a chariot to ride in. It showed that Joseph was Pharaoh's most important officer. Only Pharaoh had more authority. As Joseph travelled, his servants shouted to the people, ‘Bend your knees to respect Joseph!’
In this way Pharaoh gave Joseph authority over everything in the land of Egypt. 44Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I rule Egypt as Pharaoh. But nobody who lives anywhere in Egypt will do anything, unless you tell them to.’ 45Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah. He also gave Asenath to Joseph to be his wife. She was the daughter of Potiphera, who was a priest in Heliopolis. #41:45 Heliopolis was a city where people worshipped the sun-god. The city was also called On. Everyone knew that Joseph had authority in all the land of Egypt.
46Joseph was 30 years old when he began to serve Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Joseph then left Pharaoh's palace and he travelled all over Egypt. 47During the seven good years, lots of food grew in the land. 48Joseph got all the extra food that grew in the seven good years. He stored it in Egypt's cities, near the fields where it had grown. 49In this way, Joseph stored a lot of food. The food grains were as many as the sand by the sea! Joseph stopped counting how much food he had stored because there was too much food to measure.
50Before the years of famine arrived, Joseph became the father of two sons. Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, a priest in Heliopolis, was their mother. 51Joseph called his firstborn son Manasseh. Joseph said, ‘God has made me forget all the trouble that my family has given to me.’ 52Joseph called his second son Ephraim. Joseph said, ‘God has given children to me in the land where I have received pain.’
53The seven good years with plenty of food in Egypt, came to an end. 54The seven years of famine began, in the same way that Joseph had said would happen. There was a famine in all the other countries too. But in Egypt, the people still had food to eat. 55When the Egyptian people became hungry, they cried out to Pharaoh for food. When they did that, Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, ‘Go to Joseph. Do whatever he tells you to do.’
56The famine became very bad everywhere. Joseph opened all the places where he had stored the food. He sold grain to the Egyptians because there was a bad famine in all of Egypt. 57People from all the other countries came to Egypt to buy food from Joseph. They came because the famine was very bad all over the world.
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Pharaoh’s Dreams
1Two years later Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing by the Nile River. 2In the dream, seven cows came out of the river and stood there eating grass. They were healthy, good-looking cows. 3Then seven more cows came out of the river and stood on the bank of the river by the healthy cows. But these cows were thin and looked sick. 4The seven sick cows ate the seven healthy cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.
5Pharaoh went back to sleep and began dreaming again. This time he dreamed that he saw seven heads of grain growing on one plant. They were healthy and full of grain. 6Then he saw seven more heads of grain sprouting, but they were thin and scorched by the hot wind. 7The thin heads of grain ate the seven good heads of grain. Then Pharaoh woke up again and realized it was only a dream. 8The next morning Pharaoh was worried about these dreams, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told these men the dreams, but none of them could explain the dreams.
The Servant Tells Pharaoh About Joseph
9Then the wine servant remembered Joseph and said to Pharaoh, “I remember something that happened to me. 10You were angry with the baker and me, and you put us in prison. 11Then one night he and I had a dream. Each dream had a different meaning. 12There was a young Hebrew man in prison with us. He was a servant of the commander of the guards. We told him our dreams, and he explained them to us. He told us the meaning of each dream, 13and what he said came true. He said I would be free and have my old job back, and it happened. He also said the baker would die, and it happened!”
Joseph Is Called to Explain the Dreams
14So Pharaoh called Joseph from the prison. The guards quickly got Joseph out of prison. Joseph shaved, put on some clean clothes, and went to see Pharaoh. 15Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can explain it for me. I heard that you can explain dreams when someone tells you about them.”
16Joseph answered, “I cannot! But God can explain the dream for you, Pharaoh.”
17Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing by the Nile River. 18Seven cows came up out of the river and stood there eating the grass. They were healthy, good-looking cows. 19Then I saw seven more cows come up out of the river after them, but these cows were thin and looked sick. They were the worst cows I had ever seen anywhere in Egypt! 20The thin, sick cows ate the first healthy cows, 21but they still looked thin and sick. You couldn’t even tell they had eaten the healthy cows. They looked as thin and sick as they did in the beginning. Then I woke up.
22“In my next dream I saw seven heads of grain growing on one plant. They were healthy and full of grain. 23And then seven more heads of grain grew after them, but they were thin and scorched by the hot wind. 24Then the thin heads of grain ate the seven good heads of grain.
“I told these dreams to my magicians. But no one could explain the dreams to me. What do they mean?”
Joseph Explains the Dream
25Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Both of these dreams have the same meaning. God is telling you what will happen soon. 26The seven good cows and the seven good heads of grain are seven good years. 27And the seven thin, sick-looking cows and the seven thin heads of grain mean that there will be seven years of hunger in this area. These seven bad years will come after the seven good years. 28God has shown you what will happen soon. He will make these things happen just as I told you. 29For seven years there will be plenty of food in Egypt. 30But then there will be seven years of hunger. The people will forget how much food there had been in Egypt before. This famine will ruin the country. 31It will be so bad that people will forget what it was like to have plenty of food.
32“Pharaoh, you had two dreams about the same thing. That means God wanted to show you that he really will make this happen, and he will make it happen soon! 33So, Pharaoh, you should choose a wise, intelligent man and put him in charge of Egypt. 34Then you should choose other men to collect food from the people. During the seven good years, the people must give them one-fifth of all the food they grow. 35In this way these men will collect all the food during the seven good years and store it in the cities until it is needed. Pharaoh, this food will be under your control. 36Then during the seven years of hunger, there will be food for the country of Egypt. And Egypt will not be destroyed by the famine.”
37This seemed like a very good idea to Pharaoh, and all his officials agreed. 38Then Pharaoh told them, “I don’t think we can find anyone better than Joseph to take this job! God’s Spirit is in him, making him very wise!”
39So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “God showed these things to you, so you must be the wisest man. 40I will put you in charge of my country, and the people will obey all your commands. I will be the only one more powerful than you.”
41Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I now make you governor over all of Egypt.” 42Then Pharaoh gave his special ring to Joseph. The royal seal was on this ring. Pharaoh also gave Joseph a fine linen robe and put a gold chain around his neck. 43Then he told Joseph to ride in his second chariot. Pharaoh’s officials said, “Let him be the governor over the whole land of Egypt!”#41:43 Or “Then Pharaoh had Joseph ride in the chariot of his second-in-command, and they said, ‘Bow before Joseph.’ In this way Joseph became the governor over all of Egypt.”
44Then Pharaoh said to him, “I am Pharaoh, the king over everyone in Egypt, but no one else in Egypt can lift a hand or move a foot unless you say he can.” 45Then Pharaoh gave Joseph another name, Zaphenath Paneah.#41:45 Zaphenath Paneah This Egyptian name probably means “sustainer of life,” but it is like Hebrew words meaning “a person who explains secret things.” He also gave Joseph a wife named Asenath. She was the daughter of Potiphera, a priest in the city of On. So Joseph became the governor over the whole country of Egypt.
46Joseph was 30 years old when he began serving the king of Egypt. He traveled throughout the country of Egypt. 47During the seven good years, the crops in Egypt grew very well. 48Joseph saved the food in Egypt during those seven years and stored the food in the cities. In every city he stored grain that grew in the fields around the city. 49Joseph stored so much grain that it was like the sands of the sea. He stored so much grain that it could not be measured.
50Joseph’s wife, Asenath, was the daughter of Potiphera, the priest in the city of On. Before the first year of hunger came, Joseph and Asenath had two sons. 51Joseph named the first son Manasseh.#41:51 Manasseh This is like the Hebrew word meaning “to forget.” He was given this name because Joseph said, “God made me forget all my hard work and everything back home in my father’s house.” 52Joseph named the second son Ephraim.#41:52 Ephraim This name is like the Hebrew word meaning “twice fruitful.” Joseph gave him this name because he said, “I had great troubles, but God has made me successful in everything.”
The Famine Begins
53For seven years people had all the food they needed, but those years ended. 54Then the seven years of hunger began, just as Joseph had said. No food grew anywhere in any of the countries in that area. But in Egypt people had plenty to eat because Joseph had stored the grain. 55The famine began, and the people cried to Pharaoh for food. Pharaoh said to the Egyptian people, “Go ask Joseph what to do.”
56There was famine everywhere, so Joseph gave the people grain from the warehouses. He sold the stored grain to the people of Egypt. The famine was bad in Egypt, 57but the famine was bad everywhere. So people from the countries around Egypt had to come to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain.