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Genesis 41

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Joseph interprets the king's dreams
1Two years later the king#41.1 the king: See the note at 12.15. of Egypt dreamed he was standing beside the River Nile. 2Suddenly, seven fat, healthy cows came up from the river and started eating grass along the bank. 3Then seven ugly, skinny cows came up out of the river and 4ate the fat, healthy cows. When this happened, the king woke up.
5The king went back to sleep and had another dream. This time seven full heads of grain were growing on a single stalk. 6Later, seven other heads of grain appeared, but they were thin and scorched by the east wind. 7The thin heads of grain swallowed the seven full heads. Again the king woke up, and it had only been a dream.
8The next morning the king was upset. So he called in his magicians and wise men and told them what he had dreamed. None of them could tell him what the dreams meant.#Dn 2.2.
9The king's personal servant said:
Now I remember what I was supposed to do. 10When you were angry with me and your chief cook, you threw us both in jail in the house of the captain of the guard. 11One night we both had dreams, and each dream had a different meaning. 12A young Hebrew, who was a servant of the captain of the guard, was there with us at the time. When we told him our dreams, he explained what each of them meant, 13and everything happened just as he said it would. I got my job back, and the cook was put to death.
14The king sent for Joseph, who was quickly brought out of jail. He shaved, changed his clothes, and went to the king.
15The king said to him, “I had a dream, yet no one can explain what it means. I am told that you can interpret dreams.”
16“Your Majesty,” Joseph answered, “I can't do it myself, but God can give a good meaning to your dreams.”
17The king told Joseph:
I dreamed I was standing on the bank of the River Nile. 18I saw seven fat, healthy cows come up out of the river, and they began feeding on the grass. 19Next, seven skinny, bony cows came up out of the river. I have never seen such terrible looking cows anywhere in Egypt. 20The skinny cows ate the fat ones. 21But you couldn't tell it, because these skinny cows were just as skinny as they were before. Straight away, I woke up.
22I also dreamed that I saw seven heads of grain growing on one stalk. The heads were full and ripe. 23Then seven other heads of grain came up. They were thin and scorched by a wind from the desert. 24These heads of grain swallowed the full ones. I told my dreams to the magicians, but none of them could tell me the meaning of the dreams.
25Joseph replied:
Your Majesty, both of your dreams mean the same thing, and in them God has shown what he is going to do. 26The seven good cows stand for seven years, and so do the seven good heads of grain. 27The seven skinny, ugly cows that came up later also stand for seven years, as do the seven bad heads of grain that were scorched by the east wind. The dreams mean there will be seven years when there won't be enough grain.
28It is just as I said—God has shown what he intends to do. 29For seven years Egypt will have more than enough grain, 30but that will be followed by seven years when there won't be enough. The good years of plenty will be forgotten, and everywhere in Egypt people will be starving. 31The famine will be so bad that no one will remember that once there had been plenty. 32God has given you two dreams to let you know that he has definitely decided to do this and that he will do it soon.
33Your Majesty, you should find someone who is wise and will know what to do, so that you can put him in charge of all Egypt. 34Then appoint some other officials to collect one-fifth of every crop harvested in Egypt during the seven years when there is plenty. 35Give them the power to collect the grain during those good years and to store it in your cities. 36It can be stored until it is needed during the seven years when there won't be enough grain in Egypt. This will keep the country from being destroyed because of the lack of food.
Joseph is made governor over Egypt
37The king#41.37 The king: See the note at 12.15. and his officials liked this plan. 38So the king said to them, “No one could possibly handle this better than Joseph, since the Spirit of God is with him.”
39The king told Joseph, “God is the one who has shown you these things. No one else is as wise as you are or knows as much as you do. 40I'm putting you in charge of my palace, and everybody will have to obey you. No one will be over you except me.#Ac 7.10. 41You are now governor of all Egypt!”
42Then the king took off his royal ring and put it on Joseph's finger. He gave him fine clothes to wear and placed a gold chain around his neck.#Dn 5.29. 43He also let him ride in the chariot next to his own, and people shouted, “Make way for Joseph!” So Joseph was governor of Egypt.
44The king told Joseph, “Although I'm king, no one in Egypt is to do anything without your permission.” 45He gave Joseph the Egyptian name Zaphenath Paneah. And he let him marry Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, a priest in the city of Heliopolis.#41.45 Heliopolis: The Hebrew text has “On”, which is better known by its Greek name “Heliopolis”. Joseph travelled all over Egypt.
46Joseph was thirty when the king made him governor, and he went everywhere for the king. 47For seven years there were big harvests of grain. 48Joseph collected and stored up the extra grain in the cities of Egypt near the fields where it was harvested. 49In fact, there was so much grain that they stopped keeping record, because it was like counting the grains of sand along the beach.
50Joseph and his wife had two sons before the famine began. 51Their first son was named Manasseh, which means, “God has let me forget all my troubles and my family back home.” 52His second son was named Ephraim, which means “God has made me a success#41.52 God has made me a success: Or “God has given me children.” in the land where I suffered.”#41.52 Ephraim…suffered: In Hebrew “Ephraim” actually means either “fertile land” or “pasture land”.
53Egypt's seven years of plenty came to an end, 54and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was not enough food in other countries, but all over Egypt there was plenty.#Ac 7.11. 55When the famine finally struck Egypt, the people asked the king for food, but he said, “Go to Joseph and do what he tells you to do.”#Jn 2.5.
56The famine became bad everywhere in Egypt, so Joseph opened the storehouses and sold the grain to the Egyptians. 57People from all over the world came to Egypt, because the famine was severe in their countries.
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The King’s Dreams
1Two years later the king had a dream. He dreamed he was standing on the bank of the Nile River. 2He saw seven fat and beautiful cows come up out of the river. They stood there, eating the grass. 3Then seven more cows came up out of the river. But they were thin and ugly. They stood beside the seven beautiful cows on the bank of the Nile. 4The seven thin and ugly cows ate the seven beautiful fat cows. Then the king woke up. 5The king slept again and dreamed a second time. In his dream he saw seven full and good heads of grain growing on one stalk. 6After that, seven more heads of grain sprang up. But they were thin and burned by the hot east wind. 7The thin heads of grain ate the seven full and good heads. Then the king woke up again. And he realized it was only a dream. 8The next morning the king was troubled about these dreams. So he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. The king told them his dreams. But no one could explain their meaning to him.
9Then the chief officer who served wine to the king said to him, “I remember something I promised to do. But I had forgotten about it. 10There was a time when you were angry with me and the baker. You put us in prison in the house of the captain of the guard. 11In prison we each had a dream on the same night. Each dream had a different meaning. 12A young Hebrew man was in the prison with us. He was a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he explained their meanings to us. He told each man the meaning of his dream. 13Things happened exactly as he said they would: I was given back my old position, and the baker was hanged.”
14So the king called for Joseph. The guards quickly brought him out of the prison. He shaved, put on clean clothes and went before the king.
15The king said to Joseph, “I have had a dream. But no one can explain its meaning to me. I have heard that you can explain a dream when someone tells it to you.”
16Joseph answered the king, “I am not able to explain the meaning of dreams. God will do this for the king.”
17Then the king said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile River. 18I saw seven fat and beautiful cows. They came up out of the river and ate the grass. 19Then I saw seven more cows come out of the river. They were thin and lean and ugly. They were the worst looking cows I have seen in all the land of Egypt. 20And these thin and ugly cows ate the first seven fat cows. 21But after they had eaten the seven cows, no one could tell they had eaten them. They just looked as thin and ugly as they did in the beginning. Then I woke up.
22“I had another dream. I saw seven full and good heads of grain growing on one stalk. 23Then seven more heads of grain sprang up after them. But these heads were thin and ugly. They were burned by the hot east wind. 24Then the thin heads ate the seven good heads. I told this dream to the magicians. But no one could explain its meaning to me.”
Joseph Tells the Dreams’ Meaning
25Then Joseph said to the king, “Both of these dreams mean the same thing. God is telling you what he is about to do. 26The seven good cows stand for seven years. And the seven good heads of grain stand for seven years. Both dreams mean the same thing. 27The seven thin and ugly cows stand for seven years. And the seven thin heads of grain burned by the hot east wind stand for seven years of hunger. 28This will happen as I told you. God is showing the king what he is about to do. 29You will have seven years of good crops and plenty to eat in all the land of Egypt. 30But after those seven years, there will come seven years of hunger. All the food that grew in the land of Egypt will be forgotten. The time of hunger will eat up the land. 31People will forget what it was like to have plenty of food. This is because the hunger that follows will be so great. 32You had two dreams which mean the same thing. This shows that God has firmly decided that this will happen. And he will make it happen soon.
33“So let the king choose a man who is very wise and understanding. Let the king set him over the land of Egypt. 34And let the king also appoint officers over the land. They should take one-fifth of all the food that is grown during the seven good years. 35They should gather all the food that is produced during the good years that are coming. Under the king’s authority they should store the grain in the cities and guard it. 36That food should be saved for later. It will be used during the seven years of hunger that will come on the land of Egypt. Then the people in Egypt will not die during the seven years of hunger.”
Joseph Is Made Ruler over Egypt
37This seemed like a very good idea to the king. All his officers agreed. 38And the king asked them, “Can we find a better man than Joseph to take this job? God’s spirit is truly in him!”
39So the king said to Joseph, “God has shown you all this. There is no one as wise and understanding as you are. 40I will put you in charge of my palace. All the people will obey your orders. Only I will be greater than you.”
41Then the king said to Joseph, “Look! I have put you in charge of all the land of Egypt.” 42Then the king took off from his own finger his ring with the royal seal on it. And he put it on Joseph’s finger. He gave Joseph fine linen clothes to wear. And he put a gold chain around Joseph’s neck. 43The king had Joseph ride in the second royal chariot. Men walked ahead of his chariot calling, “Bow down!” By doing these things, the king put Joseph in charge of all of Egypt.
44The king said to him, “I am the king. And I say that no one in all the land of Egypt may lift a hand or a foot unless you say he may.” 45The king gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah. He also gave Joseph a wife named Asenath. She was the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. So Joseph traveled through all the land of Egypt.
46Joseph was 30 years old when he began serving the king of Egypt. And he left the king’s court and traveled through all the land of Egypt. 47During the seven good years, the crops in the land grew well. 48And Joseph gathered all the food produced in Egypt during those seven years of good crops. He stored the food in the cities. In every city he stored grain that had been grown in the fields around that city. 49Joseph stored much grain, as much as the sand of the seashore. He stored so much grain that he could not measure it.
50Joseph’s wife was Asenath daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On. Before the years of hunger came, Joseph and Asenath had two sons. 51Joseph named the first son Manasseh.# This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “made me forget.” Joseph said, “God has made me forget all the troubles I have had and all my father’s family.” 52Joseph named the second son Ephraim.# This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “given me children.” Joseph said, “God has given me children in the land of my troubles.”
53The seven years of good crops came to an end in the land of Egypt. 54Then the seven years of hunger began, just as Joseph had said. In all the lands people had nothing to eat. But in Egypt there was food. 55The time of hunger became terrible in all of Egypt. The people cried to the king for food. He said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. Do whatever he tells you to do.”
56The hunger was everywhere in that part of the world. And Joseph opened the storehouses and sold grain to the people of Egypt. This was because the time of hunger became terrible in Egypt. 57And all the people in that part of the world came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain. This was because the hunger was terrible everywhere in that part of the world.