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Genesis 41

41
Exalted by Pharaoh
1Now at the end of two whole years, Pharaoh was dreaming. Behold, there he was standing by the Nile.
2Then behold, there were seven cows, good-looking and beefy, and they grazed in the reeds.
3Then behold, there were seven other cows coming up after them from the Nile, ugly and emaciated, and they stood beside the cows at the edge of the Nile.
4Then the ugly emaciated cows ate the seven good-looking beefy cows—and Pharaoh woke up.
5Then he slept and dreamed a second time: behold, there were seven ears of corn coming up on one stalk, plump and good.
6Then behold, there were seven ears of corn, thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouting up after them.
7Then the seven thin ears of corn swallowed up the seven plump and full ears of corn. Then Pharaoh woke up—it was a dream.
8But in the morning he was disturbed in his spirit. So he sent and called for the fortune-telling priests of Egypt and all its wise men and Pharaoh told them his dream. But no one could interpret them for Pharaoh.
9Then the chief of the cupbearers spoke with Pharaoh saying, “I am reminded of my sins today.
10Pharaoh had been angry with his servants and put me in the custody of the house of the commander of the bodyguards—me and the chief of the bakers.
11Then we each dreamed a dream on the same night, he and I, we both dreamed, yet each dream had its own interpretation.
12Now there with us was a Hebrew youth—a slave belonging to the commander of the bodyguards. When we told him, he interpreted our dreams for us, each man’s dream he interpreted.
13Then it came about, just as he interpreted for us, so it happened. Me he restored to my position, but him he hung.
14Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph. So they quickly fetched him from the pit. He shaved, changed his clothes, and came to Pharaoh.
15Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I dreamed a dream and there’s no one to interpret it. I heard about you— it’s said that you can listen to a dream to interpret it.”
16Then Joseph answered Pharaoh saying, “It’s not within me. God will answer with shalom for Pharaoh.”
17So Pharaoh said to Joseph: “In my dream, there I was, standing by the bank of the Nile.
18And to my surprise, out of the Nile seven cows were coming up, beefy and good-looking, and they grazed in the reeds.
19Then all of a sudden, there were seven other cows coming up after them, feeble, very ugly and emaciated. I’ve never seen the likes of these in the whole land of Egypt for ugliness.
20Then the emaciated and ugly cows ate the first seven beefy cows.
21When they were devoured, one couldn’t tell that they had been devoured. Their appearance was as ugly as it was at first. Then I woke up.
22Then I saw in my dream, there were seven ears of corn coming up on one stalk, plump and good.
23Then suddenly, there were seven ears of corn, dried up, thin, and scorched by the east wind, sprouting up after them.
24Then the thin ears of corn swallowed up the seven good ears of corn. So I told the fortune-telling priests, but no one could provide me with an explanation.”
25Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s dream is one. God has told Pharaoh what He is about to do.
26The seven good cows: they are seven years. Also the seven ears of corn: they’re seven years. It is one dream.
27The seven emaciated and ugly cows coming up after them: they’re seven years. Also the seven empty ears of corn scorched by the east wind: there will be seven years of famine.
28It is the word that I have already said to Pharaoh: what God is about to do, he has shown to Pharaoh.
29Seven years of abundance are about to come in the whole land of Egypt.
30Then seven years of famine will come up after them and all the abundance in the land of Egypt will be forgotten and the famine will consume the land.
31So the abundance in the land will be unknown because of the famine that follows, for it will be a very oppressive famine.
32“Now as for repeating Pharaoh’s dream twice: it’s because the matter has been settled by God and God will quickly make it happen.
33So now, let Pharaoh select a man discerning and wise and set him in authority over the land of Egypt.
34Let Pharaoh act by appointing administrators over the land and take a fifth portion from the land of Egypt during the seven years of abundance.
35Then let them gather all the food from these good years that are coming, and let them store up grain under Pharaoh’s hand as food for the cities, so they may preserve it.
36Let the food be held in reserve for the land for the seven years of famine that is coming upon the land of Egypt. Then the land will not be annihilated by the famine.”
37Now the plan seemed good in the eyes of Pharaoh as well as all his servants.
38Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can a man like this be found, one in whom is God’s Spirit?”
39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one as discerning and wise as you.
40You! You will be over my house, and all my people will pay homage to you . Only in relation to the throne will I be greater than you.”
41Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I appoint you over the whole land of Egypt.”
42Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, clothed him with fine linen garments, and put a chain of gold around his neck.
43Then he had him ride in the chariot as second-in-command, the one that belonged to him, and they called out before him, “Kneel down!” So he appointed him over the whole land of Egypt.
44Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, yet without your permission no one will lift up his hand or his foot in the whole land of Egypt.”
45Then Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenath-paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, as his wife. Then Joseph went out, in charge of the land of Egypt.
46Now Joseph was 30 years old when he began serving as representative of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and passed throughout the whole land of Egypt.
47During the seven years of abundance, the land produced in heaps.
48So he gathered all the food in the land of Egypt during the seven years, and put food in the cities; the food from the city fields surrounding the cities he put in each city.
49So Joseph stored up grain like the sand of the sea, vast amounts, until he stopped keeping record because it was beyond counting.
50Two sons also had been born to Joseph before the year of famine came, born to him by Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, priest of On.
51Joseph named his first-born Manasseh, “because God has caused me to forget all my trouble and all my father’s house.”
52And the second he named Ephraim, “because God has made me fruitful in the land of my oppression.”
53Then the seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt came to an end,
54and the seven years of famine started to come—just as Joseph had said. So there was famine in all the lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was bread.
55When the whole land of Egypt suffered famine, the people cried out to Pharaoh for food, and Pharaoh said to all of Egypt, “Go to Joseph. Do whatever he tells you.”
56The famine was over all the entire land, so Joseph opened up all that was among them and sold grain to Egypt. Then the famine became severe in the land of Egypt.
57Yet the whole world came to Egypt to buy grain—to Joseph—because the famine was severe in the whole world.

Genesis 41

41
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.