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Genesis 41

41
Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dreams
1Two years later, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing near the Nile. 2In front of him, seven healthy-looking, fattened cows climbed up out of the Nile and grazed on the reeds. 3Just then, seven other cows, terrible-looking and scrawny, climbed up out of the Nile after them and stood beside them on the bank of the Nile. 4The terrible-looking, scrawny cows devoured the seven healthy-looking, fattened cows. Then Pharaoh woke up. 5He went back to sleep and had a second dream, in which seven ears of grain, full and healthy, grew on a single stalk. 6Just then, seven ears of grain, scrawny and scorched by the east wind, sprouted after them, 7and the scrawny ears swallowed up the full and well-formed ears. Then Pharaoh woke up and realized it was a dream. 8In the morning, he was disturbed and summoned all of Egypt’s religious experts#41.8 Or magicians and all of its advisors. Pharaoh described his dreams#41.8 Sam; MT dream to them, but they couldn’t interpret them for Pharaoh.
9Then the chief wine steward spoke to Pharaoh: “Today I’ve just remembered my mistake. 10Pharaoh was angry with his servants and put me and the chief baker under arrest with the commander of the royal guard. 11We both dreamed one night, he and I, and each of our dreams had its own interpretation. 12A young Hebrew man, a servant of the commander of the royal guard, was with us. We described our dreams to him, and he interpreted our dreams for us, giving us an interpretation for each dream. 13His interpretations came true exactly: Pharaoh restored me to my position but hanged him.”
14So Pharaoh summoned Joseph, and they quickly brought him from the dungeon. He shaved, changed clothes, and appeared before Pharaoh. 15Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, but no one could interpret it. Then I heard that when you hear a dream, you can interpret it.”
16Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It’s not me. God will give Pharaoh a favorable response.”
17So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile. 18In front of me, seven fattened, stout cows climbed up out of the Nile and grazed on the reeds. 19Just then, seven other cows, weak and frail and thin, climbed up after them. I’ve never seen such awful cows in all the land of Egypt. 20Then the thin, frail cows devoured the first seven, fattened cows. 21But after they swallowed them whole, no one would have known it. They looked just as bad as they had before. Then I woke up. 22I went to sleep again#41.22 LXX, Syr, Vulg; MT lacks I went to sleep again. and saw in my dream seven full and healthy ears of grain growing on one stalk. 23Just then, seven hard and thin ears of grain, scorched by the east wind, sprouted after them, 24and the thin ears swallowed up the healthy ears. I told the religious experts,#41.24 Or magicians but they couldn’t explain it to me.”
25Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh has actually had one dream. God has announced to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26The seven healthy cows are seven years, and the seven healthy ears of grain are seven years. It’s actually one dream. 27The seven thin and frail cows, climbing up after them, are seven years. The seven thin ears of grain, scorched by the east wind, are seven years of famine. 28It’s just as I told Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29Seven years of great abundance are now coming throughout the entire land of Egypt. 30After them, seven years of famine will appear, and all of the abundance in the land of Egypt will be forgotten. The famine will devastate the land. 31No one will remember the abundance in the land because the famine that follows will be so very severe. 32The dream occurred to Pharaoh twice because God has determined to do it, and God will make it happen soon.
Joseph’s rise to power
33“Now Pharaoh should find an intelligent, wise man and give him authority over the land of Egypt. 34Then Pharaoh should appoint administrators over the land and take one-fifth of all the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35During the good years that are coming, they should collect all such food and store the grain under Pharaoh’s control, protecting the food in the cities. 36This food will be reserved for the seven years of famine to follow in the land of Egypt so that the land won’t be ravaged by the famine.”
37This advice seemed wise to Pharaoh and all his servants, 38and Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man with more God-given gifts#41.38 Or like this one, in whom is the spirit of God than this one?” 39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, no one is as intelligent and wise as you are. 40You will be in charge of my kingdom,#41.40 Or house and all my people will obey#41.40 LXX; Heb uncertain, perhaps submit themselves to your command your command. Only as the enthroned king will I be greater than you.” 41Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Know this: I’ve given you authority over the entire land of Egypt.” 42Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, he dressed him in linen clothes, and he put a gold necklace around his neck. 43He put Joseph on the chariot of his second-in-command, and everyone in front of him cried out, “Attention!”#41.43 An Egyptian loanword similar to the Heb word kneel So Pharaoh installed him over the entire land of Egypt. 44Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh; no one will do anything or go anywhere in all the land of Egypt without your permission.” 45Pharaoh renamed Joseph, Zaphenath-paneah, and married him to Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera the priest of Heliopolis.#41.45 Heb On
Then Joseph assumed control of the land of Egypt. 46Joseph was 30 years old when he began to serve Pharaoh, Egypt’s king, when he left Pharaoh’s court and traveled through the entire land of Egypt. 47During the seven years of abundance, the land produced plentifully. 48He collected all of the food during the seven years of abundance#41.48 LXX; MT lacks of abundance. in the land of Egypt, and stored the food in cities. In each city, he stored the food from the fields surrounding it. 49Joseph amassed grain like the sand of the sea. There was so much that he stopped trying to measure it because it was beyond measuring. 50Before the years of famine arrived, Asenath the daughter of Potiphera, priest of Heliopolis,#41.50 Heb On gave birth to two sons for Joseph. 51Joseph named the oldest son Manasseh,#41.51 Or making forget “because,” he said, “God has helped me forget all of my troubles and everyone in my father’s household.” 52He named the second Ephraim,#41.52 Sounds like has given me children “because,” he said, “God has given me children in the land where I’ve been treated harshly.”
53The 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. The famine struck every country, but the entire land of Egypt had bread. 55When the famine ravaged the entire land of Egypt and the people pleaded to Pharaoh for bread, Pharaoh said to all of the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. Do whatever he tells you.” 56The famine covered every part of the land, and Joseph opened all of the granaries#41.56 LXX, Syr; MT what was in them and sold grain to the Egyptians. In the land of Egypt, the famine became more and more severe. 57Every country came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because in every country the famine had also become more severe.
41
The King’s Dreams
1Two years later the king dreamed he was standing on the bank of the Nile River. 2He saw seven fat and beautiful cows come up out of the river, and 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, “Now I remember something I promised to do, but I forgot about it. 10There was a time when you were angry with the baker and me, and 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, and each dream had a different meaning. 12A young Hebrew man, a servant of the captain of the guard, was in the prison with us. When we told him our dreams, he explained their meanings to us. He told each man the meaning of his dream, and 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, and 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, but 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 that came up out of the river and ate the grass. 19Then I saw seven more cows come out of the river that were thin and lean and ugly—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 looked just 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 and 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, and 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, 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 and set him over the land of Egypt. 34And let the king also appoint officers over the land, who 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, and under the king’s authority they should store the grain in the cities and guard it. 36That food should be saved to use 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, and 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, so 40I will put you in charge of my palace. All the people will obey your orders, and 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, and people 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 without your permission.” 45The king gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah. He also gave Joseph a wife named Asenath, who was the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. So Joseph traveled through all the land of Egypt.
46Joseph was thirty 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 and 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—so much 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 and said, “God has made me forget all the troubles I have had and all my father’s family.” 52Joseph named the second son Ephraim and 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, and the people cried to the king for food. He said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you.”
56The hunger was everywhere in that part of the world. And Joseph opened the storehouses and sold grain to the people of Egypt, 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 because the hunger was terrible everywhere in that part of the world.