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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.
41
1 AFTER TWO full years, Pharaoh dreamed that he stood by the river [Nile].
2 And behold, there came up out of the river [Nile] seven well-favored cows, sleek and handsome and fat; and they grazed in the reed grass [in a marshy pasture].
3 And behold, seven other cows came up after them out of the river [Nile], ill favored and gaunt and ugly, and stood by the fat cows on the bank of the river [Nile].
4 And the ill-favored, gaunt, and ugly cows ate up the seven well-favored and fat cows. Then Pharaoh awoke.
5 But he slept and dreamed the second time; and behold, seven ears of grain came out on one stalk, plump and good.
6 And behold, after them seven ears [of grain] sprouted, thin and blighted by the east wind.
7 And the seven thin ears [of grain] devoured the seven plump and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream.
8 So when morning came his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians and all the wise men of Egypt. And Pharaoh told them his dreams, but not one could interpret them to [him].
9 Then the chief butler said to Pharaoh, I remember my faults today.
10 When Pharaoh was angry with his servants and put me in custody in the captain of the guard's house, both me and the chief baker,
11 We dreamed a dream in the same night, he and I; we dreamed each of us according to [the significance of] the interpretation of his dream.
12 And there was there with us a young man, a Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard and chief executioner; and we told him our dreams, and he interpreted them to us, to each man according to the significance of his dream.
13 And as he interpreted to us, so it came to pass; I was restored to my office [as chief butler], and the baker was hanged.
14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon. But Joseph [first] shaved himself, changed his clothes, and made himself presentable; then he came into Pharaoh's presence.
15 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it; and I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream and interpret it.
16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, It is not in me; God [not I] will give Pharaoh a [favorable] answer of peace.
17 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood on the bank of the river [Nile];
18 And behold, there came up out of the river [Nile] seven fat, sleek, and handsome cows, and they grazed in the reed grass [of a marshy pasture].
19 And behold, seven other cows came up after them, undernourished, gaunt, and ugly [just skin and bones; such emaciated animals] as I have never seen in all of Egypt.
20 And the lean and ill favored cows ate up the seven fat cows that had come first.
21 And when they had eaten them up, it could not be detected and known that they had eaten them, for they were still as thin and emaciated as at the beginning. Then I awoke. [But again I fell asleep and dreamed.]
22 And I saw in my dream, and behold, seven ears [of grain] growing on one stalk, plump and good.
23 And behold, seven [other] ears, withered, thin, and blighted by the east wind, sprouted after them.
24 And the thin ears devoured the seven good ears. Now I told this to the magicians, but there was no one who could tell me what it meant.
25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, The [two] dreams are one; God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do.
26 The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears [of grain] are seven years; the [two] dreams are one [in their meaning].
27 And the seven thin and ill favored cows that came up after them are seven years, and also the seven empty ears [of grain], blighted and shriveled by the east wind; they are seven years of hunger and famine.
28 This is the message just as I have told Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do.
29 Take note! Seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt are coming.
30 Then there will come seven years of hunger and famine, and [there will be so much want that] all the great abundance of the previous years will be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and hunger (destitution, starvation) will exhaust (consume, finish) the land.
31 And the plenty will become quite unknown in the land because of that following famine, for it will be very woefully severe.
32 That the dream was sent twice to Pharaoh and in two forms indicates that this thing which God will very soon bring to pass is fully prepared and established by God.
33 So now let Pharaoh seek out and provide a man discreet, understanding, proficient, and wise and set him over the land of Egypt [as governor].
34 Let Pharaoh do this; then let him select and appoint officers over the land, and take one-fifth [of the produce] of the [whole] land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years [year by year].
35 And let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and lay up grain under the direction and authority of Pharaoh, and let them retain food [in fortified granaries] in the cities.
36 And that food shall be put in store for the country against the seven years of hunger and famine that are to come upon the land of Egypt, so that the land may not be ruined and cut off by the famine.
37 And the plan seemed good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants.
38 And Pharaoh said to his servants, Can we find this man's equal, a man in whom is the spirit of God?
39 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, Forasmuch as [your] God has shown you all this, there is nobody as intelligent and discreet and understanding and wise as you are.
40 You shall have charge over my house, and all my people shall be governed according to your word [with reverence, submission, and obedience]. Only in matters of the throne will I be greater than you are.
41 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.
42 And Pharaoh took off his [signet] ring from his hand and put it on Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in [official] vestments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck;
43 He made him to ride in the second chariot which he had, and [officials] cried before him, Bow the knee! And he set him over all the land of Egypt.
44 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without you shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.
45 And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphenath-paneah and he gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, to be his wife. And Joseph made an [inspection] tour of all the land of Egypt.
46 Joseph [who had been in Egypt thirteen years] was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went [about his duties] through all the land of Egypt.
47 In the seven abundant years the earth brought forth by handfuls [for each seed planted].
48 And he gathered up all the [surplus] food of the seven [good] years in the land of Egypt and stored up the food in the cities; he stored away in each city the food from the fields around it.
49 And Joseph gathered grain as the sand of the sea, very much, until he stopped counting, for it could not be measured.
50 Now to Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, whom Asenath daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On, bore to him.
51 And Joseph called the firstborn Manasseh [making to forget], For God, said he, has made me forget all my toil and hardship and all my father's house.
52 And the second he called Ephraim [to be fruitful], For [he said] God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.
53 When the seven years of plenty were ended in the land of Egypt,
54 The seven years of scarcity and famine began to come, as Joseph had said they would; the famine was in all [the surrounding] lands, but in all of Egypt there was food.
55 But when all the land of Egypt was weakened with hunger, the people [there] cried to Pharaoh for food; and Pharaoh said to [them] all, Go to Joseph; what he says to you, do.
56 When the famine was over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians; for the famine grew extremely distressing in the land of Egypt.
57 And all countries came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all [the known] earth.