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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.

Genesis 41

41
Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s Dreams
1And it happened that after two full years#Literally “two years of days” Pharaoh dreamed, and behold, he was standing by the Nile. 2And behold, seven cows, well built and fat,#Literally “beautiful of appearance and healthy of flesh” were coming up from the Nile, and they grazed among the reeds. 3And behold, seven other cows came up after them from the Nile, ugly and gaunt,#Literally “Poor of appearance and thin of flesh” and they stood beside those#Or “the” cows on the bank of the Nile. 4And the ugly and gaunt#Literally “Poor of appearance and thin of flesh” cows ate the seven well built and fat#Literally “beautiful of appearance and healthy of flesh” cows. Then Pharaoh awoke. 5And he fell asleep and dreamed a second time, and behold, seven ears of grain, plump and good, were coming out of one stalk. 6And behold, seven thin ears of grain, scorched by the east wind, sprouted up after them. 7And the thin ears of grain swallowed up the seven plump and full ears of grain. Then Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream. 8And it happened that in the morning his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called all of the magicians#Or “soothsayer priests” of Egypt, and all its wise men, and Pharaoh told his dream to them. But they had no interpretation#Literally “there was no interpretation with them” for Pharaoh. 9Then the chief of the cupbearers spoke with Pharaoh, saying, “I remember my sins today. 10Pharaoh was angry with his servants, and he put me and the chief baker in the custody of the house of the chief of the guard. 11And we dreamed a dream one night, I and he, each with a dream that had a meaning.#Literally “each according to his dream we dreamed” 12And there with us was a young man, a Hebrew servant of the chief of the guard, and we told him the dream, and he interpreted our dreams for us, each according to his dream he interpreted. 13And it happened just as he interpreted to us, so it was. He#That is, Pharaoh restored me to my office, and him#That is, the chief baker he#That is, Pharaoh hanged.” 14Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph, and they brought him quickly from the prison. And he shaved and changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh. 15Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I dreamed a dream, but there is none to interpret it. Now, I have heard concerning you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” 16Then Joseph answered Pharaoh saying, “It is not in my power;#Literally “besides me” God will answer concerning the well-being of Pharaoh.” 17And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Now in my dream, behold, I was standing on the bank of the Nile, 18and behold, seven cows, well built and fat,#Literally “beautiful of appearance and healthy of flesh” were coming up from the Nile, and they grazed among the reeds. 19And behold, seven other cows came up after them from the Nile, very ugly and gaunt#Literally “Poor of appearance and thin of flesh”—never have I seen any as them in all the land of Egypt for ugliness. 20And the thin and ugly cows ate the former seven healthy cows. 21But when they went into their bellies#Or “inner parts” it could not be known that they went into their bellies,#Or “inner parts” for their appearance was as ugly as at the beginning. Then I awoke. 22Then I saw in my dream and behold, seven ears of grain were coming out of one stalk, full and good. 23And behold, seven withered ears of grain, thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouted up after them. 24And the thin ears of grain swallowed up the seven good ears of grain. And I told the magicians,#Or “soothsayer priests” but there was none to explain it to me.” 25Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26The seven good cows, they are seven years, and the seven good ears of grain, they are seven years. The dreams are one. 27And the seven thin and ugly cows coming up after them, they are seven years, and the seven empty ears of grain, scorched by the east wind, they are also seven years of famine. 28This is the word that I have spoken to Pharaoh; God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29Behold, seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the whole land of Egypt. 30Then seven years of famine will arise after them, and all the abundance in the land of Egypt will be forgotten. The famine will consume the land. 31Abundance in the land will not be known because of the famine that follows,#Literally “that thus afterwards” for it will be very heavy. 32Now concerning the repetition of the dream twice to Pharaoh, it is because the matter is established by God, and God will do it quickly. 33Now then, let Pharaoh select a man who is discerning and wise, and let him set him over the land of Egypt. 34Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint supervisors over the land, and let him take one-fifth from the land of Egypt in the seven years of abundance. 35Then let them gather all the food of these coming good years and let them pile up grain under the hand of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. 36Then the food shall be as a deposit for the land for the seven years of the famine that will be in the land of Egypt, that the land will not perish on account of the famine.”
Joseph Rises to Power
37And the plan#Or “word” was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants. 38Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this in whom is the spirit of God?” 39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all of this known to you there is no one as discerning and wise as you. 40You shall be over my house, and to your word#Or “mouth” all my people shall submit. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” 41Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” 42Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his finger and put it on the finger of Joseph. And he clothed him with garments of fine linen, and he put a chain of gold around his neck. 43And he had him ride in his second chariot. And they cried out before him, “Kneel!” And Pharaoh set him over all the land of Egypt. 44Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your consent no one will lift his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt.” 45And Pharaoh called the name of Joseph Zaphenath-paneah and gave him Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, as a wife. And Joseph went out over the land of Egypt. 46Now Joseph was thirty years old#Literally “a son of thirty years” when he stood before Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and traveled through the whole land of Egypt. 47And the land produced a plenty in the seven years of abundance. 48And he gathered all the food of the seven years which occurred in the land of Egypt. And he stored the food in the cities. The food of the field that surrounded each city he stored in its midst. 49And Joseph piled up grain like the sand of the sea in great abundance until he stopped counting it, for it could not be counted.#Literally “there was no number” 50Before the years of famine came, Asenath, daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore two sons to him. 51And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh, for he said, “God has caused me to forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.” 52And the name of the second he called Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my misfortune.” 53And the seven years of abundance which were in the land of Egypt came to an end. 54And the seven years of famine began to come as Joseph had said. And there was famine in all of the countries, but in the land of Egypt there was food. 55And when all the land of Egypt was hungry the people cried out to Pharaoh for food. And Pharaoh said to all the land of Egypt, “Go to Joseph; what he says to you, you must do.” 56And the famine was over the whole land, and Joseph opened all the storehouses#Hebrew “that which was in them” and sold food to the Egyptians. And the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57And every land came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, for the famine was severe in every land.