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Genesis 41

1 After two years, Pharaoh saw a dream. He thought himself to be standing above a river,
2 from which ascended seven cows, exceedingly beautiful and stout. And they pastured in marshy places.
3 Likewise, another seven emerged from the river, filthy and thoroughly emaciated. And they pastured on the same bank of the river, in green places.
4 And they devoured those whose appearance and condition of body was so wonderful. Pharaoh, having been awakened,
5 slept again, and he saw another dream. Seven ears of grain sprung up on one stalk, full and well-formed.
6 Likewise, other ears of grain, of the same number, rose up, thin and struck with blight,
7 devouring all the beauty of the first. Pharaoh, when he awakened after his rest,
8 and when morning arrived, being terrified with fear, sent to all the interpreters of Egypt and to all of the wise men. And when they were summoned, he explained to them his dream; but there was no one who could interpret it.
9 Then at last the chief cupbearer, remembering, said, "I confess my sin.
10 The king, being angry with his servants, ordered me and the chief miller of grain to be forced into the prison of the leader of the military.
11 There, in one night, both of us saw a dream presaging the future.
12 In that place, there was a Hebrew, a servant of the same commander of the military, to whom we explained our dreams.
13 Whatever we heard was proven afterwards by the event of the matter. For I was restored to my office, and he was suspended on a cross."
14 Immediately, by the king's authority, Joseph was led out of prison, and they shaved him. And changing his apparel, they presented him to him.
15 And he said to him, "I have seen dreams, and there is no one who can unfold them. I have heard that you are very wise at interpreting these."
16 Joseph responded, "Apart from me, God will respond favorably to Pharaoh."
17 Therefore, Pharaoh explained what he had seen: "I thought myself to be standing on the bank of a river,
18 and seven cows climbed up from the river, exceedingly beautiful and full of flesh. And they grazed in a pasture of a marshy greenery.
19 And behold, there followed after these, another seven cows, with such deformity and emaciation as I had never seen in the land of Egypt.
20 These devoured and consumed the first,
21 giving no indication of being full. But they remained in the same state of emaciation and squalor. Awakening, but being weighed down into sleep again,
22 I saw a dream. Seven ears of grain sprang up on one stalk, full and very beautiful.
23 Likewise, another seven, thin and struck with blight, rose up from the stalk.
24 And they devoured the beauty of the first. I explained this dream to the interpreters, and there is no one who can unfold it."
25 Joseph responded: "The dream of the king is one. What God will do, he has revealed to Pharaoh.
26 The seven beautiful cows, and the seven full ears of grain, are seven years of abundance. And so the force of the dreams is understood to be the same.
27 Likewise, the seven thin and emaciated cows, which ascended after them, and the seven thin ears of grain, which were struck with the burning wind, are seven approaching years of famine.
28 These will be fulfilled in this order.
29 Behold, there will arrive seven years of great fertility throughout the entire land of Egypt.
30 After this, there will follow another seven years, of such great barrenness that all the former abundance will be delivered into oblivion. For the famine will consume all the land,
31 and the greatness of this destitution will cause the greatness of the abundance to be lost.
32 Now, as to what you saw the second time, it is a dream pertaining to the same thing. It is an indication of its firmness, because the word of God shall be done, and it shall be completed swiftly.
33 Now therefore, let the king provide a wise and industrious man, and place him over the land of Egypt,
34 so that he may appoint overseers throughout all the regions. And let a fifth part of the fruits, throughout the seven fertile years
35 that now have already begun to occur, be gathered into storehouses. And let all the grain be stored away, under the power of Pharaoh, and let it be kept in the cities.
36 And let it be prepared for the future famine of seven years, which will oppress Egypt, and then the land will not be consumed by destitution."
37 The counsel pleased Pharaoh and all his ministers.
38 And he said to them, "Would we be able to find another such man, who is full of the Spirit of God?"
39 Therefore, he said to Joseph: "Because God has revealed to you all that you have said, would I be able to find anyone wiser and as much like you?
40 You will be over my house, and to the authority of your mouth, all the people will show obedience. Only in one way, in the throne of the kingdom, will I go before you."
41 And again, Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Behold, I have appointed you over the entire land of Egypt."
42 And he took the ring from his own hand, and he gave it into his hand. And he clothed him with a robe of fine linen, and he placed a necklace of gold around his neck.
43 And he caused him to ascend upon his second swift chariot, with the herald proclaiming that everyone should bend their knee before him, and that they should know that he was governor over the entire land of Egypt.
44 Likewise, the king said to Joseph: "I am Pharaoh: apart from your authority, no one will move hand or foot in all the land of Egypt."
45 And he changed his name and called him, in the Egyptian tongue: 'Savior of the world.' And he gave him as a wife, Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of Heliopolis. And so Joseph went out into the land of Egypt.
46 (Now he was thirty years old when he stood in the sight of king Pharaoh.) And he traveled throughout the regions of Egypt.
47 And the fertility of the seven years arrived. And when the grain fields were reduced to sheaves, these were gathered into the storehouses of Egypt.
48 And now all the abundance of grain was stored away in every city.
49 And there was such a great abundance of wheat that it was comparable to the sands of the sea, and its bounty exceeded all measure.
50 Then, before the famine arrived, Joseph had two sons born, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of Heliopolis, bore for him.
51 And he called the name of the firstborn Manasseh, saying, "God has caused me to forget all my labors and the house of my father."
52 Likewise, he named the second Ephraim, saying, "God has caused me to increase in the land of my poverty."
53 And so, when the seven years of fertility that occurred in Egypt had passed,
54 the seven years of destitution, which Joseph had predicted, began to arrive. And the famine prevailed throughout the whole world, but there was bread in all the land of Egypt.
55 And being hungry, the people cried out to Pharaoh, asking for provisions. And he said to them: "Go to Joseph. And do whatever he will tell you."
56 Then the famine increased daily in all the land. And Joseph opened all of the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians. For the famine had oppressed them also.
57 And all the provinces came to Egypt, to buy food and to temper the misfortune of their destitution.
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.