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Genesis 41

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Pharaoh’s Dream. 1#Joseph correctly interprets Pharaoh’s dream and becomes second in command over all Egypt. After a lapse of two years, Pharaoh had a dream. He was standing by the Nile, 2when up out of the Nile came seven cows, fine-looking and fat; they grazed in the reed grass. 3Behind them seven other cows, poor-looking and gaunt, came up out of the Nile; and standing on the bank of the Nile beside the others, 4the poor-looking, gaunt cows devoured the seven fine-looking, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.
5He fell asleep again and had another dream. He saw seven ears of grain, fat and healthy, growing on a single stalk. 6Behind them sprouted seven ears of grain, thin and scorched by the east wind; 7and the thin ears swallowed up the seven fat, healthy ears. Then Pharaoh woke up—it was a dream!
8Next morning his mind was agitated. So Pharaoh had all the magicians#Magicians: one of the tasks of the “magicians” was interpreting dreams. The interpretation of dreams was a long-standing practice in Egypt. A manual of dream interpretation has been found, written in the early second millennium and re-published later in which typical dreams are given (“If a man sees himself in a dream…”) followed by a judgment of “good” or “bad.” Interpreters were still needed for dreams, however, and Pharaoh complains that none of his dream interpreters can interpret his unprecedented dream. The same term will be used of Pharaoh’s magicians in Exodus. and sages of Egypt summoned and recounted his dream to them; but there was no one to interpret it for him. 9Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh: “Now I remember my negligence! 10Once, when Pharaoh was angry with his servants, he put me and the chief baker in custody in the house of the chief steward. 11Later, we both had dreams on the same night, and each of our dreams had its own meaning. 12There was a Hebrew youth with us, a slave of the chief steward; and when we told him our dreams, he interpreted them for us and explained for each of us the meaning of his dream.#Dn 1:17. 13Things turned out just as he had told us: I was restored to my post, but the other man was impaled.”
14Pharaoh therefore had Joseph summoned, and they hurriedly brought him from the dungeon. After he shaved and changed his clothes, he came to Pharaoh.#Ps 105:20. 15Pharaoh then said to Joseph: “I had a dream but there was no one to interpret it. But I hear it said of you, ‘If he hears a dream he can interpret it.’” 16“It is not I,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God who will respond for the well-being of Pharaoh.”#Gn 40:8.
17Then Pharaoh said to Joseph: “In my dream, I was standing on the bank of the Nile, 18when up from the Nile came seven cows, fat and well-formed; they grazed in the reed grass. 19Behind them came seven other cows, scrawny, most ill-formed and gaunt. Never have I seen such bad specimens as these in all the land of Egypt! 20The gaunt, bad cows devoured the first seven fat cows. 21But when they had consumed them, no one could tell that they had done so, because they looked as bad as before. Then I woke up. 22In another dream I saw seven ears of grain, full and healthy, growing on a single stalk. 23Behind them sprouted seven ears of grain, shriveled and thin and scorched by the east wind; 24and the seven thin ears swallowed up the seven healthy ears. I have spoken to the magicians, but there is no one to explain it to me.”
25Joseph said to Pharaoh: “Pharaoh’s dreams have the same meaning. God has made known to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26The seven healthy cows are seven years, and the seven healthy ears are seven years—the same in each dream. 27The seven thin, bad cows that came up after them are seven years, as are the seven thin ears scorched by the east wind; they are seven years of famine. 28Things are just as I told Pharaoh: God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29Seven years of great abundance are now coming throughout the land of Egypt; 30but seven years of famine will rise up after them, when all the abundance will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. When the famine has exhausted the land, 31no trace of the abundance will be found in the land because of the famine that follows it, for it will be very severe. 32That Pharaoh had the same dream twice means that the matter has been confirmed by God and that God will soon bring it about.
33“Therefore, let Pharaoh seek out a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. 34Let Pharaoh act and appoint overseers for the land to organize it during the seven years of abundance. 35They should collect all the food of these coming good years, gathering the grain under Pharaoh’s authority, for food in the cities, and they should guard it. 36This food will serve as a reserve for the country against the seven years of famine that will occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish in the famine.”
37This advice pleased Pharaoh and all his servants.#Acts 7:10. 38“Could we find another like him,” Pharaoh asked his servants, “a man so endowed with the spirit of God?” 39So Pharaoh said to Joseph: “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one as discerning and wise as you are. 40You shall be in charge of my household, and all my people will obey your command. Only in respect to the throne will I outrank you.”#1 Mc 2:53; Ps 105:21; Wis 10:14; Acts 7:10. 41Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Look, I put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42With that, Pharaoh took off his signet ring#Signet ring: a finger ring in which was set a stamp seal, different from the cylinder seal such as Judah wore; see note on 38:18. By receiving Pharaoh’s signet ring, Joseph was made vizier of Egypt (v. 43); the vizier was known as “seal-bearer of the king of Lower Egypt.” The gold chain was a symbol of high office in ancient Egypt. and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43He then had him ride in his second chariot, and they shouted “Abrek!”#Abrek: apparently a cry of homage, though the word’s derivation and actual meaning are uncertain. before him.
Thus was Joseph installed over the whole land of Egypt. 44“I am Pharaoh,” he told Joseph, “but without your approval no one shall lift hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.” 45Pharaoh also bestowed the name of Zaphenath-paneah#Zaphenath-paneah: a Hebrew transcription of an Egyptian name meaning “the god speaks and he (the newborn child) lives.” Asenath: means “belonging to (the Egyptian goddess) Neith.” Potiphera: means “he whom Ra (the Egyptian god) gave”; a shorter form of the same name was borne by Joseph’s master (37:36). Heliopolis: in Hebrew, On, a city seven miles northeast of modern Cairo, site of the chief temple of the sun god; it is mentioned also in v. 50; 46:20; Ez 30:17. on Joseph, and he gave him in marriage Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of Heliopolis. And Joseph went out over the land of Egypt. 46Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.
After Joseph left Pharaoh, he went throughout the land of Egypt. 47During the seven years of plenty, when the land produced abundant crops, 48he collected all the food of these years of plenty that the land of Egypt was enjoying and stored it in the cities, placing in each city the crops of the fields around it. 49Joseph collected grain like the sands of the sea, so much that at last he stopped measuring it, for it was beyond measure.
50Before the famine years set in, Joseph became the father of two sons, borne to him by Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, priest of Heliopolis.#Gn 46:20; 48:5. 51Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh,#Manasseh: an allusion to this name is in the Hebrew expression, nishshani, “he made me forget.” meaning, “God has made me forget entirely my troubles and my father’s house”; 52and the second he named Ephraim,#Ephraim: related to the Hebrew expression hiphrani, “(God) has made me fruitful.” The name originally meant something like “fertile land.” meaning, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
53When the seven years of abundance enjoyed by the land of Egypt came to an end, 54the seven years of famine set in, just as Joseph had said. Although there was famine in all the other countries, food was available throughout the land of Egypt.#Ps 105:16; Acts 7:11. 55When all the land of Egypt became hungry and the people cried to Pharaoh for food, Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians: “Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you.” 56When the famine had spread throughout the land, Joseph opened all the cities that had grain and rationed it to the Egyptians, since the famine had gripped the land of Egypt. 57Indeed, the whole world came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, for famine had gripped the whole world.
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1And two yeeres after, Pharaoh also dreamed, and beholde, he stoode by a riuer, 2And loe, there came out of the riuer seuen goodly kine and fatfleshed, and they fedde in a medowe: 3And loe, seuen other kine came vp after the out of the riuer, euill fauoured and leane fleshed, and stoode by the other kine vpon the brinke of the riuer. 4And the euilfauoured and leane fleshed kine did eate vp the seuen welfauoured and fatte kine: so Pharaoh awoke. 5Againe he slept, and dreamed the second time: and beholde, seuen eares of corne grewe vpon one stalke, ranke and goodly. 6And loe, seuen thinne eares, and blasted with the east winde, sprang vp after them: 7And the thinne eares deuoured the seuen ranke and full eares. then Pharaoh awaked, and loe, it was a dreame. 8Nowe when the morning came, his spirit was troubled: therefore he sent and called all the soothsayers of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof, and Pharaoh tolde them his dreames: but none coulde interprete them to Pharaoh. 9Then spake the chiefe butler vnto Pharaoh, saying, I call to minde my faultes this day. 10Pharaoh being angrie with his seruantes, put me in ward in the chiefe stewards house, both me and the chiefe baker. 11Then we dreamed a dreame in one night, both I, and he: we dreamed eche man according to the interpretation of his dreame. 12And there was with vs a yong man, an Ebrew, seruant vnto the chiefe steward, whome when we told, he declared our dreames to vs, to euery one he declared according to his dreame. 13And as he declared vnto vs, so it came to passe: for he restored me to mine office, and hanged him. 14Then sent Pharaoh, and called Ioseph, and they brought him hastily out of prison, and he shaued him, and chaunged his rayment, and came to Pharaoh. 15Then Pharaoh sayde to Ioseph, I haue dreamed a dreame, and no man can interprete it, and I haue hearde say of thee, that when thou hearest a dreame, thou canst interprete it. 16And Ioseph answered Pharaoh, saying, Without me God shall answere for the wealth of Pharaoh. 17And Pharaoh sayde vnto Ioseph, In my dreame, beholde, I stoode by the banke of the riuer: 18And lo, there came vp out of the riuer seuen fat fleshed, and welfauoured kine, and they fedde in the medowe. 19Also loe, seuen other kine came vp after them, poore and very euilfauoured, and leanefleshed: I neuer sawe the like in all the lande of Egypt, for euilfauoured. 20And the leane and euilfauoured kine did eate vp the first seuen fat kine. 21And when they had eaten them vp, it could not be knowen that they had eaten them, but they were still as euilfauoured, as they were at the beginning: so did I awake. 22Moreouer I sawe in my dreame, and beholde, seuen eares sprang out of one stalke, full and faire. 23And lo, seuen eares, withered, thinne, and blasted with the East winde, sprang vp after them. 24And the thinne eares deuoured the seuen good eares. Nowe I haue tolde the soothsayers, and none can declare it vnto me. 25Then Ioseph answered Pharaoh, Both Pharaohs dreames are one. God hath shewed Pharaoh, what he is about to doe. 26The seuen good kine are seuen yeres, and the seuen good eares are seuen yeeres: this is one dreame. 27Likewise the seuen thinne and euilfauoured kine, that came out after them, are seuen yeeres: and the seuen emptie eares blasted with the East winde, are seuen yeeres of famine. 28This is the thing which I haue saide vnto Pharaoh, that God hath shewed vnto Pharaoh, what he is about to doe. 29Beholde, there come seuen yeeres of great plentie in all the land of Egypt. 30Againe, there shall arise after them seuen yeeres of famine, so that all the plentie shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt, and the famine shall consume the land: 31Neither shall the plentie bee knowen in the land, by reason of this famine that shall come after: for it shalbe exceeding great. 32And therefore the dreame was doubled vnto Pharaoh the second time, because the thing is established by God, and God hasteth to performe it. 33Nowe therefore let Pharaoh prouide for a man of vnderstanding and wisedome, and set him ouer the land of Egypt. 34Let Pharaoh make and appoynt officers ouer the lande, and take vp the fift part of the land of Egypt in the seuen plenteous yeeres. 35Also let them gather all the foode of these good yeeres that come, and lay vp corne vnder the hand of Pharaoh for foode, in the cities, and let them keepe it. 36So the foode shall be for the prouision of the lande, against the seuen yeeres of famine, which shalbe in the lande of Egypt, that the land perish not by famine. 37And the saying pleased Pharaoh and all his seruants. 38Then saide Pharaoh vnto his seruants, Can we finde such a man as this, in whom is the Spirit of God? 39The Pharaoh said to Ioseph, For as much as God hath shewed thee all this, there is no man of vnderstanding, or of wisedome like vnto thee. 40Thou shalt be ouer mine house, and at thy word shall all my people be armed, onely in the kings throne will I be aboue thee. 41Moreouer Pharaoh said to Ioseph, Behold, I haue set thee ouer all the land of Egypt. 42And Pharaoh tooke off his ring from his hand, and put it vpon Iosephs hand, and arayed him in garments of fine linnen, and put a golden cheyne about his necke. 43So he set him vpon the best charet that hee had, saue one: and they cryed before him, Abrech, and placed him ouer all the land of Egypt. 44Againe Pharaoh saide vnto Ioseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift vp his hand or his foote in all the land of Egypt. 45And Pharaoh called Iosephs name Zaphnath-paaneah: and he gaue him to wife Asenath the daughter of Poti-pherah prince of On. then went Ioseph abrode in the land of Egypt. 46And Ioseph was thirtie yeere old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt: and Ioseph departing from the presence of Pharaoh, went throughout all the land of Egypt. 47And in the seuen plenteous yeres the earth brought foorth store. 48And hee gathered vp all the foode of the seuen plenteous yeeres, which were in the lande of Egypt, and layde vp foode in the cities: the foode of the fielde, that was round about euery citie, layde he vp in the same. 49So Ioseph gathered wheate, like vnto the sand of the sea in multitude out of measure, vntill he left numbring: for it was without number. 50Now vnto Ioseph were borne two sonnes (before the yeeres of famine came) which Asenath the daughter of Poti-pherah prince of On bare vnto him. 51And Ioseph called the name of the first borne Manasseh: for God, said he, hath made me forget all my labour and al my fathers houshold. 52Also hee called the name of the second, Ephraim: For God, sayde he hath made me fruitfull in the land of mine affliction. 53So the seuen yeeres of the plentie that was in the land of Egypt were ended. 54Then began the seuen yeeres of famine to come, according as Ioseph had saide: and the famine was in all landes, but in all the land of Egypt was bread. 55At the length all the lande of Egypt was affamished, and the people cryed to Pharaoh for bread. And Pharaoh said vnto all the Egyptians, Goe to Ioseph: what he sayth to you, doe ye. 56When the famine was vpon all the land, Ioseph opened all places, wherein the store was, and solde vnto the Egyptians: for the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt. 57And all countries came to Egypt to bye corne of Ioseph, because the famine was sore in all landes.