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Genesis 41

41
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.

Genesis 41

41
The Dreams of Pharaoh
1After two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing beside the Nile, 2when seven cows, sleek and well-fed, came up from the river and began to graze among the reeds. 3After them, seven other cows, sickly and thin, came up from the Nile and stood beside the well-fed cows on the bank of the river. 4And the cows that were sickly and thin devoured the seven sleek, well-fed cows.
Then Pharaoh woke up, 5but he fell back asleep and dreamed a second time: Seven heads of grain, plump and ripe, came up on one stalk. 6After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted, thin and scorched by the east wind. 7And the thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven plump, ripe ones. Then Pharaoh awoke and realized it was a dream.
8In the morning his spirit was troubled, so he summoned all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.
9Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I recall my failures. 10Pharaoh was once angry with his servants, and he put me and the chief baker in the custody of the captain of the guard. 11One night both the chief baker and I had dreams, and each dream had its own meaning. 12Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams and he interpreted them for us individually. 13And it happened to us just as he had interpreted: I was restored to my position, and the other man was hanged.”
Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s Dreams
14So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, who was quickly brought out of the dungeon. After he had shaved and changed his clothes, he went in before Pharaoh.
15Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”
16“I myself cannot do it,” Joseph replied, “but God will give Pharaoh a sound answer.”
17Then Pharaoh said to Joseph: “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, 18when seven cows, well-fed and sleek, came up from the river and began to graze among the reeds. 19After them, seven other cows—sickly, ugly, and thin—came up. I have never seen such ugly cows in all the land of Egypt! 20Then the thin, ugly cows devoured the seven well-fed cows that were there first. 21When they had devoured them, however, no one could tell that they had done so; their appearance was as ugly as it had been before. Then I awoke.
22In my dream I also saw seven heads of grain, plump and ripe, growing on a single stalk. 23After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted—withered, thin, and scorched by the east wind. 24And the thin heads of grain swallowed the seven plump ones.
I told this dream to the magicians, but no one could explain it to me.”
25At this, Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what He is about to do. 26The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven ripe heads of grain are seven years. The dreams have the same meaning. 27Moreover, the seven thin, ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind—they are seven years of famine.
28It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do. 29Behold, seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, 30but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in the land of Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will devastate the land. 31The abundance in the land will not be remembered, since the famine that follows it will be so severe.
32Moreover, because the dream was given to Pharaoh in two versions, the matter has been decreed by God, and He will carry it out shortly.
33Now, therefore, Pharaoh should look for a discerning and wise man and set him over the land of Egypt. 34Let Pharaoh take action and appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest #41:34 See LXX; MT a fifth from the land of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35Under the authority of Pharaoh, let them collect all the excess food from these good years, that they may come and lay up the grain to be preserved as food in the cities. 36This food will be a reserve for the land during the seven years of famine to come upon the land of Egypt. Then the country will not perish in the famine.”
Joseph Given Charge of Egypt
37This proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his officials. 38So Pharaoh asked them, “Can we find anyone like this man, in whom the Spirit of God #41:38 Or the spirit of the gods abides?”
39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. 40You shall be in charge of my house, and all my people are to obey your commands. Only with regard to the throne will I be greater than you.”
41Pharaoh also told Joseph, “I hereby place you over all the land of Egypt.” 42Then Pharaoh removed the signet ring from his finger, put it on Joseph’s finger, clothed him in garments of fine linen, and placed a gold chain around his neck. 43He had Joseph ride in his second chariot, with men calling out before him, “Bow the knee!”#41:43 That is, “Abrek,” probably an Egyptian word that sounds similar to the Hebrew for kneel So he placed him over all the land of Egypt.
44And Pharaoh declared to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your permission, no one in all the land of Egypt shall lift his hand or foot.”
45Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-paneah,#41:45 Zaphenath-paneah probably means Revealer of Mysteries or God speaks and lives. and he gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On,#41:45 That is, Heliopolis, as in LXX; also in verse 50 to be his wife. And Joseph took charge of all the land of Egypt.
The Seven Years of Plenty
46Now Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph left Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout the land of Egypt.
47During the seven years of abundance, the land brought forth bountifully. 48During those seven years, Joseph collected all the excess food in the land of Egypt and stored it in the cities. In every city he laid up the food from the fields around it. 49So Joseph stored up grain in such abundance, like the sand of the sea, that he stopped keeping track of it; for it was beyond measure.
50Before the years of famine arrived, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. 51Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh,#41:51 Manasseh sounds like the Hebrew for making to forget. saying, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s household.” 52And the second son he named Ephraim,#41:52 Ephraim sounds like the Hebrew for making fruitful or twice fruitful. saying, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
The Famine Begins
53When the seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt came to an end, 54the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. And although there was famine in every country, there was food throughout the land of Egypt. 55When extreme hunger came to all the land of Egypt and the people cried out to Pharaoh for food, he told all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you.”
56When the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened up all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians; for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57And every nation came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.