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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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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.