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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
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.