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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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Pharaoh’s Dream
1Now it happened at the end of two full years that Pharaoh had a dream, and behold, he was standing by the Nile. 2And behold, from the Nile seven cows came up, fine-looking and #Lit fat of fleshfat; and they grazed in the marsh grass. 3Then behold, seven other cows came up after them from the Nile, ugly and #Lit thin of fleshthin, and they stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile. 4Then the ugly and #Lit thin of fleshthin cows ate the seven fine-looking and fat cows. Then Pharaoh awoke. 5But he fell asleep and dreamed a second time; and behold, seven ears of grain came up on a single stalk, plump and good. 6Then behold, seven ears, thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouted up after them. 7And the thin ears swallowed the seven plump and full ears. Then Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream. 8Now in the morning his spirit was troubled, so he sent messengers and called for all the soothsayer priests of Egypt, and all its wise men. And Pharaoh told them his #Lit dreamdreams, but there was no one who could interpret them for Pharaoh.
9Then the chief cupbearer spoke to Pharaoh, saying, “I would make mention today of my own #Or sinsoffenses. 10Pharaoh was furious with his servants, and he put me in confinement in the house of the captain of the bodyguard, both me and the chief baker. 11Then we had a dream one night, #Lit I and hehe and I; each of us dreamed according to the interpretation of his own dream. 12Now a Hebrew youth was there with us, a servant of the captain of the bodyguard, and we told him the dreams, and he interpreted our dreams for us. For each man he interpreted according to his own dream. 13And just as he interpreted for us, so it happened; Pharaoh restored me in my office, but he hanged #Lit himthe chief baker.”
Joseph Interprets
14Then Pharaoh sent word and called for Joseph, and they hurriedly brought him out of the dungeon; and when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came to Pharaoh. 15Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, but no one can interpret it; and I have heard #Lit about you, sayingit said about you, that #Lit you hear a dream to interpret itwhen you hear a dream you can interpret it.” 16Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, “#Lit Apart from meIt has nothing to do with me; God will #Lit answer the peace of Pharaohgive Pharaoh an answer for his own good.” 17So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream, there I was, standing on the bank of the Nile; 18and behold, seven cows, #Lit fat of fleshfat and fine-looking came up out of the Nile, and they grazed in the marsh grass. 19Then behold, seven other cows came up after them, poor and very #Lit badugly and #Lit thin of fleshthin, such as I had never seen for #Lit badnessugliness in all the land of Egypt; 20and the thin and ugly cows ate the first seven fat cows. 21Yet when they had #Lit entered their inward partsdevoured them, it could not be #Or knowndetected that they had #Lit entered their inward partsdevoured them, #Lit andfor they were just as ugly as #Lit in the beginningbefore. Then I awoke. 22I saw also in my dream, and behold, seven ears of grain, full and good, came up on a single stalk; 23and behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and scorched by the east wind sprouted up after them; 24and the thin ears swallowed the seven good ears. Then I told it to the soothsayer priests, but there was no one who could explain it to me.”
25And Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s #Lit dream isdreams are one and the same; God has told to Pharaoh what He is about to do. 26The seven good cows are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years; the #Lit dream isdreams are one and the same. 27The seven thin and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven thin ears scorched by the east wind will be seven years of famine. 28#Lit That is the thing which I spokeIt is as I have spoken to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do. 29Behold, seven years of great abundance are coming in all the land of Egypt; 30and after them seven years of famine will #Lit arisecome, and all the abundance will be forgotten in the land of Egypt, and the famine will #Lit destroyravage the land. 31So the abundance will be unknown in the land because of that subsequent famine; for it will be very severe. 32Now as for the repeating of the dream to Pharaoh twice, it means that the matter is confirmed by God, and God will quickly bring it about. 33So now let Pharaoh look for a man discerning and wise, and appoint him over the land of Egypt. 34Let Pharaoh take action to appoint overseers #Lit overin charge of the land, and let him take a fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt as a tax in the seven years of abundance. 35Then have them collect all the food of these good years that are coming, and store up the grain for food in the cities under Pharaoh’s authority, and have them guard it. 36Let the food be used as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which will occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land will not perish during the famine.”
37Now the #Lit wordproposal seemed good #Lit in the sight ofto Pharaoh and #Lit in the sight ofto all his servants.
Joseph Is Made a Ruler of Egypt
38Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom there is a divine spirit?” 39So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you are. 40You shall be #Lit overin charge of my house, and all my people shall #Lit kiss your mouth; LXX obey at your commandbe obedient to you; only regarding the throne will I be greater than you.” 41Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “See, I have placed you over all the land of Egypt.” 42Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen, and put the gold necklace around his neck. 43And he had him ride in #Lit the second...which was hishis second chariot; and they proclaimed ahead of him, “#Or Make wayBow the knee!” And he placed him over all the land of Egypt. 44Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Though I am Pharaoh, yet without #Lit you no oneyour permission no one shall raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.” 45Then Pharaoh named Joseph #Prob. Egyptian for “God speaks; he lives”Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of #Or HeliopolisOn, to be his wife. And Joseph went out over the land of Egypt.
46Now Joseph was thirty years old when he #Or entered the service ofstood in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went through all the land of Egypt. 47During the seven years of plenty the land produced #Lit by handfulsabundantly. 48So he collected all the food of these seven years which occurred in the land of Egypt and put the food in the cities; he put in every city the food from its own surrounding fields. 49Joseph stored up grain #Lit very muchin great abundance like the sand of the sea, until he stopped #Lit numberingmeasuring it, for it was #Or without numberbeyond measure.
The Sons of Joseph
50Now before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of #Or HeliopolisOn, bore to him. 51Joseph named the firstborn #I.e., making to forgetManasseh; “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my trouble and all of my father’s household.” 52And he named the second #I.e., fruitfulnessEphraim; “For,” he said, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
53When the seven years of plenty which had taken place in the land of Egypt came to an end, 54and the seven years of famine began to come, just as Joseph had said, then there was famine in all the lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. 55So when all the land of Egypt suffered famine, the people cried out to Pharaoh for bread; and Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph; whatever he says to you, you shall do.” 56When the famine was spread over the entire face of the earth, then Joseph opened all #Lit that which was in themthe storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians; and the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57Then the people of all the earth came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe in all the earth.