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Genesis 41

41
1-4Two years passed and Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile River. Seven cows came up out of the Nile, all shimmering with health, and grazed on the marsh grass. Then seven other cows, all skin and bones, came up out of the river after them and stood by them on the bank of the Nile. The skinny cows ate the seven healthy cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.
5-7He went back to sleep and dreamed a second time: Seven ears of grain, full-bodied and lush, grew out of a single stalk. Then seven more ears grew up, but these were thin and dried out by the east wind. The thin ears swallowed up the full, healthy ears. Then Pharaoh woke up—another dream.
8When morning came, he was upset. He sent for all the magicians and sages of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but they couldn’t interpret them to him.
9-13The head cupbearer then spoke up and said to Pharaoh, “I just now remembered something—I’m sorry, I should have told you this long ago. Once when Pharaoh got angry with his servants, he locked me and the head baker in the house of the captain of the guard. We both had dreams on the same night, each dream with its own meaning. It so happened that there was a young Hebrew slave there with us; he belonged to the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams and he interpreted them for us, each dream separately. Things turned out just as he interpreted. I was returned to my position and the head baker was impaled.”
14Pharaoh at once sent for Joseph. They brought him on the run from the jail cell. He cut his hair, put on clean clothes, and came to Pharaoh.
15“I dreamed a dream,” Pharaoh told Joseph. “Nobody can interpret it. But I’ve heard that just by hearing a dream you can interpret it.”
16Joseph answered, “Not I, but God. God will set Pharaoh’s mind at ease.”
17-21Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile. Seven cows, shimmering with health, came up out of the river and grazed on the marsh grass. On their heels seven more cows, all skin and bones, came up. I’ve never seen uglier cows anywhere in Egypt. Then the seven skinny, ugly cows ate up the first seven healthy cows. But you couldn’t tell by looking—after eating them up they were just as skinny and ugly as before. Then I woke up.
22-24“In my second dream I saw seven ears of grain, full-bodied and lush, growing out of a single stalk, and right behind them, seven other ears, shriveled, thin, and dried out by the east wind. And the thin ears swallowed up the full ears. I’ve told all this to the magicians but they can’t figure it out.”
25-27Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s two dreams both mean the same thing. God is telling Pharaoh what he is going to do. The seven healthy cows are seven years and the seven healthy ears of grain are seven years—they’re the same dream. The seven sick and ugly cows that followed them up are seven years and the seven scrawny ears of grain dried out by the east wind are the same—seven years of famine.
28-32“The meaning is what I said earlier: God is letting Pharaoh in on what he is going to do. Seven years of plenty are on their way throughout Egypt. But on their heels will come seven years of famine, leaving no trace of the Egyptian plenty. As the country is emptied by famine, there won’t be even a scrap left of the previous plenty—the famine will be total. The fact that Pharaoh dreamed the same dream twice emphasizes God’s determination to do this and do it soon.
33-36“So, Pharaoh needs to look for a wise and experienced man and put him in charge of the country. Then Pharaoh needs to appoint managers throughout the country of Egypt to organize it during the years of plenty. Their job will be to collect all the food produced in the good years ahead and stockpile the grain under Pharaoh’s authority, storing it in the towns for food. This grain will be held back to be used later during the seven years of famine that are coming on Egypt. This way the country won’t be devastated by the famine.”
37This seemed like a good idea to Pharaoh and his officials.
38Then Pharaoh said to his officials, “Isn’t this the man we need? Are we going to find anyone else who has God’s spirit in him like this?”
39-40So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “You’re the man for us. God has given you the inside story—no one is as qualified as you in experience and wisdom. From now on, you’re in charge of my affairs; all my people will report to you. Only as king will I be over you.”
41-43So Pharaoh commissioned Joseph: “I’m putting you in charge of the entire country of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his finger and slipped it on Joseph’s hand. He outfitted him in robes of the best linen and put a gold chain around his neck. He put the second-in-command chariot at his disposal, and as he rode people shouted “Bravo!”
Joseph was in charge of the entire country of Egypt.
44Pharaoh told Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but no one in Egypt will make a single move without your stamp of approval.”
45Then Pharaoh gave Joseph an Egyptian name, Zaphenath-Paneah (God Speaks and He Lives). He also gave him an Egyptian wife, Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On (Heliopolis).
And Joseph took up his duties over the land of Egypt.
46Joseph was thirty years old when he went to work for Pharaoh the king of Egypt. As soon as Joseph left Pharaoh’s presence, he began his work in Egypt.
47-49During the next seven years of plenty the land produced bumper crops. Joseph gathered up the food of the seven good years in Egypt and stored the food in cities. In each city he stockpiled surplus from the surrounding fields. Joseph collected so much grain—it was like the sand of the ocean!—that he finally quit keeping track.
50-52Joseph had two sons born to him before the years of famine came. Asenath, daughter of Potiphera the priest of On, was their mother. Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh (Forget), saying, “God made me forget all my hardships and my parental home.” He named his second son Ephraim (Double Prosperity), saying, “God has prospered me in the land of my sorrow.”
53-54Then Egypt’s seven good years came to an end and the seven years of famine arrived, just as Joseph had said. All countries experienced famine; Egypt was the only country that had bread.
55When the famine spread throughout Egypt, the people called out in distress to Pharaoh, calling for bread. He told the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. Do what he tells you.”
56-57As the famine got worse all over the country, Joseph opened the storehouses and sold emergency supplies to the Egyptians. The famine was very bad. Soon the whole world was coming to buy supplies from Joseph. The famine was bad all over.
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.