Joseph Interprets the King's Dreams
1Two years later the king#41.1 the king: See the note at 12.15. of Egypt dreamed he was standing beside the Nile River. 2Suddenly, seven fat, healthy cows came up from the river and started eating grass along the bank. 3Then seven ugly, skinny cows came up out of the river and 4ate the fat, healthy cows. When this happened, the king woke up.
5The king went back to sleep and had another dream. This time seven full heads of grain were growing on a single stalk. 6Later, seven other heads of grain appeared, but they were thin and scorched by a wind from the desert. 7The thin heads of grain swallowed the seven full heads. Again the king woke up, and it had only been a dream.
8 # Dn 2.2. The next morning the king was upset. So he called in his magicians and wise men and told them what he had dreamed. None of them could tell him what the dreams meant.
9The king's personal servant said:
Now I remember what I was supposed to do. 10When you were angry with me and your chief cook, you threw us both in jail in the house of the captain of the guard. 11One night we both had dreams, and each dream had a different meaning. 12A young Hebrew, who was a servant of the captain of the guard, was there with us at the time. When we told him our dreams, he explained what each of them meant, 13and everything happened just as he said it would. I got my job back, and the cook was put to death.
14The king sent for Joseph, who was quickly brought out of jail. He shaved, changed his clothes, and went to the king.
15The king said to him, “I had a dream, yet no one can explain what it means. I am told that you can interpret dreams.”
16“Your Majesty,” Joseph answered, “I can't do it myself, but God can give a good meaning to your dreams.”
17The king told Joseph:
I dreamed I was standing on the bank of the Nile River. 18I saw seven fat, healthy cows come up out of the river, and they began feeding on the grass. 19Next, seven skinny, bony cows came up out of the river. I have never seen such terrible looking cows anywhere in Egypt. 20The skinny cows ate the fat ones. 21But you couldn't tell it, because these skinny cows were just as skinny as they were before. At once, I woke up.
22I also dreamed that I saw seven heads of grain growing on one stalk. The heads were full and ripe. 23Then seven other heads of grain came up. They were thin and scorched by a wind from the desert. 24These heads of grain swallowed the full ones. I told my dreams to the magicians, but none of them could tell me the meaning of the dreams.
Your Majesty, both of your dreams mean the same thing, and in them God has shown what he is going to do. 26The seven good cows stand for seven years, and so do the seven good heads of grain. 27The seven skinny, ugly cows that came up later also stand for seven years, as do the seven bad heads of grain that were scorched by the desert wind. The dreams mean there will be seven years when there won't be enough grain.
28It is just as I said—God has shown what he intends to do. 29For seven years Egypt will have more than enough grain, 30but that will be followed by seven years when there won't be enough. The good years of plenty will be forgotten, and everywhere in Egypt people will be starving. 31The famine will be so bad that no one will remember that once there had been plenty. 32God has given you two dreams to let you know that he has definitely decided to do this and that he will do it soon.
33Your Majesty, you should find someone who is wise and will know what to do, so that you can put him in charge of all Egypt. 34Then appoint some other officials to collect one fifth of every crop harvested in Egypt during the seven years when there is plenty. 35Give them the power to collect the grain during those good years and to store it in your cities. 36It can be stored until it is needed during the seven years when there won't be enough grain in Egypt. This will keep the country from being destroyed because of the lack of food.
Joseph Is Made Governor over Egypt
37The king#41.37 The king: See the note at 12.15. and his officials liked this plan. 38So the king said to them, “Who could possibly handle this better than Joseph? After all, the Spirit of God is with him.”
39The king told Joseph, “God is the one who has shown you these things. No one else is as wise as you are or knows as much as you do. 40#Ac 7.10. I'm putting you in charge of my palace, and everybody will have to obey you. No one will be over you except me. 41You are now governor of all Egypt!”
42 # Dn 5.29. Then the king took off his royal ring and put it on Joseph's finger. He gave him fine clothes to wear and placed a gold chain around his neck. 43He also let him ride in the chariot next to his own, and people shouted, “Make way for Joseph!” So Joseph was governor of Egypt.
44The king told Joseph, “Although I'm king, no one in Egypt is to do anything without your permission.” 45He gave Joseph the Egyptian name Zaphenath Paneah. And he let him marry Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, a priest in the city of Heliopolis.#41.45 Heliopolis: The Hebrew text has “On,” which is better known by its Greek name “Heliopolis.” Joseph traveled all over#41.45 traveled all over: Or “extended his authority over all.” Egypt.
46Joseph was 30 when the king made him governor, and he went everywhere for the king. 47For seven years there were big harvests of grain. 48Joseph collected and stored up the extra grain in the cities of Egypt near the fields where it was harvested. 49In fact, there was so much grain that they stopped keeping record, because it was like counting the grains of sand along the beach.
50Joseph and his wife had two sons before the famine began. 51Their first son was named Manasseh, which means, “God has let me forget all my troubles and my family back home.” 52His second son was named Ephraim, which means “God has made me a success#41.52 God has made me a success: Or “God has given me children.” in the land where I suffered.”#41.52 Ephraim … suffered: In Hebrew “Ephraim” actually means either “fertile land” or “pastureland.”
53Egypt's seven years of plenty came to an end, 54#Ac 7.11. and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was not enough food in other countries, but all over Egypt there was plenty. 55#Jn 2.5. When the famine finally struck Egypt, the people asked the king for food, but he said, “Go to Joseph and do what he tells you to do.”
56The famine became bad everywhere in Egypt, so Joseph opened the storehouses and sold the grain to the Egyptians. 57People from all over the world came to Egypt to buy grain, because the famine was so severe in their countries.
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1And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed, and behold, he stood by the river. 2And behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fine-looking and fat-fleshed, and they fed in the reed-grass. 3And behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, bad-looking and lean-fleshed, and stood by the kine on the bank of the river. 4And the kine that were bad-looking and lean-fleshed ate up the seven kine that were fine-looking and fat. And Pharaoh awoke. 5And he slept and dreamed the second time; and behold, seven ears of corn grew up on one stalk, fat and good. 6And behold, seven ears, thin and parched with the east wind, sprung up after them. 7And the thin ears devoured the seven fat and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke; and behold, it was a dream. 8And it came to pass in the morning, that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the scribes of Egypt, and all the sages who were therein, and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none to interpret them to Pharaoh.
9Then spoke the chief of the cup-bearers to Pharaoh, saying, I remember mine offences this day. 10Pharaoh was wroth with his bondmen, and put me in custody into the captain of the life-guard's house, me and the chief of the bakers. 11And we dreamed a dream in one night, I and he; we dreamed each according to the interpretation of his dream. 12And there was there with us a Hebrew youth, a bondman of the captain of the life-guard, to whom we told them, and he interpreted to us our dreams; to each he interpreted according to his dream. 13And it came to pass, just as he interpreted to us, so it came about: me has he restored to my office, and him he hanged. 14Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph; and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon. And he shaved himself, and changed his clothes, and came in to Pharaoh. 15And Pharaoh said to Joseph, I have dreamt a dream, and there is none to interpret it. And I have heard say of thee, thou understandest a dream to interpret it. 16And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God#GodHebrew: Elohim will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.
17And Pharaoh said to Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood on the bank of the river. 18And behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fat-fleshed and of fine form, and they fed in the reed-grass. 19And behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor, and very ill-formed, and lean-fleshed — such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness. 20And the lean and bad kine ate up the seven first fat kine; 21and they came into their belly, and it could not be known that they had come into their belly; and their look was bad, as at the beginning. And I awoke. 22And I saw in my dream, and behold, seven ears came up on one stalk, full and good. 23And behold, seven ears, withered, thin, parched with the east wind, sprung up after them; 24and the thin ears devoured the seven good ears. And I told it to the scribes; but there was none to make it known to me. 25And Joseph said to Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one. What God#GodHebrew: Elohim will do he has made known to Pharaoh. 26The seven fine kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one. 27And the seven lean and bad kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears, parched with the east wind, will be seven years of famine. 28This is the word which I have spoken to Pharaoh: what God#GodHebrew: Elohim is about to do he has let Pharaoh see. 29Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout the land of Egypt. 30And there will arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt, and the famine will waste away the land. 31And the plenty will not be known afterwards in the land by reason of that famine; for it will be very grievous. 32And as regards the double repetition of the dream to Pharaoh, it is that the thing is established by God#GodHebrew: Elohim and God#GodHebrew: Elohim will hasten to do it.
33And now let Pharaoh look himself out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34Let Pharaoh do this: let him appoint overseers over the land, and take the fifth part of the land of Egypt during the seven years of plenty, 35and let them gather all the food of these coming good years, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, for food in the cities, and keep it. 36And let the food be as store for the land for the seven years of famine, which will be in the land of Egypt, that the land perish not through the famine. 37And the word was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his bondmen. 38And Pharaoh said to his bondmen, Shall we find one as this, a man in whom the Spirit of God#GodHebrew: Elohim is? 39And Pharaoh said to Joseph, Since God#GodHebrew: Elohim has made all this known to thee, there is none so discreet and wise as thou. 40Thou shalt be over my house, and according to thy commandment shall all my people regulate themselves; only concerning the throne will I be greater than thou. 41And Pharaoh said to Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. 42And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it on Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in clothes of byssus, and put a gold chain on his neck. 43And he caused him to ride in the second chariot that he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee! and he set him over all the land of Egypt. 44And Pharaoh said to Joseph, I am Pharaoh; and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt. 45And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnath-paaneah, and gave him as wife Asnath the daughter of Potipherah the priest in On. And Joseph went out over the land of Egypt.
46And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh, and passed through the whole land of Egypt. 47And in the seven years of plenty the land brought forth by handfuls. 48And he gathered up all the food of the seven years that was in the land of Egypt, and put the food in the cities; the food of the fields of the city, which were round about it, he laid up in it. 49And Joseph laid up corn as sand of the sea exceeding much, until they left off numbering; for it was without number. 50And to Joseph were born two sons before the year of famine came, whom Asnath the daughter of Potipherah the priest in On bore to him. 51And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh — For God#GodHebrew: Elohim has made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. 52And the name of the second he called Ephraim — For God#GodHebrew: Elohim has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction. 53And the seven years of plenty that were in the land of Egypt were ended; 54and the seven years of the dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said. And there was dearth in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. 55And all the land of Egypt suffered from the dearth. And the people cried to Pharaoh for bread; and Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, Go to Joseph: what he says to you, that do. 56And the famine was on all the earth. And Joseph opened every place in which there was provision, and sold grain to the Egyptians; and the famine was grievous in the land of Egypt. 57And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph, to buy grain, because the famine was grievous on the whole earth.
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First published in 1890. This edition is maintained by the British and Foreign Bible Society.