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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1Two years later, Pharaoh had a dream. In his dream, he was standing by the River Nile. 2Seven cows walked up out of the river. They were fat and good to look at. They ate the grass at the side of the river. 3After those seven fat cows, Pharaoh saw seven other cows that also came up out of the river. Those cows were thin and not good to look at. They stood next to the other cows at the side of the river. 4The thin cows ate the seven fat cows! Then Pharaoh woke up.
5Pharaoh went to sleep again and he had another dream. He saw seven groups of grain that were growing on one branch. The grains were fat and good to look at. 6Then he saw seven other groups of grain that grew after the first seven groups. These grains were thin, because the hot east wind had burned them. 7Then the groups of thin grains ate the seven groups of grains that were good and fat. Then Pharaoh woke up. He realized that it was a dream.
8In the morning, Pharaoh had trouble in his mind. So he told all the magicians and the wise men in Egypt to come to him. Pharaoh told them about his dreams. But no one could tell Pharaoh what his dreams meant.
9Then the king's cupbearer said to Pharaoh, ‘Now I remember that I have done a wrong thing! #41:9 The cupbearer had authority in the king's house. He would make sure that the king's wine was safe for the king to drink. 10Two years ago, you were angry with me and with your special baker. You put us in prison, in the house of the guards' captain. 11One night we both had a dream. Each of our dreams had its own meaning. 12A young Hebrew man was there with us. He was a servant of the guards' captain. We told the Hebrew man about our dreams. Then he told each of us the meaning of our dream. 13And everything happened as he had told us! You gave me my job as cupbearer again. But you hanged the baker to kill him.’
14So Pharaoh called Joseph to come to him. They quickly brought Joseph from the prison. Joseph washed himself and he cut his beard from his face. He put on clean clothes. Then he went and he stood in front of Pharaoh. 15Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I had a dream, and no one can tell me what it means. But people have told me about you. They say that you can tell the meaning of dreams.’ 16Joseph replied to Pharaoh, ‘I cannot do this. But God will give you an answer that will make you happy.’
17Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘In my dream, I stood at the side of the River Nile. 18I saw seven cows that came up out of the river. They were fat, and good to look at. They were eating the grass at the side of the river. 19After them, seven more cows came up out of the river. They were thin and they were not good to look at. I have never seen cows as bad as these in Egypt before. 20The thin cows ate the seven fat cows that came out of the river first. 21When they had eaten them, you would not have known it! They still seemed to be as thin as they were before they ate the fat cows. Then I woke up. 22In another dream, I also saw seven groups of grain that grew on one branch. The grains were fat and good. 23After those, seven other groups of grain grew. Those grains were thin because the hot east wind had burned them. 24The thin grains ate the seven groups of fat grains. I told those dreams to my wise men and magicians. But none of them could tell me the meaning of my dreams.’
25Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, ‘Your dreams both have the same meaning. God has shown you what he will soon do. 26The seven fat cows tell us about seven years. And the seven groups of fat grains also mean seven years. Both dreams have the same meaning. 27The seven thin cows that came out of the river mean seven years. And the seven groups of thin grains mean seven years. Both of these tell us about seven years of famine.
28This is what your dreams mean. As I said, God has shown Pharaoh what he will do. 29There will be plenty of food for seven years all over the land of Egypt. 30But then seven years of famine will follow. People will forget about the seven years when they had plenty of food. The famine will destroy the land of Egypt. 31No one will remember the seven good years, because the famine will be so bad. 32God gave you two dreams with the same meaning because these things will certainly happen. God will cause them to happen very soon. 33Now Pharaoh should look for a clever man. He should look for a man who knows what is right and wrong. Tell him to rule over the land of Egypt.
34-35This is what you should do: Choose some officers. Give them authority to store food during the good years when there is plenty. They must take a fifth part of all the food that grows everywhere in Egypt. They must store the extra food during the good years that will come soon. Give these officers authority to store and to take care of the food in the cities. 36Then you will be ready for the seven years of famine that will happen everywhere in Egypt. The people in Egypt will have enough food, and the famine will not destroy the land.’
37Pharaoh and his officers thought that Joseph's idea was good. 38Pharaoh said to his officers, ‘This man has the Spirit of God in him. We will never find anyone else like him.’ 39So Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘God himself has helped you to know all these things. So there is no one who is as wise and clever as you are. 40I will give you authority in my palace. All my people will do whatever you tell them to do. Only I will be greater than you, because I am the king.’
41Pharaoh also said to Joseph, ‘I give you authority in the whole land of Egypt.’ 42Then Pharaoh took his king's ring from his finger and he put it on Joseph's finger. He dressed Joseph in beautiful clothes made of linen. He put a gold chain round Joseph's neck. 43Pharaoh gave Joseph a chariot to ride in. It showed that Joseph was Pharaoh's most important officer. Only Pharaoh had more authority. As Joseph travelled, his servants shouted to the people, ‘Bend your knees to respect Joseph!’
In this way Pharaoh gave Joseph authority over everything in the land of Egypt. 44Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I rule Egypt as Pharaoh. But nobody who lives anywhere in Egypt will do anything, unless you tell them to.’ 45Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah. He also gave Asenath to Joseph to be his wife. She was the daughter of Potiphera, who was a priest in Heliopolis. #41:45 Heliopolis was a city where people worshipped the sun god. The city was also called On. Everyone knew that Joseph had authority in all the land of Egypt.
46Joseph was 30 years old when he began to serve Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Joseph then left Pharaoh's palace and he travelled all over Egypt. 47During the seven good years, lots of food grew in the land. 48Joseph got all the extra food that grew in the seven good years. He stored it in Egypt's cities, near the fields where it had grown. 49In this way, Joseph stored a lot of food. The food grains were as many as the sand by the sea! Joseph stopped counting how much food he had stored because there was too much food to measure.
50Before the years of famine arrived, Joseph became the father of two sons. Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, a priest in Heliopolis, was their mother. 51Joseph called his firstborn son Manasseh. Joseph said, ‘God has made me forget all the trouble that my family has given to me.’ 52Joseph called his second son Ephraim. Joseph said, ‘God has given children to me in the land where I have received pain.’
53The seven good years with plenty of food in Egypt, came to an end. 54The seven years of famine began, in the same way that Joseph had said would happen. There was a famine in all the other countries too. But in Egypt, the people still had food to eat. 55When the Egyptian people became hungry, they cried out to Pharaoh for food. When they did that, Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, ‘Go to Joseph. Do whatever he tells you to do.’
56The famine became very bad everywhere. Joseph opened all the places where he had stored the food. He sold grain to the Egyptians because there was a bad famine in all of Egypt. 57People from all the other countries came to Egypt to buy food from Joseph. They came because the famine was very bad all over the world.
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