Genesis 41

Pharaoh's dreams

1 Then 2 years passed and Pharaoh had a dream. In his dream, he was standing by the River Nile. 2 And 7 cows walked out of the river. They were fat and good to look at. They ate the plants at the side of the river. 3 After them, 7 other cows came out of the river. They were thin. And their bones were close to their skin. They stood next to the cows already on the side of the river. 4 And the thin cows ate the 7 fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up. 5 He went to sleep again. And he had another dream. He dreamed that 7 food plants were growing on one branch. They were fat and good to look at. 6 After them, 7 other food plants grew. They seemed thin and burned by the east wind. 7 Then the thin food plants ate the 7 fat plants. Then Pharaoh woke up. It was a dream. 8 In the morning, Pharaoh was worried. So, he sent for all the men who could tell the meaning of dreams. He also sent for all the wise men in Egypt. Pharaoh told them about his dreams. But no one could tell Pharaoh what his dreams meant.

41:8In the Bible God speaks to people in their dreams. The Egyptians did not worship God. But they knew that dreams had meaning. So, it was important to them to know the meaning of their dreams.

9 Then the cupbearer said to Pharaoh, ‘Now I remember the wrong that I have done! 10 Two (2) years ago, Pharaoh was angry with his servants. He put the baker and me in prison. 11 One night we both had a dream And each of our dreams had a different meaning. 12 A young Hebrew man was there with us. He was a servant of the man with authority over all the men who watched the people in prison. We told the Hebrew our dreams. And then he told each of us the meaning of our dream. 13 And everything happened as he had told us. You gave me my job as cupbearer again. And you hanged the baker.’

41:13The cupbearer had authority in the king's household. He would make sure that the king's wine was safe for the king to drink.

14 So Pharaoh sent for Joseph. And they quickly brought him from the prison. Joseph washed himself. He removed the hair that grew on his face. And he put on clean clothes. Then he stood in front of Pharaoh. 15 Pharaoh spoke to Joseph. He said, ‘I had a dream. And no one can tell me what it means. But I have heard people saying that you can tell the meaning of dreams.’ 16 Joseph replied, ‘I cannot do this. But God will give Pharaoh the answer that he is looking for.’ 17 Then Pharaoh said, ‘In my dream, I stood at the side of the River Nile. 18 Then 7 cows came out of the river. They were fat, and good to look at. And they ate the plants at the side of the river. 19 After them, 7 more cows came out of the river. They were thin and they were not good to look at. I have not seen cows as bad looking as these in Egypt before. 20 The thin bad looking cows ate the fat cows that came out of the river first. 21 They ate the 7 fat cows. But you could not see that they had eaten them. They looked thin before they ate the fat cows. They still looked as thin after they ate them. Then I woke up. 22 In my dream, I also saw 7 food plants. They grew from one branch. They were fat and good to look at. 23 After them, 7 other plants grew. They seemed thin and burned by the east wind. 24 The thin plants ate the fat plants. I told those dreams to my men who can tell the meaning of dreams. But they could not tell me the meaning of my dreams.’

25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, ‘Pharaoh's dreams both have the same meaning. God has shown Pharaoh what God is going to do. 26 The 7 fat cows are 7 years. And the 7 good food plants are 7 years. Both dreams have the same meaning. 27 The 7 thin cows that came out of the river mean 7 years. And the 7 bad plants mean 7 years. Both dreams mean 7 years of famine. 28 This is what your dreams mean. God has shown Pharaoh what he is going to do. 29 There will be plenty of food for 7 years. All through the land of Egypt, there will be food. 30 But 7 years of famine will follow. People will forget the 7 years of plenty. And famine will destroy the land of Egypt. 31 No one will remember the first 7 years, when there was plenty of food. They will not remember them because the famine will be so bad. 32 God gave you 2 dreams with the same meaning. This is because God has decided what he will do. And he will do it soon. 33 Now 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 Pharaoh should choose some officers. They must take one part in every five parts of the food grown in Egypt, in the seven years of plenty. 35 They must store all the food from these good years. Pharaoh will have authority over what happens to the food. 36 This food should be stored. So the people in Egypt will have enough food, when the seven years of famine come.’

Pharaoh gives Joseph authority in Egypt

37 Pharaoh thought that Joseph's plan was good. And he told it to all his servants. 38 Pharaoh said to them, ‘This man has the Spirit of God in him. Can we find anyone else like him?’ 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘God has made these things known to you. There is no one more clever than you. 40 You will have authority in my palace. All my people will do whatever things you tell them. Only I will be greater than you because I am the king.’ 41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I give you authority in the whole land of Egypt.’ 42 Then Pharaoh took his king's ring from his finger. And he put it on Joseph's finger. He dressed Joseph in clothes of good material. And he put gold on Joseph's neck. 43 Joseph rode in a chariot. All the people knew that only Pharaoh had more authority in Egypt. Men shouted, ‘Bow down!’ So, Joseph had authority over everything in the land of Egypt.

41:43A palace is a large house for a king. Horses pull chariots. And important people ride in chariots.

44 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I am Pharaoh. But nobody in Egypt will do anything, unless you tell them to.’ 45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah. He also gave him a wife. She was called Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera. He was priest of On. So Asenath became Joseph's wife. Everyone knew that Joseph had authority in all the land of Egypt.

41:45On was a place where people worshipped the sun-god.

46 Joseph was 30 years old when he became Pharaoh's special servant. And Joseph started to work at once. And he travelled all over Egypt. 47 During the 7 years of plenty, lots of food grew in the land. 48 Joseph got all this food. He got all the food that they grew in the 7 years of plenty. He stored it in cities in Egypt. He stored the food near the fields where it grew. 49 Joseph stored large quantities of food. It was like the sand by the sea. Joseph stopped keeping records of the food. He stopped because there was too much food to measure.

50 Before the years of famine came, Joseph became a father. Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, gave birth to 2 sons. 51 Joseph called his first born son Manasseh. That was because Joseph said, ‘God made me forget all my trouble. And he made me forget all the people who live with my father.’ 52 Joseph called his second son Ephraim. That was because Joseph said, ‘God has made me have children. I have had them in the land where bad things happened to me.’

53 Then the 7 good years, when there was plenty of food in Egypt, ended. 54 And the 7 years of famine began. This is what Joseph said would happen. There was a famine in all the other countries. But there was food for all the people in Egypt. 55 The people of Egypt began to go hungry. And they cried out to Pharaoh for food. Then Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, ‘Go to Joseph. And do as he tells you.’ 56 The famine was over the whole country. Then Joseph opened the places where he had stored the food. And he sold it to the Egyptians because the famine was very bad in all of Egypt. 57 And people from other countries came to Egypt. They came to buy food from Joseph. They came because the famine was very bad all over the world.