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Joseph Interprets Two Dreams
40Â Some time later, Pharaohâ€™s chief cup-bearer and chief baker offended their royal master.Â 2Â Pharaoh became angry with these two officials,Â 3Â and he put them in the prison where Joseph was, in the palace of the captain of the guard.Â 4Â They remained in prison for quite some time, and the captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, who looked after them.
5Â While they were in prison, Pharaohâ€™s cup-bearer and baker each had a dream one night, and each dream had its own meaning.Â 6Â When Joseph saw them the next morning, he noticed that they both looked upset.Â 7Â â€œWhy do you look so worried today?â€ he asked them.
8Â And they replied, â€œWe both had dreams last night, but no one can tell us what they mean.â€
â€œInterpreting dreams is Godâ€™s business,â€ Joseph replied. â€œGo ahead and tell me your dreams.â€
9Â So the chief cup-bearer told Joseph his dream first. â€œIn my dream,â€ he said, â€œI saw a grapevine in front of me.Â 10Â The vine had three branches that began to bud and blossom, and soon it produced clusters of ripe grapes.Â 11Â I was holding Pharaohâ€™s wine cup in my hand, so I took a cluster of grapes and squeezed the juice into the cup. Then I placed the cup in Pharaohâ€™s hand.â€
12Â â€œThis is what the dream means,â€ Joseph said. â€œThe three branches represent three days.Â 13Â Within three days Pharaoh will lift you up and restore you to your position as his chief cup-bearer.Â 14Â And please remember me and do me a favor when things go well for you. Mention me to Pharaoh, so he might let me out of this place.Â 15Â For I was kidnapped from my homeland, the land of the Hebrews, and now Iâ€™m here in prison, but I did nothing to deserve it.â€
16Â When the chief baker saw that Joseph had given the first dream such a positive interpretation, he said to Joseph, â€œI had a dream, too. In my dream there were three baskets of white pastries stacked on my head.Â 17Â The top basket contained all kinds of pastries for Pharaoh, but the birds came and ate them from the basket on my head.â€
18Â â€œThis is what the dream means,â€ Joseph told him. â€œThe three baskets also represent three days.Â 19Â Three days from now Pharaoh will lift you up and impale your body on a pole. Then birds will come and peck away at your flesh.â€
20Â Pharaohâ€™s birthday came three days later, and he prepared a banquet for all his officials and staff. He summonedÂ his chief cup-bearer and chief baker to join the other officials.Â 21Â He then restored the chief cup-bearer to his former position, so he could again hand Pharaoh his cup.Â 22Â But Pharaoh impaled the chief baker, just as Joseph had predicted when he interpreted his dream.Â 23Â Pharaohâ€™s chief cup-bearer, however, forgot all about Joseph, never giving him another thought.
41Â Two full years later, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing on the bank of the Nile River.Â 2Â In his dream he saw seven fat, healthy cows come up out of the river and begin grazing in the marsh grass.Â 3Â Then he saw seven more cows come up behind them from the Nile, but these were scrawny and thin. These cows stood beside the fat cows on the riverbank.Â 4Â Then the scrawny, thin cows ate the seven healthy, fat cows! At this point in the dream, Pharaoh woke up.
5Â But he fell asleep again and had a second dream. This time he saw seven heads of grain, plump and beautiful, growing on a single stalk.Â 6Â Then seven more heads of grain appeared, but these were shriveled and withered by the east wind.Â 7Â And these thin heads swallowed up the seven plump, well-formed heads! Then Pharaoh woke up again and realized it was a dream.
8Â The next morning Pharaoh was very disturbed by the dreams. So he called for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. When Pharaoh told them his dreams, not one of them could tell him what they meant.
9Â Finally, the kingâ€™s chief cup-bearer spoke up. â€œToday I have been reminded of my failure,â€ he told Pharaoh.Â 10Â â€œSome time ago, you were angry with the chief baker and me, and you imprisoned us in the palace of the captain of the guard.Â 11Â One night the chief baker and I each had a dream, and each dream had its own meaning.Â 12Â There was a young Hebrew man with us in the prison who was a slave of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he told us what each of our dreams meant.Â 13Â And everything happened just as he had predicted. I was restored to my position as cup-bearer, and the chief baker was executed and impaled on a pole.â€
14Â Pharaoh sent for Joseph at once, and he was quickly brought from the prison. After he shaved and changed his clothes, he went in and stood before Pharaoh.Â 15Â Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, â€œI had a dream last night, and no one here can tell me what it means. But I have heard that when you hear about a dream you can interpret it.â€
16Â â€œIt is beyond my power to do this,â€ Joseph replied. â€œBut God can tell you what it means and set you at ease.â€
17Â So Pharaoh told Joseph his dream. â€œIn my dream,â€ he said, â€œI was standing on the bank of the Nile River,Â 18Â and I saw seven fat, healthy cows come up out of the river and begin grazing in the marsh grass.Â 19Â But then I saw seven sick-looking cows, scrawny and thin, come up after them. Iâ€™ve never seen such sorry-looking animals in all the land of Egypt.Â 20Â These thin, scrawny cows ate the seven fat cows.Â 21Â But afterward you wouldnâ€™t have known it, for they were still as thin and scrawny as before! Then I woke up.
22Â â€œThen I fell asleep again, and I had another dream. This time I saw seven heads of grain, full and beautiful, growing on a single stalk.Â 23Â Then seven more heads of grain appeared, but these were blighted, shriveled, and withered by the east wind.24Â And the shriveled heads swallowed the seven healthy heads. I told these dreams to the magicians, but no one could tell me what they mean.â€
25Â Joseph responded, â€œBoth of Pharaohâ€™s dreams mean the same thing. God is telling Pharaoh in advance what he is about to do.Â 26Â The seven healthy cows and the seven healthy heads of grain both represent seven years of prosperity.Â 27Â The seven thin, scrawny cows that came up later and the seven thin heads of grain, withered by the east wind, represent seven years of famine.
28Â â€œThis will happen just as I have described it, for God has revealed to Pharaoh in advance what he is about to do.Â 29Â The next seven years will be a period of great prosperity throughout the land of Egypt.Â 30Â But afterward there will be seven years of famine so great that all the prosperity will be forgotten in Egypt. Famine will destroy the land.Â 31Â This famine will be so severe that even the memory of the good years will be erased.Â 32Â As for having two similar dreams, it means that these events have been decreed by God, and he will soon make them happen.
33Â â€œTherefore, Pharaoh should find an intelligent and wise man and put him in charge of the entire land of Egypt.Â 34Â Then Pharaoh should appoint supervisors over the land and let them collect one-fifth of all the crops during the seven good years.35Â Have them gather all the food produced in the good years that are just ahead and bring it to Pharaohâ€™s storehouses. Store it away, and guard it so there will be food in the cities.Â 36Â That way there will be enough to eat when the seven years of famine come to the land of Egypt. Otherwise this famine will destroy the land.â€
Joseph Made Ruler of Egypt
37Â Josephâ€™s suggestions were well received by Pharaoh and his officials.Â 38Â So Pharaoh asked his officials, â€œCan we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?â€Â 39Â Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, â€œSince God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are.Â 40Â You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne, will have a rank higher than yours.â€
41Â Pharaoh said to Joseph, â€œI hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.â€Â 42Â Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and placed it on Josephâ€™s finger. He dressed him in fine linen clothing and hung a gold chain around his neck.43Â Then he had Joseph ride in the chariot reserved for his second-in-command. And wherever Joseph went, the command was shouted, â€œKneel down!â€ So Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all Egypt.Â 44Â And Pharaoh said to him, â€œI am Pharaoh, but no one will lift a hand or foot in the entire land of Egypt without your approval.â€
45Â Then Pharaoh gave Joseph a new Egyptian name, Zaphenath-paneah.Â He also gave him a wife, whose name was Asenath. She was the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On.Â So Joseph took charge of the entire land of Egypt.Â 46Â He was thirty years old when he began serving in the court of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. And when Joseph left Pharaohâ€™s presence, he inspected the entire land of Egypt.
47Â As predicted, for seven years the land produced bumper crops.Â 48Â During those years, Joseph gathered all the crops grown in Egypt and stored the grain from the surrounding fields in the cities.Â 49Â He piled up huge amounts of grain like sand on the seashore. Finally, he stopped keeping records because there was too much to measure.
50Â During this time, before the first of the famine years, two sons were born to Joseph and his wife, Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On.Â 51Â Joseph named his older son Manasseh,Â for he said, â€œGod has made me forget all my troubles and everyone in my fatherâ€™s family.â€Â 52Â Joseph named his second son Ephraim,Â for he said, â€œGod has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.â€
53Â At last the seven years of bumper crops throughout the land of Egypt came to an end.Â 54Â Then the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had predicted. The famine also struck all the surrounding countries, but throughout Egypt there was plenty of food.Â 55Â Eventually, however, the famine spread throughout the land of Egypt as well. And when the people cried out to Pharaoh for food, he told them, â€œGo to Joseph, and do whatever he tells you.â€Â 56Â So with severe famine everywhere, Joseph opened up the storehouses and distributed grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout the land of Egypt.Â 57Â And people from all around came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph because the famine was severe throughout the world.
Josephâ€™s Brothers Go to Egypt
42Â When Jacob heard that grain was available in Egypt, he said to his sons, â€œWhy are you standing around looking at one another?Â 2Â I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Go down there, and buy enough grain to keep us alive. Otherwise weâ€™ll die.â€
3Â So Josephâ€™s ten older brothers went down to Egypt to buy grain.Â 4Â But Jacob wouldnâ€™t let Josephâ€™s younger brother, Benjamin, go with them, for fear some harm might come to him.Â 5Â So Jacobâ€™sÂ sons arrived in Egypt along with others to buy food, for the famine was in Canaan as well.
6Â Since Joseph was governor of all Egypt and in charge of selling grain to all the people, it was to him that his brothers came. When they arrived, they bowed before him with their faces to the ground.Â 7Â Joseph recognized his brothers instantly, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. â€œWhere are you from?â€ he demanded.
â€œFrom the land of Canaan,â€ they replied. â€œWe have come to buy food.â€
8Â Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they didnâ€™t recognize him.Â 9Â And he remembered the dreams heâ€™d had about them many years before. He said to them, â€œYou are spies! You have come to see how vulnerable our land has become.â€
10Â â€œNo, my lord!â€ they exclaimed. â€œYour servants have simply come to buy food.Â 11Â We are all brothersâ€”members of the same family. We are honest men, sir! We are not spies!â€
12Â â€œYes, you are!â€ Joseph insisted. â€œYou have come to see how vulnerable our land has become.â€
13Â â€œSir,â€ they said, â€œthere are actually twelve of us. We, your servants, are all brothers, sons of a man living in the land of Canaan. Our youngest brother is back there with our father right now, and one of our brothers is no longer with us.â€
14Â But Joseph insisted, â€œAs I said, you are spies!Â 15Â This is how I will test your story. I swear by the life of Pharaoh that you will never leave Egypt unless your youngest brother comes here!Â 16Â One of you must go and get your brother. Iâ€™ll keep the rest of you here in prison. Then weâ€™ll find out whether or not your story is true. By the life of Pharaoh, if it turns out that you donâ€™t have a younger brother, then Iâ€™ll know you are spies.â€
17Â So Joseph put them all in prison for three days.Â 18Â On the third day Joseph said to them, â€œI am a God-fearing man. If you do as I say, you will live.Â 19Â If you really are honest men, choose one of your brothers to remain in prison. The rest of you may go home with grain for your starving families.Â 20Â But you must bring your youngest brother back to me. This will prove that you are telling the truth, and you will not die.â€ To this they agreed.
21Â Speaking among themselves, they said, â€œClearly we are being punished because of what we did to Joseph long ago. We saw his anguish when he pleaded for his life, but we wouldnâ€™t listen. Thatâ€™s why weâ€™re in this trouble.â€
22Â â€œDidnâ€™t I tell you not to sin against the boy?â€ Reuben asked. â€œBut you wouldnâ€™t listen. And now we have to answer for his blood!â€
23Â Of course, they didnâ€™t know that Joseph understood them, for he had been speaking to them through an interpreter.24Â Now he turned away from them and began to weep. When he regained his composure, he spoke to them again. Then he chose Simeon from among them and had him tied up right before their eyes.
25Â Joseph then ordered his servants to fill the menâ€™s sacks with grain, but he also gave secret instructions to return each brotherâ€™s payment at the top of his sack. He also gave them supplies for their journey home.Â 26Â So the brothers loaded their donkeys with the grain and headed for home.
27Â But when they stopped for the night and one of them opened his sack to get grain for his donkey, he found his money in the top of his sack.Â 28Â â€œLook!â€ he exclaimed to his brothers. â€œMy money has been returned; itâ€™s here in my sack!â€ Then their hearts sank. Trembling, they said to each other, â€œWhat has God done to us?â€
29Â When the brothers came to their father, Jacob, in the land of Canaan, they told him everything that had happened to them.Â 30Â â€œThe man who is governor of the land spoke very harshly to us,â€ they told him. â€œHe accused us of being spies scouting the land.Â 31Â But we said, â€˜We are honest men, not spies.Â 32Â We are twelve brothers, sons of one father. One brother is no longer with us, and the youngest is at home with our father in the land of Canaan.â€™
33Â â€œThen the man who is governor of the land told us, â€˜This is how I will find out if you are honest men. Leave one of your brothers here with me, and take grain for your starving families and go on home.Â 34Â But you must bring your youngest brother back to me. Then I will know you are honest men and not spies. Then I will give you back your brother, and you may trade freely in the land.â€™â€
35Â As they emptied out their sacks, there in each manâ€™s sack was the bag of money he had paid for the grain! The brothers and their father were terrified when they saw the bags of money.Â 36Â Jacob exclaimed, â€œYou are robbing me of my children! Joseph is gone! Simeon is gone! And now you want to take Benjamin, too. Everything is going against me!â€
37Â Then Reuben said to his father, â€œYou may kill my two sons if I donâ€™t bring Benjamin back to you. Iâ€™ll be responsible for him, and I promise to bring him back.â€
38Â But Jacob replied, â€œMy son will not go down with you. His brother Joseph is dead, and he is all I have left. If anything should happen to him on your journey, you would send this grieving, white-haired man to his grave.â€