Genesis 41

Genesis 41 – Pharaoh’s Dream

Two years have passed. One night the Pharaoh has a dream explained as; He is standing by the river and seven nice fat cows come out of the river and graze in the meadow. Seven more cows, these skinny and ill favored, come out of the river and eat the first seven.

Another dream; Seven nice ears of corn grow on one stalk but then seven bad ears grow and kill the first set.


The Pharaoh is troubled by the dreams so he called for the ‘magicians’ of Egypt for anyone to interpret the dream. It says none could interpret them, but I doubt there weren’t any interpretations given. I think it is more likely that there were no interpretations given that the Pharaoh accepted.

The butler then remembers that he never told anyone of Joseph like he’d been asked to. He reminds the Pharaoh of the time he was mad at his servants and placed the baker and himself in jail with a Hebrew slave. He explained that the interpretations of their two dreams came true when he returned the butler to his job and hanged the baker.

The Pharaoh called for Joseph and after he cleaned himself up Joseph met with the Pharaoh.

Pharaoh explains that noone had been able to interpret his dream and he had heard of Joseph’s talent. v.17-24 Pharaoh recounts his dreams, again.

Joseph interprets them by explaining that god has shown Pharaoh what is going to happen in the future, that there will be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. He says it was given twice because it was to happen soon. He tells the Pharaoh that he should find a wise man he would set up to store a fifth of the harvests during the first seven years to save for the seven years of famine.

This interpretation was well recieved by the Pharaoh and his servants. The Pharaoh says none would be as wise as Joseph and he wants to have Joseph oversee the project. Basically the Pharaoh puts Joseph as the number two person over the land and the people, they even had to bow before Joseph.

v.45, Pharaoh renames Joseph Zaphnathpaaneah (say that seven times fast) and gave him a wife, Asenath. Strangely Asenath’s father was a priest to On, I wonder if Joseph had a problem with his father-in-law, and possibly his wife, worshipping a different god than he did.

It says Joseph was 30 when he interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh and was placed in second in command of all of Egypt. Throughout the seven years of plenty Joseph oversaw the gathering and storing of the goods. During these seven years Joseph fathered two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.

v.53, The seven years of plenty were over.

The seven years of death and famine began and it was in all the lands but Egypt was spared because of the preparation by Joseph. Joseph opened the storehouses of Egypt to all the people who came to buy.

This is the first mention of the famine affecting the entire world, it seemed before that the famine and plenty were only to affect Egypt. First it is hard to imagine a famine that spread over the entire world and only the Egyptians thought to store some of it. Secondly, it is hard to imagine that a divine being who cares for all of his creatures would only save one country’s people.

The idea of an all loving and caring deity watching over us that I was taught while growing up just isn’t coming through to me in these stories and we are still only in the first book.


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Posted on October 6, 2013, in Genesis. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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