Genesis 41 (ESV)
After two whole years, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing by the Nile, 2 and behold, there came up out of the Nile seven cows, attractive and plump, and they fed in the reed grass. 3 And behold, seven other cows, ugly and thin, came up out of the Nile after them, and stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile. 4 And the ugly, thin cows ate up the seven attractive, plump cows. And Pharaoh awoke. 5 And he fell asleep and dreamed a second time. And behold, seven ears of grain, plump and good, were growing on one stalk. 6 And behold, after them sprouted seven ears, thin and blighted by the east wind. 7 And the thin ears swallowed up the seven plump, full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream. 8 So in the morning his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was none who could interpret them to Pharaoh.
9 Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “I remember my offenses today. 10 When Pharaoh was angry with his servants and put me and the chief baker in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, 11 we dreamed on the same night, he and I, each having a dream with its own interpretation . . . Continue Reading
Glory to God
Genesis 41 continues the story of Joseph a full two years after he correctly interpreted the dreams of the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker (Genesis 40:21-22). Joseph asked the cupbearer and baker to remember him before Pharaoh because he was innocent of any crime and should not be imprisoned. They forgot. But now two years later, after Pharaoh had a dream and could not find an interpreter, the cupbearer remembered Joseph. Based on the testimony of the cupbearer, Pharaoh quickly called in Joseph because he correctly interpreted the dreams of both the cupbearer and the chief baker.
It’s interesting to note that when they “quickly brought him out of the pit”, he didn’t go directly to Pharaoh but instead “shaved himself and changed his clothes” (Genesis 41:14). I think it’s safe to assume the prisons in Egypt were not equipped with the modern amenities of today’s prisons – especially those in America.
So after Joseph gets cleaned up, he goes before Pharaoh who tells him why he is there. Pharaoh said, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it” (Genesis 41:15). I’m sure Joseph was thankful the cupbearer remembered him even if it was two years later. God’s timing, right?
Joseph’s initial response in Genesis 41:16 is astonishing. He said to Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” Then after hearing Pharaoh’s dreams of seven thin and ugly cows eating seven plump and attractive cows then seven withered and thin cows swallowing up seven good ears (Genesis 1:41:17-24), Joseph interprets his dreams and tells Pharaoh that they are actually one dream and after seven years of plenty, there will come seven years of famine so severe that the people of Egypt will not even remember the abundant years. He also told him that the doubling of his dream means that it’s “fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about” (Genesis 41:32).
He then gives Pharaoh instructions on what to do. “Now therefore let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh proceed to appoint overseers over the land and take one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven plentiful years. 35 And let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. 36 That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine” (Genesis 41:33-36).
Pharaoh response is possibly more astonishing than Joseph’s. Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” Then he said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.” He also said, You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.”
Just as Joseph had interpreted, there were seven years of abundance. During these years, he stored up all the grain in every city in preparation for the famine. He also started a family with Asenath and had two sons named Manassah and Ephraim. After the seven plentiful years, there were now seven years of famine that spread over all the land. After storing up the grain from the abundant years, he opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians as well as “all the earth” who came to Joseph to buy grain during the famine.
What an amazing story of faith, restoration and provision – but more importantly, that God received the glory not only from Joseph (Genesis 41:16) but also from Pharaoh who recognized the Spirit of God was with Joseph (Genesis 41:38).
Father, be glorified in my life so that as I serve, people don’t see me but only you and bring glory to your Name. Amen.
Thank you for reading my daily online journal today. Far from commentaries these are just my initial thoughts after reflecting on what I’ve read from a chapter in God’s Word each morning. This not only helps me apply what I’ve read because I’m reflecting and sharing instead of only reading but it also allows me to encourage others to prayerfully consider doing the same.
In His Care,