Genesis 41-42 Revised Standard Version

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Joseph Interprets Pharaoh's Dream

41 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 sleek and fat, and they fed in the reed grass. 3  And behold, seven other cows, gaunt 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 gaunt and thin cows ate up the seven sleek and fat 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 and 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; and Pharaoh told them his dream, but there was none who could interpret it to Pharaoh.

9  Then the chief butler said to Pharaoh, "I remember my faults 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 meaning. 12  A young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard; and when we told him, he interpreted our dreams to us, giving an interpretation to each man according to his dream. 13  And as he interpreted to us, so it came to pass; I was restored to my office, and the baker was hanged." 14  Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon; and when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came in before Pharaoh. 15  And Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it; and I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it." 16  Joseph answered Pharaoh, "It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer."

17  Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Behold, in my dream I was standing on the banks of the Nile; 18  and seven cows, fat and sleek, came up out of the Nile and fed in the reed grass; 19  and seven other cows came up after them, poor and very gaunt and thin, such as I had never seen in all the land of Egypt. 20  And the thin and gaunt cows ate up the first seven fat cows, 21  but when they had eaten them no one would have known that they had eaten them, for they were still as gaunt as at the beginning. Then I awoke. 22  I also saw in my dream seven ears growing on one stalk, full and good; 23  and seven ears, withered, thin, and blighted by the east wind, sprouted after them, 24  and the thin ears swallowed up the seven good ears. And I told it to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me." 25  Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, "The dream of Pharaoh is one; God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26  The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are seven years; the dream is one. 27  The seven lean and gaunt cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty ears blighted by the east wind are also seven years of famine. 28  It is as I told Pharaoh, God has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29  There will come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt, 30  but after them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt; the famine will consume the land, 31  and the plenty will be unknown in the land by reason of that famine which will follow, for it will be very grievous. 32  And the doubling of Pharaoh's dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.

33  Now therefore let Pharaoh select a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34  Let Pharaoh proceed to appoint overseers over the land, and take the fifth part of the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven plenteous years. 35  And let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming, and lay 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 which are to befall the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine."

Joseph Made Ruler over Egypt

37  This proposal seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his servants. 38  And Pharaoh said to his servants, "Can we find such a man as this, in whom is the Spirit of God?" 39  So Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discreet 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." 41  And Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Behold, I have set you over all the land of Egypt." 42  Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in garments of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; 43  and he made him to ride in his second chariot; and they cried before him, "Bow the knee!" Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. 44  Moreover Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no man shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt." 45  And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaph'enath-pane'ah; and he gave him in marriage As'enath, the daughter of Poti'phera priest of On. So Joseph went out over the land of Egypt.

46  Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went through all the land of Egypt. 47  During the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth abundantly, 48  and he gathered up all the food of the seven years when there was plenty in the land of Egypt, and stored up food in the cities; he stored up in every city the food from the fields around it. 49  And Joseph stored up grain in great abundance, like the sand of the sea, until he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured. 50  Before the year of famine came, Joseph had two sons, whom As'enath, the daughter of Poti'phera priest of On, bore to him. 51  Joseph called the name of the first-born Manas'seh, "For," he said, "God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father's house." 52  The name of the second he called E'phraim, "For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction." 53  The seven years of plenty that prevailed in the land of Egypt came to an end; 54  and the seven years of famine began to come, as Joseph had said. There was famine in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. 55  When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread; and Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, "Go to Joseph; what he says to you, do." 56  So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57  Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.

Joseph's Brethren Come to Egypt for Grain

42 When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, "Why do you look at one another?" 2  And he said, "Behold, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live, and not die." 3  So ten of Joseph's brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. 4  But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph's brother, with his brothers, for he feared that harm might befall him. 5  Thus the sons of Israel came to buy among the others who came, for the famine was in the land of Canaan. 6  Now Joseph was governor over the land; he it was who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph's brothers came, and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground.

7  Joseph saw his brothers, and knew them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke roughly to them. "Where do you come from?" he said. They said, "From the land of Canaan, to buy food." 8  Thus Joseph knew his brothers, but they did not know him. 9  And Joseph remembered the dreams which he had dreamed of them; and he said to them, "You are spies, you have come to see the weakness of the land." 10  They said to him, "No, my lord, but to buy food have your servants come. 11  We are all sons of one man, we are honest men, your servants are not spies." 12  He said to them, "No, it is the weakness of the land that you have come to see." 13  And they said, "We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is no more." 14  But Joseph said to them, "It is as I said to you, you are spies. 15  By this you shall be tested: by the life of Pharaoh, you shall not go from this place unless your youngest brother comes here. 16  Send one of you, and let him bring your brother, while you remain in prison, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you; or else, by the life of Pharaoh, surely you are spies." 17  And he put them all together in prison for three days. 18  On the third day Joseph said to them, "Do this and you will live, for I fear God: 19  if you are honest men, let one of your brothers remain confined in your prison, and let the rest go and carry grain for the famine of your households, 20  and bring your youngest brother to me; so your words will be verified, and you shall not die." And they did so.

21  Then they said to one another, "In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he besought us and we would not listen; therefore is this distress come upon us." 22  And Reuben answered them, "Did I not tell you not to sin against the lad? But you would not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood." 23  They did not know that Joseph understood them, for there was an interpreter between them. 24  Then he turned away from them and wept; and he returned to them and spoke to them. And he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes. 25  And Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, and to replace every man's money in his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. This was done for them. 26  Then they loaded their asses with their grain, and departed. 27  And as one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender at the lodging place, he saw his money in the mouth of his sack; 28  and he said to his brothers, "My money has been put back; here it is in the mouth of my sack!" At this their hearts failed them, and they turned trembling to one another, saying, "What is this that God has done to us?"

29  When they came to Jacob their father in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had befallen them, saying, 30  "The man, the lord of the land, spoke roughly to us, and took us to be spies of the land. 31  But we said to him, 'We are honest men, we are not spies; 32  we are twelve brothers, sons of our father; one is no more, and the youngest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan.' 33  Then the man, the lord of the land, said to us, 'By this I shall know that you are honest men: leave one of your brothers with me, and take grain for the famine of your households, and go your way. 34  Bring your youngest brother to me; then I shall know that you are not spies but honest men, and I will deliver to you your brother, and you shall trade in the land.'" 35  As they emptied their sacks, behold, every man's bundle of money was in his sack; and when they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were dismayed. 36  And Jacob their father said to them, "You have bereaved me of my children: Joseph is no more, and Simeon is no more, and now you would take Benjamin; all this has come upon me." 37  Then Reuben said to his father, "Slay my two sons if I do not bring him back to you; put him in my hands, and I will bring him back to you." 38  But he said, "My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he only is left. If harm should befall him on the journey that you are to make, you would bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol."

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