A Prisoner Who Became A Mighty Ruler
Two years later pharaoh had a dream: as he stood by the river Nile, he saw coming up from the water seven cows, well fed and fat, for they had been feeding in the river grass. Then seven other cows came up after them out of the Nile, poorly fed and thin, and they stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile. The poorly fed, lean cows ate up the seven well-fed, fat cows. Then Pharaoh awoke.
Afterward he slept and had a second dream and saw seven ears, plump and good, growing up on one stalk. Also seven ears, thin and withered by the east wind, grew up after them. The thin ears swallowed up the seven plump, full ears. Then Pharaoh awoke, and knew that it was only a dream.
In the morning Pharaoh was worried. So he sent for all the magicians and wise men of egypt and told them his dreams; but no one could tell him what they meant.
Then the chief butler said to Pharaoh, “I now remember my sins: Pharaoh was very angry with his servants and put me and the chief baker in prison in the house of the captain of the guard. We both had dreams the same night, each with a different meaning. There was also with us a young Hebrew, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams and he told each of us what our dreams meant. And our dreams came true just as he said they would: I was restored to my office, but the chief baker was hanged.”
Then Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and they quickly brought him out of the dungeon; and he shaved his face, changed his clothes, and came to Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can tell what it means. Now I have heard that when you hear a dream, you can tell what it means.” Joseph answered Pharaoh, “Not I; God alone can give Pharaoh a true answer.”
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream as I stood on the bank of the Nile, I saw seven cows, fat and well fed, which had been feeding in the river grass. There came up after them seven more cows, poorly fed and thin, worse than I ever saw in all the land of Egypt; and the lean and poorly fed cows ate up the first seven fat cows. When they had eaten them up, one could not tell that they had eaten them, for they were still as thin as at the beginning. Then I awoke.
“Again I dreamed and saw seven ears, plump and good, grow up on one stalk; then seven thin ears, withered with the east wind, sprang up after them; and the thin ears swallowed up the seven good ears. I have told the dream to the magicians, but there is no one who can tell me what it means.”
Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s two dreams mean the same thing; God has made known to Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are seven years. It is one dream. The seven lean and poorly fed cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty ears withered with the east wind mean seven years of famine. That is why I said to Pharaoh, ‘God has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do.’ Seven years of great plenty all through the land of Egypt are coming. They shall be followed by seven years of famine, so that all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will use up all that the land produces; and plenty will not be known in the land because of that famine which follows, for it will be very severe.
“The dream came twice to Pharaoh to show that the famine will surely come, and that God will soon make the dream come true. Now therefore let Pharaoh pick out a man who is sensible and wise and place him in charge of the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh act quickly and put overseers over the land and collect one-fifth of all that grows in the land of Egypt in the seven years of plenty. Let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh, and let them hold it in the cities for food. The food will supply the land during the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, so that the people of the land may not die because of the famine.”
The plan pleased Pharaoh and all his people; and he said to his people, “Can we find one like this, a man in whom is the spirit of God?” So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “As God has shown you all this, there is no one so sensible and wise as you. You shall be at the head of my country, and all my people shall be ruled as you command. Only on the throne I will be above you.”
So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have placed you over all the land of Egypt.” And Pharaoh took off his signet-ring from his finger and put it upon Joseph’s finger and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a golden collar about his neck. He also made him ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, “Attention!” So he placed him over all the land of Egypt. Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your consent no man shall lift up his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt.” Pharaoh gave him as a wife Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera. And Joseph was thirty years old when he was made the ruler of the land of Egypt.
In the seven years of plenty there were large harvests, and Joseph gathered up all the food of the seven years of plenty, which were in the land of Egypt, and stored the food in the cities, putting in each city the food that grew in the fields about it. Joseph stored up grain as the sand of the sea, in great quantities, until he no longer kept account, because it could not be measured.
When the seven years of plenty in the land of Egypt were over, the seven years of famine began, as Joseph had said. There was famine in all lands, but all through the land of Egypt there was food, for when all the land of Egypt was hungry, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, and Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.” So when the famine was over all the country, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold food to the Egyptians: but the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. The peoples of all lands came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, for everywhere the famine was severe.
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