Genesis 40-42

Genesis 40-42

Chapter 40: Joseph Interprets Dreams

After Joseph was thrown into prison, two chiefs of the Pharaoh; the Baker and Butler offended Pharoah and they too were thrown into prison and under the watch of Joseph. While the Butler and the Baker were in the prison, they both dreamed dreams.

They both are sad and Joseph asks them why they were sad, and they both tell him because of their dreams. Joseph then asks them if he could hear them and interpret them.

The Butler’s Dream:

He beheld a vine that had three branches, each of these branches brought forth ripe grapes. The Butler said that in his dream, he had Pharaoh’s cup and he took the grapes and pressed them into the cup and gave the juice to Pharaoh.

Joseph’s Interpretation:

  • The three branches = 3 days until Pharaoh restores him to his position and takes him from the prison.
  • The cup represents his restoration back to his position as Butler.
  • Joseph tells the Butler to make great mention of him, so that he too can be delivered from the prison.

When the Baker sees that the interpretation of the Butler’s dream is good, he asks Joseph to interpret his dream as well.

The Baker’s Dream:

In the dream the Baker had three white baskets on his head (one on top of another) and on the highest one, it was filled with all manner of baked goods for Pharaoh, and birds did not attempt to eat them.

Joseph’s Interpretation:

  • The three baskets = 3 days until Pharaoh lifts up his head and has him hanged on a tree.
  • The birds shall not eat the baked goods, because instead they will eat his flesh.

Three days later; it was the Pharaoh’s birthday and there was great feasts. Just like Joseph had told the Butler and the Baker, Joseph lifted up the Butler and restored him to his former place, and the Baker was hanged. However the chief Butler did not remember Joseph and therefore did not mention him to Pharaoh.

Chapter 41: Joseph: Interpreter/Governor

Two years has passed and Pharaoh has a dream:

In the dream he stood by a river, out of the river came seven well favored kine (cattle) that we fat fleshed, and they went and fed in the meadow. As those kine fed in the meadow, 7 more kine came out from the river, which were ill favoured and lean fleshed. These kine stood by the other kine in the meadow, on the bank of the river. The ill-favored (skinny) kine did eat  the well favored (fat) kine, and this caused Pharaoh to awake from his dream.

Then Pharaoh went back to sleep, and dreamed a second time. In this second dream he sees seven ears of corn that came up on one stalk that were full and good. Then seven thin ears of corn blasted from the east wind after them and did devour the seven full good ears of corn. Pharaoh awakes from his dream.

Pharaoh was troubled because of his dreams and calls to him all the magicians and wise men of the land to come forth and attempt to interpret his dream, but none could. Then the Butler raised his voice and remembered that he had forgotten about Joseph. So Joseph is quickly taken from prison, shaved and given new clothes to go before Pharaoh. Pharaoh explains his dreams one more time to Joseph.

Joseph tells Pharaoh that with God he can interpret his dream and give him peace.

                Joseph’s Interpretation:

  • The two dreams Pharaoh dreamt are one dream.
  • The 7 kine and the 7 ears of corn = 7 years.
  • The 7 thin (empty) ears of corn will be 7 years of famine.
  • There will be 7 years of plenty in the land of Egypt, followed by 7 years of horrible famine, where the plenty shall not be known.
  • The dream was doubled because it will be established by God and God will shortly bring it to pass. (Essentially emphasizing the importance to Pharaoh.
  • Joseph tells Pharaoh that he needs to put someone in charge that is a Godly man to ensure that they gather as much food as possible in one part of Egypt to make sure that they do not perish in the upcoming famine.

                Pharaoh appoints Joseph to this position as Governor of the land, having almost as much power as Pharaoh himself.

Joseph receives many riches, a chariot and a wife by the name of “Asenath”, Pharaoh also calls Jacob “Zaphnath-paaneah”, all at the age of 30.

Joseph begins his work, to collect and store as much food as possible for the upcoming famine. Joseph manages to collect so much food, that they compare it to the sands of the sea… without number. During this time of collection and storage, Joseph fathers two sons; Manasseh and Ephraim.

The major famine comes and all the land goes unto Pharaoh, telling him of their hunger. Joseph opens the store houses and sells them food, surrounding lands also come to Egypt to buy food.

Chapter 42: Joseph’s brothers go to get corn

Joseph’s brothers are sent to Egypt by Jacob/Israel to buy corn. When they go before Joseph, they bow their heads before him and ask for corn. Joseph recognizes his brothers, but his brothers do not recognize Joseph.

Joseph plays with them a little bit and tells them that he thinks their real intentions are spies in the land of Egypt. He takes one of his brothers and throws them in prison and sends the rest of them back to Jacob/Israel to get the other brother.


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