(Gen 41:1 NASB) Now it happened at the end of two full years that Pharaoh had a dream, and behold, he was standing by the Nile.

Gen 41:1:            This is the end of two full years since the release of the cupbearer. The events here might have occurred on the birthday of Pharaoh once again.


(Gen 41:2 NASB) And lo, from the Nile there came up seven cows, sleek and fat; and they grazed in the marsh grass.

(Gen 41:3 NASB) Then behold, seven other cows came up after them from the Nile, ugly and gaunt, and they stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile.

(Gen 41:4 NASB) And the ugly and gaunt cows ate up the seven sleek and fat cows. Then Pharaoh awoke.

Gen 41:4:            Pharaoh had a dream about cows coming out of the river. It was common for cows to stand in the river during the heat of the summer. Seven cows came out of the river that were healthy looking and fat. Seven cows followed them out of the river that were skinny and ugly. The ugly skinny cows ate up the seven fine-looking ones.


(Gen 41:5 NASB) And he fell asleep and dreamed a second time; and behold, seven ears of grain came up on a single stalk, plump and good.

(Gen 41:6 NASB) Then behold, seven ears, thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouted up after them.

(Gen 41:7 NASB) And the thin ears swallowed up the seven plump and full ears. Then Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream.

Gen 41:7:            Pharaoh has a second dream apparently that same night. He dreamed that seven heads of grain came up on one stalk and the heads of grain were plump and good. Then seven heads of thin grain that were blighted by the east wind sprang up and devoured the seven good heads of grain.

This dream appeared to be very real to Pharaoh. He woke up realizing it was just a dream.

Keep in mind that these dreams that helped shape the events in Joseph’s life always occurred in twos. The dreams established matters and according to Torah, that must be done with two or more witnesses.

The misfortunes of Joseph began and ended with these dreams.


(Gen 41:8 NASB) Now it came about in the morning that his spirit was troubled, so he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all its wise men. And Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them to Pharaoh.

Gen 41:8:            Pharaoh was disturbed by the dreams. Apparently Elohim impressed upon his heart that there was an urgent national significance to these dreams.

Pharaoh called for all his magicians and none could give him a satisfactory explanation. His so-called magicians were probably glorified “yes-men” that told Pharaoh how wonderful he was. He knew that wasn’t the interpretation of these dreams. He was looking for someone who could give significance to the nation in connection to these dreams.


(Gen 41:9 NASB) Then the chief cupbearer spoke to Pharaoh, saying, “I would make mention today of my own offenses.

(Gen 41:10 NASB) “Pharaoh was furious with his servants, and he put me in confinement in the house of the captain of the bodyguard, both me and the chief baker.

(Gen 41:11 NASB) “And we had a dream on the same night, he and I; each of us dreamed according to the interpretation of his own dream.

Gen 41:11:         All of the sudden, the cupbearer remembers Joseph. It seems somewhat strange that he finally remembers Joseph when it might make him look good to do so.


(Gen 41:12 NASB) “Now a Hebrew youth was with us there, a servant of the captain of the bodyguard, and we related them to him, and he interpreted our dreams for us. To each one he interpreted according to his own dream.

(Gen 41:13 NASB) “And it came about that just as he interpreted for us, so it happened; he restored me in my office, but he hanged him.”

Gen 41:13:         The cupbearer recounts his encounter with the young Hebrew man. It is strange that the cupbearer is speaking of Pharaoh in the third person as if he weren’t there.


(Gen 41:14 NASB) Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph, and they hurriedly brought him out of the dungeon; and when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came to Pharaoh.

Gen 41:14:         There are six verbs in this verse indicate that these things took place quickly. Joseph had to be cleaned up before he could meet with Pharaoh.


(Gen 41:15 NASB) And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, but no one can interpret it; and I have heard it said about you, that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”

(Gen 41:16 NASB) Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”

Gen 41:16:         Joseph, like Daniel who will later be held in captivity in Babylon, will not take credit for being able to interpret dreams. He gives Elohim all the credit.


(Gen 41:17 NASB) So Pharaoh spoke to Joseph, “In my dream, behold, I was standing on the bank of the Nile;

(Gen 41:18 NASB) and behold, seven cows, fat and sleek came up out of the Nile; and they grazed in the marsh grass.

(Gen 41:19 NASB) “And lo, seven other cows came up after them, poor and very ugly and gaunt, such as I had never seen for ugliness in all the land of Egypt;

(Gen 41:20 NASB) and the lean and ugly cows ate up the first seven fat cows.

(Gen 41:21 NASB) “Yet when they had devoured them, it could not be detected that they had devoured them; for they were just as ugly as before. Then I awoke.

Gen 41:21:         Pharaoh tells the dream to Joseph. He tells him that the second set of cows is the ugliest he had ever seen.


(Gen 41:22 NASB) “I saw also in my dream, and behold, seven ears, full and good, came up on a single stalk;

(Gen 41:23 NASB) and lo, seven ears, withered, thin, and scorched by the east wind, sprouted up after them;

(Gen 41:24 NASB) and the thin ears swallowed the seven good ears. Then I told it to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me.”

Gen 41:24:         Pharaoh did not receive a satisfactory explanation from his magicians.


(Gen 41:25 NASB) Now Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s dreams are one and the same; God has told to Pharaoh what He is about to do.

(Gen 41:26 NASB) “The seven good cows are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years; the dreams are one and the same.

(Gen 41:27 NASB) “And the seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven thin ears scorched by the east wind shall be seven years of famine.

(Gen 41:28 NASB) “It is as I have spoken to Pharaoh: God has shown to Pharaoh what He is about to do.

Gen 41:28:         Joseph says these dreams say that Elohim has shown Pharaoh what He is going to do. The seven fat cows and seven good heads are seven good years of food. The seven skinny, ugly cows and seven thin heads are seven years of famine.


(Gen 41:29 NASB) “Behold, seven years of great abundance are coming in all the land of Egypt;

(Gen 41:30 NASB) and after them seven years of famine will come, and all the abundance will be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine will ravage the land.

(Gen 41:31 NASB) “So the abundance will be unknown in the land because of that subsequent famine; for it will be very severe.

Gen 41:31:         Joseph says that years of famine will be so severe that the seven years of plenty will be forgotten.

Egypt does not depend on rain as much as it depends on the Nile. The Nile overflows annually and floods the land. The extent of the flooding determines how much farmland is going to be fertile. Apparently the last seven years will have very little overflowing.


(Gen 41:32 NASB) “Now as for the repeating of the dream to Pharaoh twice, it means that the matter is determined by God, and God will quickly bring it about.

Gen 41:32:         Why was the dream repeated twice? Because that is how Elohim establishes a matter. He does it according to His Torah (Deut. 19:15). This has been explained by Yeshua to apply to all matters (Matt. 18:15-17).


(Gen 41:33 NASB) “And now let Pharaoh look for a man discerning and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt.

(Gen 41:34 NASB) “Let Pharaoh take action to appoint overseers in charge of the land, and let him exact a fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven years of abundance.

Gen 41:34:         Joseph gives some unsolicited advice to Pharaoh. He recommends three things: For Pharaoh to appoint someone as a national commissioner, to appoint regional overseers, and to institute urban grain storage.


(Gen 41:35 NASB) “Then let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming, and store up the grain for food in the cities under Pharaoh’s authority, and let them guard it.

(Gen 41:36 NASB) “And let the food become as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which will occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish during the famine.”

Gen 41:36:         The food will be stockpiled during the seven plentiful years to prepare for the famine.


(Gen 41:37 NASB) Now the proposal seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his servants.

(Gen 41:38 NASB) Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?”

(Gen 41:39 NASB) So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are.

(Gen 41:40 NASB) “You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you.”

Gen 41:40:         The whole household of Pharaoh agreed that the advice was good. Joseph was made prime minister, second only to Pharaoh.


(Gen 41:41 NASB) And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”

(Gen 41:42 NASB) Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand, and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen, and put the gold necklace around his neck.

(Gen 41:43 NASB) And he had him ride in his second chariot; and they proclaimed before him, “Bow the knee!” And he set him over all the land of Egypt.

Gen 41:43:        Pharaoh gave Joseph his signet ring. Joseph had the authority to make law and buy and sell land and anything else in the kingdom


(Gen 41:44 NASB) Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Though I am Pharaoh, yet without your permission no one shall raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”

(Gen 41:45 NASB) Then Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, as his wife. And Joseph went forth over the land of Egypt.

(Gen 41:46 NASB) Now Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh, king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went through all the land of Egypt.

Gen 41:46:         Pharaoh gave him absolute power in Egypt only under him. Zaphnath-Paaneah which in Coptic signifies a revealer of secrets, or, the man to whom secrets are revealed.


(Gen 41:47 NASB) And during the seven years of plenty the land brought forth abundantly.

(Gen 41:48 NASB) So he gathered all the food of these seven years which occurred in the land of Egypt, and placed the food in the cities; he placed in every city the food from its own surrounding fields.

(Gen 41:49 NASB) Thus Joseph stored up grain in great abundance like the sand of the sea, until he stopped measuring it, for it was beyond measure.

Gen 41:49:         The years of plenty were so plenty, the abundance from the land couldn’t even be counted.


(Gen 41:50 NASB) Now before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore to him.

(Gen 41:51 NASB) And Joseph named the first-born Manasseh, “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.”

Gen 41:51:         Manasseh means “one who causes to forget” (e.g., Joseph’s trials in Egypt).


(Gen 41:52 NASB) And he named the second Ephraim, “For,” he said, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”

Gen 41:52:         Ephraim mean “fruitful.”


(Gen 41:53 NASB) When the seven years of plenty which had been in the land of Egypt came to an end,

(Gen 41:54 NASB) and the seven years of famine began to come, just as Joseph had said, then there was famine in all the lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread.

(Gen 41:55 NASB) So when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried out to Pharaoh for bread; and Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph; whatever he says to you, you shall do.”

Gen 41:55:         We see that Joseph is a picture of Messiah. Pharaoh tells the people of Joseph, “Whatever he says to you, you do.” This is reminiscent of what Mary said to the servants about her Son, Yeshua (John 2:5).


(Gen 41:56 NASB) When the famine was spread over all the face of the earth, then Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold to the Egyptians; and the famine was severe in the land of Egypt.

(Gen 41:57 NASB) And the people of all the earth came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe in all the earth.

Gen 41:57:         Elohim used Joseph in a mighty way.

Patrick McGuire

Copyright 2014
Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly
All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews.
Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly
Fort Smith, Arkansas

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