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Genesis 41 Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV)

Pharaoh’s Dreams

41 At the end of two full years Pharaoh also had a dream. In the dream he was standing beside the river. There, right in front of him, seven beautiful, fat cows came up out of the river and were grazing in the marsh grass. Just then seven ugly, thin cows came up out of the river behind them, and they stood beside the other cows on the bank of the river. The ugly, thin cows ate up the seven beautiful, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.

Pharaoh fell asleep again and dreamed a second time. He saw seven healthy, good heads of grain come up on one stalk. Right after that, seven thin heads of grain, blasted by the east wind, sprang up after them. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Pharaoh woke up and realized that it was a dream. The next morning he was very troubled, so he sent for all of Egypt’s magicians[a] and wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them for Pharaoh.

Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I remember my faults. 10 Pharaoh was angry with his servants and put me in custody in the house of the captain of the guard—me and the chief baker. 11 We each had a dream during the same night—he and I. Each of us dreamed a dream that had its own interpretation. 12 There was a young man with us, a Hebrew, a servant to the captain of the guard, and we told him our dreams, and he interpreted our dreams for us. To each man he gave the interpretation of his dream. 13 It turned out exactly as he interpreted them for us. Pharaoh restored me to my office but hanged the chief baker.”

14 Then Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon. Joseph shaved, changed his clothing, and went to Pharaoh.

15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said about you, that when you hear a dream, you can interpret it.”

16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in my power. God will give Pharaoh an answer to give him peace of mind.”

17 Pharaoh spoke to Joseph: “In my dream, there I was, standing on the bank of the river. 18 Suddenly seven fat, beautiful cows came up out of the river and were grazing in the marsh grass. 19 Just then seven poor cattle, very ugly and thin, came up after them. They were uglier than any I had ever seen in the whole land of Egypt. 20 The thin, ugly cattle ate up the first seven cattle, the fat ones, 21 and when they had eaten them up, you could not even tell that they had eaten them, because they were still as ugly as they were at the beginning. Then I woke up.

22 “Later I had another dream, in which I saw seven heads of grain grow on one stalk. They were full and good. 23 Then I saw seven heads of grain spring up after them. They were withered, thin, and blasted by the east wind. 24 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads of grain. I told the dream to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me.”

25 Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dream of Pharaoh is one. God has declared to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26 The seven good cattle are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years. It is one dream. 27 The seven thin, ugly cattle that came up after them are seven years, and also the seven empty heads of grain blasted by the east wind. They will be seven years of famine. 28 This is the very thing that I told Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29 Look, seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the whole land of Egypt. 30 Seven years of famine will come up after them, and all the abundance in the land of Egypt will be forgotten. The famine will consume the land, 31 and the abundance will not be remembered in the land because of the famine that follows, for it will be very severe. 32 The double dream was shown to Pharaoh, because this matter is established by God, and God will bring it to pass very soon.”

Joseph Comes to Power

33 “Let Pharaoh, therefore, look for a man who is wise and discerning, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34 When Pharaoh does this, let him appoint overseers over the land to collect one fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35 Let them collect all this food from these good years that are coming. Accumulate grain under the authority of Pharaoh to provide food for the cities, and let them store it. 36 The food will be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that will take place in the land of Egypt so that the land does not perish because of the famine.”

37 The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials. 38 Pharaoh said to his officials, “Can we find anyone else like this man, a man who has the spirit of God?”

39 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Because God has shown you all of this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you are. 40 You shall be in charge of my house, and all my people will submit to your word. Only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” 41 Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “Look, I have appointed you over the whole land of Egypt.”

42 Pharaoh took his signet ring off of his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand. He dressed Joseph in robes made from the best linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had him ride in the second best chariot that he had. Men went ahead of him crying out, “Kneel down!”[b] Pharaoh appointed him over the whole land of Egypt. 44 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but in the whole land of Egypt no one will lift up his hand or his foot without your permission.” 45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath Paneah, and he gave him Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, as a wife. Joseph went out and began to rule over the land of Egypt.

46 Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and traveled throughout the whole land of Egypt. 47 During the seven years of abundance the earth produced plentiful harvests. 48 He collected all the food during the seven good years in the land of Egypt, and he stored up the food in the cities. In every city he stored the food from the fields that were around the city. 49 Joseph stored up a huge amount of grain, like the sand of the sea. Finally he stopped keeping track, because it was too much to measure.

50 Two sons were born to Joseph before the first year of famine arrived. Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, gave birth to them. 51 Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, because he said, “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s house.”[c] 52 He named the second son Ephraim. He said, “Yes, God has made me fruitful in the land where I was afflicted.”[d]

53 So the seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt came to an end. 54 The seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in every land, but in the whole land of Egypt there was bread. 55 When the whole land of Egypt was starving, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, and Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. Do whatever he tells you.” 56 The famine spread over the face of the whole earth. Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians. The famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57 The whole world came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, because the famine was severe all over the whole world.


  1. Genesis 41:8 Or omen-readers
  2. Genesis 41:43 The meaning of the term is uncertain.
  3. Genesis 41:51 Manasseh sounds like the Hebrew for forget.
  4. Genesis 41:52 Ephraim sounds like the Hebrew for twice fruitful.
Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV)

The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version®, EHV®, © 2019 Wartburg Project, Inc. All rights reserved.


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