Genesis Segment 27 (41:1-57)

Gen 41:1 And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river.

Sometimes we must wait on God. God works through men so sometimes it takes time to set up the right conditions for His answer to come. Joseph probably tired of waiting, but he was patient. I have no doubt that Joseph prayed daily or more often for deliverance. Wouldn’t you cry daily or more often for deliverance from prison if you were falsely accused? Yet his faith held.

I have recently experienced having to wait on God for deliverance. I have prayed daily. Yet, even though I know that God will come through, I tire of waiting. Yet because of the knowledge that God is working and in due time He will act, I am patient. My faith holds.

Let us not leave out the fact that God allows us to go through trials for our edification, learning, maturing, and to build patience. There were probably a lesson or two Joseph had to learn during this time as well. So not only did circumstances need to be right for Joseph’s deliverance, but Joseph had to learn what God was teaching him as well. Therefore, in the fullness of time, God moved. We all have lessons to learn, some of which are quite difficult. Joseph had no monopoly on that.

The commentary on the actual identity of this Pharaoh actually was is not very clear. Some call him Aphophis, the first of the Hyksos kings. Others say he was Rian ben Walid, which means something like “little prince, son of the benefactor”. Bishop Ussher said he was Mephramuthosis. Some say he was Djoser, a 3rd Dynasty king that lived during a time of seven years of plenty and then seven years of famine. Djoser had a dream about the feast and famine. Djoser’s vizier, or prime minister, was named Imhotep. Imhotep, deified later in Egyptian lore, may have been Joseph. These things are inscribed upon a rock, known as the Famine Stele, on the island of Sehel. But all these things have yet to be completely sorted out, so we will leave them as theories. Ron Wyatt delved into these things before his death. Modern archaeologists and Egyptologists disdain the work done by Wyatt. I must admit to being intrigued by his work. To find his studies, search for Wyatt articles using key words like Ron Wyatt, Wyatt newsletters, Wyatt museum, Wyatt Archaeological Research, etc. Other writers agree that Imhotep was Joseph. For example, see the work of Immanuel Velikovsky and of Emmet Sweeney.

Pharaoh had a vivid dream, awoke, and had another. In this first dream, he was by the River. It was the probably the Nile, but perhaps it was a canal of the Nile. Just as the Mesopotamian civilization thrived along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the Egyptian civilization thrived along the Nile. It was the source of water, and the source of irrigation for crops that kept the people alive. It was the source of life; without it, people would never have been able to live there much less build a great civilization there. It is important to understand this, and that is one of the reasons Pharaoh attached much significance to his dreams.

Gen 41:2 And, behold, there came up out of the river seven well favored kine and fatfleshed; and they fed in a meadow.

Seven fat and fit cows were grazing in a field, which indicated that it was lush with grass. They were healthy and attractive cattle. They were standing in the river or canal, and they walked onto land to graze. This is a picture I have seen myself. Cattle will wade into a body of water (lake, river, creek, etc.) and drink, then walk out and graze. It is a picture of well-being and contentment.

Gen 41:3 And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill favored and leanfleshed; and stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river.

This is an incongruous picture. Seven healthy beasts ascend out of the water followed by seven sickly beasts, which were skin and bone. I have seen sickly cows that looked neglected because careless cattle owners will turn their cows into a field and forget about them, leaving them to fend for themselves. They become thin and gaunt very quickly. These cattle looked like neglected cattle. They herded with the other cattle. Now we have seven healthy cows along side of seven sickly cows. But note that the healthy cows ascended first.

Gen 41:4 And the ill favored and leanfleshed kine did eat up the seven well favored and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke.

Cows are not carnivores. They will not eat their own. This was a weird dream that was so vivid and distressing, that Pharaoh awoke. Put yourself in his place. I have awakened to a distressing dream in the middle of the night. It is dark, and it is lonely because everyone is asleep. This adds to the mystery and eeriness of the dream. When we awake from a dream in the morning when the sun is up, the dream is much less vivid and much less likely to affect our emotions as a nightmare in the middle of the night. Of course, the king had his servants and bodyguards nearby so if he was frightened he could have called them.

Gen 41:5 And he slept and dreamed the second time: and, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good.

Apparently, he was not too upset to return to sleep. Here is a twist on the story. Seven ears grew on a stalk. Rank means firm, fat, or plenteous so these were good ears and full of kernels. In the KJV, and outside the USA, Australia and Canada, the word ‘corn’ is used for grain of most any type. Therefore, this could have been wheat, barley, sorghum, or several other crops. Corn, specifically maize, is a species from the Americas not available at the time of this dream. Corn did not enter the old world until the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries AD; hence, these ears were not the corn (only in the USA, Canada and Australia; maize elsewhere) we are familiar with into day. The grain here was most likely barley, a staple in ancient Egypt.

Gen 41:6-7 And, behold, seven thin ears and blasted with the east wind sprung up after them. (7) And the seven thin ears devoured the seven rank and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream.

Geographically speaking, an east wind blows upon Egypt from the desert, making the wind hot and dry. It is comparable to our Santa Ana winds that blow down the slopes to the California valley from the east. It is a hot, dry wind and it causes many forest fires. This east wind in Pharaoh’s dream completely dried out and decimated the unhealthy corn and the thin ears ate the fat ears. Since grain of any kind gets its sustenance from the soil, and not be being carnivorous or herbivorous, it cannot really eat other ears of grain, so it is not real. It is surreal, however, because it is a union of the real (ears of grain) and the unreal (ears of grain eating or otherwise devouring other ears). Being surreal, it must be symbolic. Since it was a dream, real, unreal, and surreal things might occur.

Gen 41:8 And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh.

Consider this passage in the light of the passages dealing with Pharaoh and his sorcerers in Moses’ day. There the wise men, sorcerers, and magicians were able to duplicate some of the signs done by Moses, such as turning rods into serpents, and water to blood (by sleight of hand, I might add).

But in this passage, the Pharaoh’s advisors could not interpret the dreams. Recall also that several hundred years later, Nebuchadnezzar was going to have all his wise men killed because they could not interpret his dream. We find no such indication here. It seems that Pharaoh was perplexed and understood how his advisors could be perplexed. Of course, he may very well been angry at them but us just is not mentioned here.

Gen 41:9-13 Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying, I do remember my faults this day: (10) Pharaoh was wroth with his servants, and put me in ward in the captain of the guard’s house, both me and the chief baker: (11) And we dreamed a dream in one night, I and he; we dreamed each man according to the interpretation of his dream. (12) And there was there with us a young man, a Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard; and we told him, and he interpreted to us our dreams; to each man according to his dream he did interpret. (13) And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us, so it was; me he restored unto mine office, and him he hanged.

The Butler recounts how Joseph helped him two years before. He remembered his faults, that is, he forgot about Joseph until just this moment. Alternatively, and this is more likely, he did remember but had no opportunity to speak of it until this moment. Either way, God was in it. Since Pharaoh’s most trusted servant, his cupbearer, testified to the veracity of Joseph’s ability to interpret the two dreams accurately, Pharaoh immediately brought Joseph before him. Well, not immediately. Joseph had to make himself presentable at court. This is a good example for us to follow.

Genesis 41:14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh.

There is nothing wrong with and everything right with being presentable before the world. It adds to our credibility. Joseph attired himself in the Egyptian style, he shaved his head and face and clothed himself with Egyptian raiment. When you have a meeting with someone, if you are properly attired, it is a good start to the meeting. I will personally tell you that if I attire myself properly, I get more respect from others. We all do. It is always appropriate to dress oneself rightly. It is partly because of Joseph’s appearance that he became the Prime Minister or Chancellor of all Egypt. It certainly added respect to Joseph in the presence of the king. Since Joseph had been a servant, Pharaoh probably expected a man whose appearance was just like an ordinary servant. However, Joseph was dressed well.

Genesis 41:15-16 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. (16) And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.

Considering that Joseph was a slave and a criminal, and Pharaoh was the king of a very powerful nation that considered him to be Ra (Amen Ra, the sun god) incarnate, I would imagine that Pharaoh was somewhat condescending to Joseph. But Pharaoh had a desperate problem (at least in his own mind) and he was willing to try any solution, including having a slave prisoner interpret his dreams.

Notice that Joseph took no credit upon himself for the interpretation of dreams. He gave credit to God. When you do something, anything, righteous, it is not of you, but of God. Every righteous act we perform in our own strength is as filthy rags before God. Yet, when saved, we receive God’s righteousness as a credit to our account. When you accomplish something good, something correct, something right, give credit to Whom it is due. Give it to God.

Genesis 41:17 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river:

Pharaoh was standing upon the bank of the Nile. “Nile’ is transliterated Arabic which is borrowed from the Greek. The Greek word, νειλος, neilos, apparently means ‘river valley’. Why did Pharaoh stand upon the bank of the river? The economy of Egypt-its food production, cattle, exports, etc.-its very trading currency was a result of the Nile. The Nile gives life to Egypt. Its fertile valley, where the flooding river annually refreshes the soil, was and is the lifeblood of Egypt. Life in Egypt was totally dependent upon the Nile. Therefore it is appropriate that Pharaoh should be standing there in the dream about the future prosperity of Egypt. The Nile was its source of prosperity. The dream was given by God to elevate Joseph in this first step toward becoming Egypt’s Prime Minister, which was the plan of God from the before the beginning of His life.

Let us unequivocally state that the Nile is not a living entity with a mind of its own, nor is the river God, Khnum controlling it; it is a result of Yehovah’s will that it gives provision to Egypt. It is actually God’s provision. It is also because of the grace of God that it does so. Egypt was not worthy of God’s attention. In fact, because of its rampant idolatry it deserved destruction. Yet God, because of His grace and yes, because of his plan to use Egypt to supply His chosen people and teach those people to trust Him, that He blessed Egypt.

Genesis 41:18 And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fatfleshed and well favoured; and they fed in a meadow:

There is not much sense in explaining the meaning of each vision in the dream, for Joseph will do so in the next few verses. A few comments will suffice. Since we did not define ‘kine’ in the last segment, let us do so now. The word, kine, is the plural word meaning female cattle. That can mean cows, goats, sheep, and could include moose, or even seals, according to the dictionary. The word normally signifies cows. Note that the good cattle came up out of the river, once again signifying that the Nile was the lifeblood of Egypt.

Genesis 41:19 And, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill favoured and leanfleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness:

The significance of the river here is that when the river does not flow according to its normal course and does not flood according to that course, then severe famine could result. The river provided sustenance for Egypt when it flowed normally. Any interruption in that flow could result in poor sustenance or none at all.

Genesis 41:20-21 And the lean and the ill favoured kine did eat up the first seven fat kine: (21) And when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them; but they were still ill favoured, as at the beginning. So I awoke.

Even after consuming the fattened cows, the lean ones did not receive any benefit-they were still lean.

Genesis 41:22-24 And I saw in my dream, and, behold, seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good: (23) And, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them: (24) And the thin ears devoured the seven good ears: and I told this unto the magicians; but there was none that could declare it to me.

The similarities between the grain and cows are evident. The Scripture says ears, which can refer to ears of wheat, barley, corn, or other cereals. Ears can represent several species of grain.

The magicians, or scribes with occult arts and practices, were, like the wise men of verse 8, the men of wisdom on call tot eh government of Egypt. They were somewhat like the President’s cabinet, in that they advised Pharaoh on any issues when he required such information. However, they were also able to perform feats of magic as well, whether by sleight of hand or by real occult power. In this case, they were unable to understand Pharaoh’s dream even with all their combined power. That would be because God did not allow demonic forces to understand the dream either. That way, the occult connection to these magicians would be broken.

Genesis 41:25 And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath showed Pharaoh what he is about to do.

Joseph gave the credit for the interpretation of their dream to God. He did not co-opt it for himself to make him look better in Pharaoh’s eyes; he let Pharaoh know that the credit went to God.

Genesis 41:26-27 The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one. (27) And the seven thin and ill favored kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine.

Simply stated, Egypt was looking at the next fourteen years in the future; seven would be years of bumper crops and increases in livestock. It would be boon to agriculture. The seven years following that would be years of famine, with few or no crops, and livestock suffering from lack of food. Husbandry would see severe shortages during these years. The phrase “feast or famine” applies here. Egyptian farmers would see both is high quantities.

Genesis 41:28 This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: What God is about to do he showeth unto Pharaoh.

God Himself gave this prophecy directly to Pharaoh. Unfortunately, he could not understand it. Fortunately, Joseph could. God gave Pharaoh the prophecy and Joseph the ability to interpret it.

Genesis 41:29-31 Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt: (30) And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land; (31) And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous.

The famine would an especially virulent one.

Genesis 41:32 And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.

This is an important Bible truth. When we read repeated things in the Bible, it is the indication of an established fact. When God repeats Himself, He is revealing an established fact. Though it may be a future event, it is a fact that it will indeed occur. Repeated phrases in the Bible are important indicators of truth. Look for them and absorb them.

Genesis 41:33-37 Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. (34) Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. (35) And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. (36) And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine. (37) And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants.

This is a fine plan that any good economic advisor would formulate. Joseph was a very wise man-God had made him so. Pharaoh realized just how wise Joseph was. Now the ruler of the world’s most powerful nation is not an ignorant man. Though American politics dictate that we call the opposing president foolish, a successful President is truly not foolish. He is wise and discerning. Neither was Pharaoh foolish. Egypt was the most powerful nation in the world at the time. He would have been a very discerning man. Hence, his summation of Joseph was correct.

Genesis 41:38 And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?

Was this a rhetorical question? Obviously. But, it was made for the benefit of Pharaoh’s advisors and servants. Pharaoh, a wise man, allowed his servants to come to the same conclusion as he.

Genesis 41:39-41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath showed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: (40) Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. (41) And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.

This was not a foolish decision. Pharaoh has heard Joseph’s wisdom and understood it. Yes, it was because he was a discerning man. Additionally, God, Who gave Joseph his wisdom, also interceded in Pharaoh’s mind that this was the correct thing to do. It was God’s plan all along, for “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord” (Proverbs 21:1).

Pharaoh made Joseph ruler of all of Egypt. Joseph was second only to Pharaoh, and that was only in the throne. When Pharaoh sat on the throne, it was the king’s throne. Joseph was ruler of all Egypt; he had absolute power over the affairs of Egypt. However, he still could not sit upon Pharaoh’s throne. Pharaoh was keeping himself king, with all its pomp, circumstance and regalia, but all of his power over the kingdom was given to Joseph.

Joseph is a type of Christ and in this very passage we see the relationship of the Father and the Son. Matthew tells us, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18). Paul said,”Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:20-22). A type is a person, place, thing, or event that prefigures or foreshadows a future person, place, thing, or event. In Biblical typology an Old Testament person, place, thing, or event foreshadows, or is an example of what Christ would be. Christ is the antitype of the Old Testament type. Antitype does not mean opposed to the type, because the prefix anti- can mean “opposed to,” but it can also mean “in the place of.” Thus antitype means in the place of the type or the substitute for the type.

Just as the Father has given dominion to the Son and the Son is over all things (Mat 11:27), so Pharaoh gave all power to Joseph. Jesus has power and dominion over all things, yet He does not sit upon God’s throne (Heb 12:12; Rev 5:1). He sits at the Father’s right hand (Heb 12:12; Rev 5:1). Joseph figuratively sat at Pharaoh’s right hand—He was Pharaoh’s right-hand man. He had all power over the entire kingdom, yet he did not occupy the throne. Jesus sits at the Father’s right hand and has all power over all creation, yet He does not occupy the throne of the Father.

Genesis 41:42-44 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; (43) And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. (44) And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.

This is just as the Father has done for the Son. Joseph was the Prime Minister, the Grand Vizier, or as the inscription on the base of the statue of Djoser says of Imhotep: “Chancellor of the King of Lower Egypt, Chief under the King, Administrator of the Great Palace, Hereditary Lord, High Priest of Heliopolis, Imhotep the Builder, the Sculptor, the Maker of Stone Vases…

Genesis 41:45 And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.

Zaphnathpaaneah (tsof-nath’ pah-nay’-akh) is a Coptic word (though some dispute this) signifying, “revealer of secrets,” or, “he to whom secrets are revealed,” or, “preserver of the age.” Some, such as Jerome, have suggested it means “Savior of the world.” Brown-Driver-Briggs states the name means “treasury of the glorious rest.” All of these titles are in accordance with the facts.

On is another name for the city of Helioplos, which is located in Lower Egypt, near the Delta and near the northern part of modern Cairo. Joseph married the priest’s daughter allying him with the pagan Egyptian priesthood. This would allow Joseph access to much more than he would have had without this alliance.

Genesis 41:46-49 And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt. (47) And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. (48) And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. (49) And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number.

Again, Joseph is a type of Christ. Jesus was thirty when He began His ministry. In Egypt there are a number of massive grain stone lined storage pits dug down beneath the surface at the Step Pyramid of Saqqara. Imhotep built the Pyramid complex. As discussed above, there is a good possibility that Imhotep was Joseph. These granaries could store the massive amounts of grain gathered by Joseph during the time of plenty. Of course, the scripture tells us that they stored grain in all of the cities of Egypt. It is interesting to note that there was so much surplus grain that they stopped recording the amounts they stored.

Genesis 41:50-52 And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. (51) And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house. (52) And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.

Ephraim and Manasseh were the two half tribes of Israel. They made up the tribe of Joseph. Several Israelites had mothers not of Israelite stock. For example, Ephraim and Manasseh were born of Asenath. David’s grandfather, Obed, was born of Ruth the Moabitess. Manasseh means “causing to forget.” Ephraim means “doubly fruitful.”

Genesis 41:53-57 And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended. (54) And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. (55) And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do. (56) And the famine was over all the face of the earth: And Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt. (57) And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.

Joseph was in charge of the food distribution. He did it fairly and honestly. The famine was not only in Egypt, but also all over the known world. The entire world had to come to Joseph for food. Eventually his own family would make the trip to Egypt to buy grain. Pharaoh had delegated that duty to Joseph, and gave him complete charge of the duty. As long as Joseph was doing things properly and well, Pharaoh stayed out of it. Pharaoh was a good leader and manager. Note that Pharaoh never had to get involved in Joseph’s business meaning that Joseph handled it professionally and without error.

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