41 At the end of two full years 1 Pharaoh had a dream. 2 As he was standing by the Nile, 2 seven fine-looking, fat cows were coming up out of the Nile, 3 and they grazed in the reeds. 3 Then seven bad-looking, thin cows were coming up after them from the Nile, 4 and they stood beside the other cows at the edge of the river. 5 4 The bad-looking, thin cows ate the seven fine-looking, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.
5 Then he fell asleep again and had a second dream: There were seven heads of grain growing 6 on one stalk, healthy 7 and good. 6 Then 8 seven heads of grain, thin and burned by the east wind, were sprouting up after them. 7 The thin heads swallowed up the seven healthy and full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up and realized it was a dream. 9
8 In the morning he 10 was troubled, so he called for 11 all the diviner-priests 12 of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, 13 but no one could interpret 14 them for him. 15 9 Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I recall my failures. 16 10 Pharaoh was enraged with his servants, and he put me in prison in the house of the captain of the guards – me and the chief baker. 11 We each had a dream one night; each of us had a dream with its own meaning. 17 12 Now a young man, a Hebrew, a servant 18 of the captain of the guards, 19 was with us there. We told him our dreams, 20 and he interpreted the meaning of each of our respective dreams for us. 21 13 It happened just as he had said 22 to us – Pharaoh 23 restored me to my office, but he impaled the baker.” 24
14 Then Pharaoh summoned 25 Joseph. So they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; he shaved himself, changed his clothes, and came before Pharaoh. 15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, 26 and there is no one who can interpret 27 it. But I have heard about you, that 28 you can interpret dreams.” 29 16 Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “It is not within my power, 30 but God will speak concerning 31 the welfare of Pharaoh.” 32
17 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing 33 by the edge of the Nile. 18 Then seven fat and fine-looking cows were coming up out of the Nile, and they grazed in the reeds. 34 19 Then 35 seven other cows came up after them; they were scrawny, very bad-looking, and lean. I had never seen such bad-looking cows 36 as these in all the land of Egypt! 20 The lean, bad-looking cows ate up the seven 37 fat cows. 21 When they had eaten them, 38 no one would have known 39 that they had done so, for they were just as bad-looking as before. Then I woke up. 22 I also saw in my dream 40 seven heads of grain growing on one stalk, full and good. 23 Then 41 seven heads of grain, withered and thin and burned with the east wind, were sprouting up after them. 24 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads of grain. So I told all this 42 to the diviner-priests, but no one could tell me its meaning.” 43
25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Both dreams of Pharaoh have the same meaning. 44 God has revealed 45 to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 46 26 The seven good cows represent seven years, and the seven good heads of grain represent seven years. Both dreams have the same meaning. 47 27 The seven lean, bad-looking cows that came up after them represent seven years, as do the seven empty heads of grain burned with the east wind. They represent 48 seven years of famine. 28 This is just what I told 49 Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29 Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the whole land of Egypt. 30 But seven years of famine will occur 50 after them, and all the abundance will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will devastate 51 the land. 31 The previous abundance of the land will not be remembered 52 because of the famine that follows, for the famine will be very severe. 53 32 The dream was repeated to Pharaoh 54 because the matter has been decreed 55 by God, and God will make it happen soon. 56
33 “So now Pharaoh should look 57 for a wise and discerning man 58 and give him authority 59 over all the land of Egypt. 34 Pharaoh should do 60 this – he should appoint 61 officials 62 throughout the land to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt 63 during the seven years of abundance. 35 They should gather all the excess food 64 during these good years that are coming. By Pharaoh’s authority 65 they should store up grain so the cities will have food, 66 and they should preserve it. 67 36 This food should be held in storage for the land in preparation for the seven years of famine that will occur throughout the land of Egypt. In this way the land will survive the famine.” 68
37 This advice made sense to Pharaoh and all his officials. 69 38 So Pharaoh asked his officials, “Can we find a man like Joseph, 70 one in whom the Spirit of God is present?” 71 39 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Because God has enabled you to know all this, there is no one as wise and discerning 72 as you are! 40 You will oversee my household, and all my people will submit to your commands. 73 Only I, the king, will be greater than you. 74
41 “See here,” Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I place 75 you in authority over all the land of Egypt.” 76 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his own hand and put it on Joseph’s. He clothed him with fine linen 77 clothes and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 Pharaoh 78 had him ride in the chariot used by his second-in-command, 79 and they cried out before him, “Kneel down!” 80 So he placed him over all the land of Egypt. 44 Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your permission 81 no one 82 will move his hand or his foot 83 in all the land of Egypt.” 45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah. 84 He also gave him Asenath 85 daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, 86 to be his wife. So Joseph took charge of 87 all the land of Egypt.
46 Now Joseph was 30 years old 88 when he began serving 89 Pharaoh king of Egypt. Joseph was commissioned by 90 Pharaoh and was in charge of 91 all the land of Egypt. 47 During the seven years of abundance the land produced large, bountiful harvests. 92 48 Joseph 93 collected all the excess food 94 in the land of Egypt during the seven years and stored it in the cities. 95 In every city he put the food gathered from the fields around it. 49 Joseph stored up a vast amount of grain, like the sand of the sea, 96 until he stopped measuring it because it was impossible to measure.
50 Two sons were born to Joseph before the famine came. 97 Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, was their mother. 98 51 Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, 99 saying, 100 “Certainly 101 God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s house.” 52 He named the second child Ephraim, 102 saying, 103 “Certainly 104 God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”
53 The seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt came to an end. 54 Then the seven years of famine began, 105 just as Joseph had predicted. There was famine in all the other lands, but throughout the land of Egypt there was food. 55 When all the land of Egypt experienced the famine, the people cried out to Pharaoh for food. Pharaoh said to all the people of Egypt, 106 “Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you.”
56 While the famine was over all the earth, 107 Joseph opened the storehouses 108 and sold grain to the Egyptians. The famine was severe throughout the land of Egypt. 57 People from every country 109 came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain because the famine was severe throughout the earth.
42 When Jacob heard 1 there was grain in Egypt, he 2 said to his sons, “Why are you looking at each other?” 3 2 He then said, “Look, I hear that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy grain for us 4 so that we may live 5 and not die.” 6
3 So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4 But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers, 7 for he said, 8 “What if some accident 9 happens 10 to him?” 5 So Israel’s sons came to buy grain among the other travelers, 11 for the famine was severe in the land of Canaan.
6 Now Joseph was the ruler of the country, the one who sold grain to all the people of the country. 12 Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down 13 before him with 14 their faces to the ground. 7 When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger 15 to them and spoke to them harshly. He asked, “Where do you come from?” They answered, 16 “From the land of Canaan, to buy grain for food.” 17
8 Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. 9 Then Joseph remembered 18 the dreams he had dreamed about them, and he said to them, “You are spies; you have come to see if our land is vulnerable!” 19
10 But they exclaimed, 20 “No, my lord! Your servants have come to buy grain for food! 11 We are all the sons of one man; we are honest men! Your servants are not spies.”
12 “No,” he insisted, “but you have come to see if our land is vulnerable.” 21 13 They replied, “Your servants are from a family of twelve brothers. 22 We are the sons of one man in the land of Canaan. The youngest is with our father at this time, 23 and one is no longer alive.” 24
14 But Joseph told them, “It is just as I said to you: 25 You are spies! 15 You will be tested in this way: As surely as Pharaoh lives, 26 you will not depart from this place unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 One of you must go and get 27 your brother, while 28 the rest of you remain in prison. 29 In this way your words may be tested to see if 30 you are telling the truth. 31 If not, then, as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!” 17 He imprisoned 32 them all for three days. 18 On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do as I say 33 and you will live, 34 for I fear God. 35 19 If you are honest men, leave one of your brothers confined here in prison 36 while the rest of you go 37 and take grain back for your hungry families. 38 20 But you must bring 39 your youngest brother to me. Then 40 your words will be verified 41 and you will not die.” They did as he said. 42
21 They said to one other, 43 “Surely we’re being punished 44 because of our brother, because we saw how distressed he was 45 when he cried to us for mercy, but we refused to listen. That is why this distress 46 has come on us!” 22 Reuben said to them, “Didn’t I say to you, ‘Don’t sin against the boy,’ but you wouldn’t listen? So now we must pay for shedding his blood!” 47 23 (Now 48 they did not know that Joseph could understand them, 49 for he was speaking through an interpreter.) 50 24 He turned away from them and wept. When he turned around and spoke to them again, 51 he had Simeon taken 52 from them and tied up 53 before their eyes.
25 Then Joseph gave orders to fill 54 their bags with grain, to return each man’s money to his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. His orders were carried out. 55 26 So they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left. 56
27 When one of them 57 opened his sack to get feed for his donkey at their resting place, 58 he saw his money in the mouth of his sack. 59 28 He said to his brothers, “My money was returned! Here it is in my sack!” They were dismayed; 60 they turned trembling one to another 61 and said, “What in the world has God done to us?” 62
29 They returned to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan and told him all the things that had happened to them, saying, 30 “The man, the lord of the land, spoke harshly to us and treated us 63 as if we were 64 spying on the land. 31 But we said to him, ‘We are honest men; we are not spies! 32 We are from a family of twelve brothers; we are the sons of one father. 65 One is no longer alive, 66 and the youngest is with our father at this time 67 in the land of Canaan.’
33 “Then the man, the lord of the land, said to us, ‘This is how I will find out if you are honest men. Leave one of your brothers with me, and take grain 68 for your hungry households and go. 34 But bring your youngest brother back to me so I will know 69 that you are honest men and not spies. 70 Then I will give your brother back to you and you may move about freely in the land.’” 71
35 When they were emptying their sacks, there was each man’s bag of money in his sack! When they and their father saw the bags of money, they were afraid. 36 Their father Jacob said to them, “You are making me childless! Joseph is gone. 72 Simeon is gone. 73 And now you want to take 74 Benjamin! Everything is against me.”
37 Then Reuben said to his father, “You may 75 put my two sons to death if I do not bring him back to you. Put him in my care 76 and I will bring him back to you.” 38 But Jacob 77 replied, “My son will not go down there with you, for his brother is dead and he alone is left. 78 If an accident happens to him on the journey you have to make, then you will bring down my gray hair 79 in sorrow to the grave.” 80
43 Now the famine was severe in the land. 1 2 When they finished eating the grain they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Return, buy us a little more food.”
3 But Judah said to him, “The man solemnly warned 2 us, ‘You will not see my face 3 unless your brother is with you.’ 4 If you send 4 our brother with us, we’ll go down and buy food for you. 5 But if you will not send him, we won’t go down there because the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face unless your brother is with you.’”
6 Israel said, “Why did you bring this trouble 5 on me by telling 6 the man you had one more brother?”
7 They replied, “The man questioned us 7 thoroughly 8 about ourselves and our family, saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’ 9 So we answered him in this way. 10 How could we possibly know 11 that he would say, 12 ‘Bring your brother down’?”
8 Then Judah said to his father Israel, “Send the boy with me and we will go immediately. 13 Then we will live 14 and not die – we and you and our little ones. 9 I myself pledge security 15 for him; you may hold me liable. If I do not bring him back to you and place him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life. 16 10 But if we had not delayed, we could have traveled there and back 17 twice by now!”
11 Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: Take some of the best products of the land in your bags, and take a gift down to the man – a little balm and a little honey, spices and myrrh, pistachios and almonds. 12 Take double the money with you; 18 you must take back 19 the money that was returned in the mouths of your sacks – perhaps it was an oversight. 13 Take your brother too, and go right away 20 to the man. 21 14 May the sovereign God 22 grant you mercy before the man so that he may release 23 your other brother 24 and Benjamin! As for me, if I lose my children I lose them.” 25
15 So the men took these gifts, and they took double the money with them, along with Benjamin. Then they hurried down to Egypt 26 and stood before Joseph. 16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the servant who was over his household, “Bring the men to the house. Slaughter an animal and prepare it, for the men will eat with me at noon.” 17 The man did just as Joseph said; he 27 brought the men into Joseph’s house. 28
18 But the men were afraid when they were brought to Joseph’s house. They said, “We are being brought in because of 29 the money that was returned in our sacks last time. 30 He wants to capture us, 31 make us slaves, and take 32 our donkeys!” 19 So they approached the man who was in charge of Joseph’s household and spoke to him at the entrance to the house. 20 They said, “My lord, we did indeed come down 33 the first time 34 to buy food. 21 But when we came to the place where we spent the night, we opened our sacks and each of us found his money – the full amount 35 – in the mouth of his sack. So we have returned it. 36 22 We have brought additional money with us to buy food. We do not know who put the money in our sacks!”
23 “Everything is fine,” 37 the man in charge of Joseph’s household told them. “Don’t be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks. 38 I had your money.” 39 Then he brought Simeon out to them.
24 The servant in charge 40 brought the men into Joseph’s house. He gave them water, and they washed their feet. Then he gave food to their donkeys. 25 They got their gifts ready for Joseph’s arrival 41 at noon, for they had heard 42 that they were to have a meal 43 there.
26 When Joseph came home, they presented him with the gifts they had brought inside, 44 and they bowed down to the ground before him. 27 He asked them how they were doing. 45 Then he said, “Is your aging father well, the one you spoke about? Is he still alive?” 28 “Your servant our father is well,” they replied. “He is still alive.” They bowed down in humility. 46
29 When Joseph looked up 47 and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, he said, “Is this your youngest brother, whom you told me about?” Then he said, “May God be gracious to you, my son.” 48 30 Joseph hurried out, for he was overcome by affection for his brother 49 and was at the point of tears. 50 So he went to his room and wept there.
31 Then he washed his face and came out. With composure he said, 51 “Set out the food.” 32 They set a place for him, a separate place for his brothers, 52 and another for the Egyptians who were eating with him. (The Egyptians are not able to eat with Hebrews, for the Egyptians think it is disgusting 53 to do so.) 54 33 They sat before him, arranged by order of birth, beginning with the firstborn and ending with the youngest. 55 The men looked at each other in astonishment. 56 34 He gave them portions of the food set before him, 57 but the portion for Benjamin was five times greater than the portions for any of the others. They drank with Joseph until they all became drunk. 58