Genesis Chapter 41

The story of Joseph, the beloved son of Jacob (Israel) continues in this chapter. At this point, he was sold into slavery by his brothers. He was purchased by a man named Potiphar. Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him of taking advantage of her, so Joseph was put into prison. Two men were placed there with him, a chief butler and chief butler of pharaoh. They had dreams which Joseph correctly interpreted through a gift of the spirit which he had. The butler was again serving pharaoh, while Joseph remained in the prison for something he had not done. The story continues as follows:

1 And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river.
2 And, behold, there came up out of the river seven well favoured kine and fatfleshed; and they fed in a meadow.
3 And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill favoured and leanfleshed; and stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river.
4 And the ill favoured and leanfleshed kine did eat up the seven well favoured and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke.
5 And he slept and dreamed the second time: and, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good.
6 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.
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.

Two years after the Butler returned to his work, Pharaoh had troubling dreams, which could not be interpreted by any of his magicians or wise men. The dreams were first, that he was near the river and seven fat cows came out of the river and into the meadow to feed. Then seven skinny and sick cows came out and ate the fat cows. After he awoke and returned to sleep, he dreamed that there were seven good stalks of corn that grew. Then, seven bad stalks grew and devoured the good stalks. He did not know what to make of these dreams.

9 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, an 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, who had promised to remember Joseph when he was out of prison, finally did remember him now. He told Pharaoh about how Joseph had interpreted his dream and that it had happened just as Joseph had said for both him and the Baker.

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.
15 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.
17 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river:
18 And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fatfleshed and well favoured; and they fed in a meadow:
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:
20 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.
22 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.

Joseph was brought to Pharaoh and was told of the troubling dream. Joseph, being the righteous man of God, gave honor to God with his gift of interpretation. When Joseph says here that “God shall give Pharaoh and answer of peace”, I tend to think that in order for him to understand the interpretation that was given by Joseph, he needed to be teachable by the spirit. Joseph’s brothers had not been open to the spirit at the time when he told them of his dreams and so they did not have the peace the spirit can bring when things are right and true. Rather, they were filled with anger, which builds an automatic wall in our hearts. They could not recognize the teachings of the spirit, because they were not open to it, even though I am sure they were taught by their father, to be worthy to recognize it. So, Pharaoh trusts Joseph at this point because his heart is softened and he is humble enough. He tells him about his dream.

25 And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do.
26 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 favoured 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.
28 This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: What God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh.
29 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.
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.
33 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.

Joseph explained that this dream was given to Pharaoh so that he would do according to what it meant. He told him that the dreams went together and that the seven cows and stalks represented seven years. There would be seven years of plenty and seven years of famine in the land. During the years of famine, all of the things that came in the time of plenty will be lost and forgotten. Joseph explained that God was giving Pharaoh a warning of what he was about to allow to come upon the land. Joseph told him that he should be wise and save some of their plenty during the good years, so that they would have food stored up for the years of famine.

This is a great example of wisdom in food storage. I think that we can all take a lesson from this. We may not be shown a warning of some great catastrophe coming our way, but we all suffer from times of trials financially and such. When things are going well for us, or well enough, we should be mindful of the preparations we can do for the difficult times that come in life. We also have friends and neighbors who struggle at times, and it would be kind of us to be willing to share our plenty when we are able. If we have not prepared, we loose out on that great opportunity for service.

37 And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants.
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?
39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed 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.
42 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.
45 And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnath-paaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.

Pharaoh and his servants recognize this interpretation as right and I am sure this is because they allowed themselves to be touched by the spirit, which bears all truth. Joseph was again recognized as a man of God, and was given charge over all of Egypt, with only Pharaoh over him. Joseph was given great gifts by Pharaoh, such as his ring, a gold chain, fine clothing and a chariot. Pharaoh called him Zaphnath-paaneah and gave him a wife to marry named Asenath.

46 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.
50 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.

Joseph ruled in Egypt and led the people with wisdom during the seven years of plenty. They were able to store a lot of food in preparation for the famine. Joseph had two sons during this time, and he named them Manasseh and Ephraim.

53 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.

Then the seven years of plenty ended and the famine came, just as Joseph had said. The famine was in much more land than just Egypt, but Egypt was blessed for the wisdom that came as a blessing from God. Joseph sold their grain to all who came to them in need. Egypt was blessed in a time of great difficulty, because its leader chose to listen to inspiration of God.

All men can be influenced by the spirit, if they have a willing and open heart and mind. Even great men who do not understand the gospel of Jesus Christ, can be led to do great things because of the spirit. I think it is important for us to realize this and to see this as a great example of how God blesses all His children in times of plenty and of need if they will turn to the correct sources of wisdom and good. This is one of those tender mercies of the Lord and a great many lives were blessed because of this. Joseph was a good man and because he was a worthy person, he was able to do a great work for all these people. This work continues to bless the lives of people today, who hear or read this story, and are willing to see the truth and wisdom that can be found in it.

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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.

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