And the seven thin and ill favoured kine that came up after
them [are] seven years
Signify other seven years, and these different from the former, as follows: and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven
years of famine:
or there will be seven years of famine that will answer to them, and are signified by them: Grotius, from the Oneirocritics or interpreters of dreams, observes, that years are signified by kine, and particularly he relates from Achmes, that according to the doctrine of the Egyptians, female oxen (and such these were) signified times and seasons, and if fat (as the good ones here also were) signified fruitful times, but if poor and thin (as the bad ones here were) barren times: it seems as if all this skill of theirs was borrowed from Joseph's interpretation of Pharaoh's dreams here given. Josephus F12 relates a dream of Archelaus the son of Herod, who dreamed that he saw ten ears of corn, full and large, devoured by oxen; he sent for the Chaldeans and others to tell him what they signified; one said one thing and another another; at length one Simon, an Essene, said that the ears signified years, and the oxen changes of affairs, because, when they plough up the earth, they turn it up and change it; so that he should reign as many years as were ears of corn seen, and after many changes should die, as he accordingly did.
F12 Antiqu. l. 17. c. 15. sect. 3. & de Bello Jud. l. 2. c. 7. sect. 3.