1 After two full years Pharaoh had a dream. He dreamed he was standing by the Nile River. 2 Suddenly, seven nice-looking, well-fed cows came up from the river and began to graze among the reeds. 3 Seven other cows came up from the river behind them. These cows were sickly and skinny. They stood behind the first seven cows on the riverbank. 4 The cows that were sickly and skinny ate the seven nice-looking, well-fed cows. Then Pharaoh woke up. 5 He fell asleep again and had a second dream. Seven good, healthy heads of grain were growing on a single stalk. 6 Seven other heads of grain, thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouted behind them. 7 The thin heads of grain swallowed the seven full, healthy heads. Then Pharaoh woke up. It was only a dream. 8 In the morning he was so upset that he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could tell him what they meant. 9 Then the chief cupbearer spoke to Pharaoh, "I remember a promise I failed to keep. 10 Some time ago when Pharaoh was angry with his servants, he confined me and the chief baker to the captain of the guard's prison. 11 We both had dreams the same night. Each dream had its own meaning. 12 A young Hebrew, a slave of the captain of the guard, was with us. We told him our dreams, and he told each of us what they meant. 13 What he told us happened: Pharaoh restored me to my position, but he hung the baker on a pole." 14 Then Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and immediately he was brought from the prison. After he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came in front of Pharaoh. 15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I had a dream, and no one can tell me what it means. I heard that when you are told a dream, you can say what it means." 16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, "I can't, but God can give Pharaoh the answer that he needs." 17 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile. 18 Suddenly, seven nice-looking, well-fed cows came up from the river and began to graze among the reeds. 19 Seven other cows came up behind them. These cows were scrawny, very sick, and thin. I've never seen such sickly cows in all of Egypt! 20 The thin, sickly cows ate up the seven well-fed ones. 21 Even though they had eaten them, no one could tell they had eaten them. They looked just as sick as before. Then I woke up. 22 "In my second dream I saw seven good, full heads of grain growing on a single stalk. 23 Seven other heads of grain, withered, thin, and scorched by the east wind, sprouted behind them. 24 The thin heads of grain swallowed the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but no one could tell me what it meant." 25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, "Pharaoh had the same dream twice. God has told Pharaoh what he's going to do. 26 The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years. It's all the same dream. 27 The seven thin, sickly cows that came up behind them are seven years. The seven empty heads of grain scorched by the east wind are also seven years. Seven years of famine are coming. 28 "It's just as I said to Pharaoh. God has shown Pharaoh what he's going to do. 29 Seven years are coming when there will be plenty of food in Egypt. 30 After them will come seven years of famine. People will forget that there was plenty of food in Egypt, and the famine will ruin the land. 31 People won't remember that there once was plenty of food in the land, because the coming famine will be so severe. 32 The reason Pharaoh has had a recurring dream is because the matter has been definitely decided by God, and he will do it very soon. 33 "Pharaoh should look for a wise and intelligent man and put him in charge of Egypt. 34 Make arrangements to appoint supervisors over the land to take a fifth of Egypt's harvest during the seven good years. 35 Have them collect all the food during these good years and store up grain under Pharaoh's control, to be kept for food in the cities. 36 This food will be a reserve supply for our country during the seven years of famine that will happen in Egypt. Then the land will not be ruined by the famine." 37 Pharaoh and all his servants liked the idea. 38 So Pharaoh asked his servants, "Can we find anyone like this--a man who has God's Spirit in him?" 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Because God has let you know all this, there is no one as wise and intelligent as you. 40 You will be in charge of my palace, and all my people will do what you say. I will be more important than you, only because I'm Pharaoh." 41 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I now put you in charge of Egypt." 42 Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring and put it on Joseph's finger. He had Joseph dressed in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had him ride in the chariot of the second-in-command. Men ran ahead of him and shouted, "Make way!" Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of Egypt. 44 He also said to Joseph, "Even though I am Pharaoh, no one anywhere in Egypt will do anything without your permission." 45 Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenathpaneah and gave him Asenath as his wife. She was the daughter of Potiphera, priest from the city of On. Joseph traveled around Egypt. 46 Joseph was 30 years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh (the king of Egypt). He left Pharaoh and traveled all around Egypt. 47 During the seven good years the land produced large harvests. 48 Joseph collected all the food grown in Egypt during those seven years and put this food in the cities. In each city he put the food from the fields around it. 49 Joseph stored up grain in huge quantities like the sand on the seashore. He had so much that he finally gave up keeping any records because he couldn't measure it all. 50 Before the years of famine came, Joseph had two sons by Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, priest from the city of On. 51 Joseph named his firstborn son Manasseh [He Helps Me Forget], because God helped him forget all his troubles and all about his father's family. 52 He named the second son Ephraim [Blessed Twice With Children], because God gave him children in the land where he had suffered. 53 The seven years when there was plenty of food in Egypt came to an end. 54 Then the seven years of famine began as Joseph had said they would. All the other countries were experiencing famine. Yet, there was food in Egypt. 55 When everyone in Egypt began to feel the effects of the famine, the people cried to Pharaoh for food. But Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, "Go to Joseph! Do what he tells you!" 56 When the famine had spread all over the country, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians. He did this because the famine was severe in Egypt. 57 The whole world came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, since the famine was so severe all over the world.
1 When Jacob found out that grain was for sale in Egypt, he said to his sons, "Why do you keep looking at each other? 2 I've heard there's grain for sale in Egypt. Go there and buy some for us so that we won't starve to death." 3 Ten of Joseph's brothers went to buy grain in Egypt. 4 Jacob wouldn't send Joseph's brother Benjamin with the other brothers, because he was afraid that something would happen to him. 5 Israel's sons left with the others who were going to buy grain, because there was also famine in Canaan. 6 As governor of the country, Joseph was selling grain to everyone. So when Joseph's brothers arrived, they bowed in front of him with their faces touching the ground. 7 As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them. But he acted as if he didn't know them and spoke harshly to them. "Where did you come from?" he asked them. "From Canaan, to buy food," they answered. 8 Even though Joseph recognized his brothers, they didn't recognize him. 9 Then he remembered the dreams he once had about them. "You're spies!" he said to them, "And you've come to find out where our country is unprotected." 10 "No, sir!" they answered him. "We've come to buy food. 11 We're all sons of one man. We're honest men, not spies." 12 He said to them, "No! You've come to find out where our country is unprotected." 13 They answered him, "We were 12 brothers, sons of one man in Canaan. The youngest brother stayed with our father, and the other one is no longer with us." 14 "It's just as I told you," Joseph said to them. "You're spies! 15 This is how you'll be tested: I solemnly swear, as surely as Pharaoh lives, that you won't leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 One of you must be sent to get your brother while the rest of you stay in prison. We'll see if you're telling the truth. If not, I solemnly swear, as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!" 17 Then he put them in jail for three days. 18 On the third day Joseph said to them, "Do this, and you will live. I, too, fear God. 19 If you are honest men, you will let one of your brothers stay here in prison. The rest of you will go and take grain back to your starving families. 20 But you must bring me your youngest brother. This will show that you've been telling the truth. Then you won't die." So they agreed. 21 They said to each other, "We're surely being punished for what we did to our brother. We saw how troubled he was when he pleaded with us for mercy, but we wouldn't listen. That's why we're in trouble now." 22 Reuben said to them, "Didn't I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn't listen. Now we must pay for this bloodshed." 23 They didn't know that Joseph could understand them, because he was speaking through an interpreter. 24 He stepped away from them to cry. When he could speak to them again, he came back. Then he picked Simeon and had him arrested right in front of their eyes. 25 Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain. He put each man's money back into his sack and gave them supplies for their trip. After their bags were filled, 26 they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left. 27 At the place where they stopped for the night, one of them opened his sack to feed his donkey. His money was right inside his sack. 28 He said to his brothers, "My money has been put back! It's right here in my sack!" They wanted to die. They trembled and turned to each other and asked, "What has God done to us?" 29 When they came to their father Jacob in Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them. They said, 30 "The governor of that land spoke harshly to us and treated us like spies. 31 But we said to him, 'We're honest men, not spies. 32 We were 12 brothers, sons of the same father. One is no longer with us. The youngest brother stayed with our father in Canaan.' 33 "Then the governor of that land said to us, 'This is how I'll know that you're honest men: Leave one of your brothers with me. Take food for your starving families and go. 34 But bring me your youngest brother. Then I'll know that you're not spies but honest men. I'll give your brother back to you, and you'll be able to move about freely in this country.'" 35 As they were emptying their sacks, each man found his bag of money in his sack. When they and their father saw the bags of money, they were frightened. 36 Their father Jacob said to them, "You're going to make me lose all my children! Joseph is no longer with us, Simeon is no longer with us, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything's against me!" 37 So Reuben said to his father, "You may put my two sons to death if I don't bring him back to you. Let me take care of him, and I'll bring him back to you." 38 Jacob replied, "My son will not go with you. His brother is dead, and he's the only one left. If any harm comes to him on the trip you're taking, the grief would drive this gray-haired old man to his grave!"