Genesis 41; Genesis 42; Matthew 12:1-23

1 After two years had passed, the king of Egypt dreamed that he was standing by the Nile River, 2 when seven cows, fat and sleek, came up out of the river and began to feed on the grass. 3 Then seven other cows came up; they were thin and bony. They came and stood by the other cows on the riverbank, 4 and the thin cows ate up the fat cows. Then the king woke up. 5 He fell asleep again and had another dream. Seven heads of grain, full and ripe, were growing on one stalk. 6 Then seven other heads of grain sprouted, thin and scorched by the desert wind, 7 and the thin heads of grain swallowed the full ones. The king woke up and realized that he had been dreaming. 8 In the morning he was worried, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. He told them his dreams, but no one could explain them to him. 9 Then the wine steward said to the king, "I must confess today that I have done wrong. 10 You were angry with the chief baker and me, and you put us in prison in the house of the captain of the guard. 11 One night each of us had a dream, and the dreams had different meanings. 12 A young Hebrew was there with us, a slave of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us. 13 Things turned out just as he said: you restored me to my position, but you executed the baker." 14 The king sent for Joseph, and he was immediately brought from the prison. After he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came into the king's presence. 15 The king said to him, "I have had a dream, and no one can explain it. I have been told that you can interpret dreams." 16 Joseph answered, "I cannot, Your Majesty, but God will give a favorable interpretation." 17 The king said, "I dreamed that I was standing on the bank of the Nile, 18 when seven cows, fat and sleek, came up out of the river and began feeding on the grass. 19 Then seven other cows came up which were thin and bony. They were the poorest cows I have ever seen anywhere in Egypt. 20 The thin cows ate up the fat ones, 21 but no one would have known it, because they looked just as bad as before. Then I woke up. 22 I also dreamed that I saw seven heads of grain which were full and ripe, growing on one stalk. 23 Then seven heads of grain sprouted, thin and scorched by the desert wind, 24 and the thin heads of grain swallowed the full ones. I told the dreams to the magicians, but none of them could explain them to me." 25 Joseph said to the king, "The two dreams mean the same thing; God has told you what he is going to do. 26 The seven fat cows are seven years, and the seven full heads of grain are also seven years; they have the same meaning. 27 The seven thin cows which came up later and the seven thin heads of grain scorched by the desert wind are seven years of famine. 28 It is just as I told you - God has shown you what he is going to do. 29 There will be seven years of great plenty in all the land of Egypt. 30 After that, there will be seven years of famine, and all the good years will be forgotten, because the famine will ruin the country. 31 The time of plenty will be entirely forgotten, because the famine which follows will be so terrible. 32 The repetition of your dream means that the matter is fixed by God and that he will make it happen in the near future. 33 "Now you should choose some man with wisdom and insight and put him in charge of the country. 34 You must also appoint other officials and take a fifth of the crops during the seven years of plenty. 35 Order them to collect all the food during the good years that are coming, and give them authority to store up grain in the cities and guard it. 36 The food will be a reserve supply for the country during the seven years of famine which are going to come on Egypt. In this way the people will not starve." 37 The king and his officials approved this plan, 38 and he said to them, "We will never find a better man than Joseph, a man who has God's spirit in him." 39 The king said to Joseph, "God has shown you all this, so it is obvious that you have greater wisdom and insight than anyone else. 40 I will put you in charge of my country, and all my people will obey your orders. Your authority will be second only to mine. 41 I now appoint you governor over all Egypt." 42 The king removed from his finger the ring engraved with the royal seal and put it on Joseph's finger. He put a fine linen robe on him, and placed a gold chain around his neck. 43 He gave him the second royal chariot to ride in, and his guard of honor went ahead of him and cried out, "Make way! Make way!" And so Joseph was appointed governor over all Egypt. 44 The king said to him, "I am the king - and no one in all Egypt shall so much as lift a hand or a foot without your permission." 45 He gave Joseph the Egyptian name Zaphenath Paneah, and he gave him a wife, Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, a priest in the city of Heliopolis. Joseph was thirty years old when he began to serve the king of Egypt. He left the king's court and traveled all over the land. 47 During the seven years of plenty the land produced abundant crops, 48 all of which Joseph collected and stored in the cities. In each city he stored the food from the fields around it. 49 There was so much grain that Joseph stopped measuring it - it was like the sand of the sea. 50 Before the years of famine came, Joseph had two sons by Asenath. 51 He said, "God has made me forget all my sufferings and all my father's family"; so he named his first son Manasseh. 52 He also said, "God has given me children in the land of my trouble"; so he named his second son Ephraim. 53 The seven years of plenty that the land of Egypt had enjoyed came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in every other country, but there was food throughout Egypt. 55 When the Egyptians began to be hungry, they cried out to the king for food. So he ordered them to go to Joseph and do what he told them. 56 The famine grew worse and spread over the whole country, so Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians. 57 People came to Egypt from all over the world to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.
1 When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, "Why don't you do something? 2 I hear that there is grain in Egypt; go there and buy some to keep us from starving to death." 3 So Joseph's ten half brothers went to buy grain in Egypt, 4 but Jacob did not send Joseph's full brother Benjamin with them, because he was afraid that something might happen to him. 5 The sons of Jacob came with others to buy grain, because there was famine in the land of Canaan. 6 Joseph, as governor of the land of Egypt, was selling grain to people from all over the world. So Joseph's brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the ground. 7 When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he acted as if he did not know them. He asked them harshly, "Where do you come from?" "We have come from Canaan to buy food," they answered. 8 Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. 9 He remembered the dreams he had dreamed about them and said, "You are spies; you have come to find out where our country is weak." 10 "No, sir," they answered. "We have come as your slaves, to buy food. 11 We are all brothers. We are not spies, sir, we are honest men." 12 Joseph said to them, "No! You have come to find out where our country is weak." 13 They said, "We were twelve brothers in all, sir, sons of the same man in the land of Canaan. One brother is dead, and the youngest is now with our father." 14 "It is just as I said," Joseph answered. "You are spies. 15 This is how you will be tested: I swear by the name of the king that you will never leave unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 One of you must go and get him. The rest of you will be kept under guard until the truth of what you say can be tested. Otherwise, as sure as the king lives, you are spies." 17 With that, he put them in prison for three days. 18 On the third day Joseph said to them, "I am a God-fearing man, and I will spare your lives on one condition. 19 To prove that you are honest, one of you will stay in the prison where you have been kept; the rest of you may go and take back to your starving families the grain that you have bought. 20 Then you must bring your youngest brother to me. This will prove that you have been telling the truth, and I will not put you to death." They agreed to this 21 and said to one another, "Yes, now we are suffering the consequences of what we did to our brother; we saw the great trouble he was in when he begged for help, but we would not listen. That is why we are in this trouble now." 22 Reuben said, "I told you not to harm the boy, but you wouldn't listen. And now we are being paid back for his death." 23 Joseph understood what they said, but they did not know it, because they had been speaking to him through an interpreter. 24 Joseph left them and began to cry. When he was able to speak again, he came back, picked out Simeon, and had him tied up in front of them. 25 Joseph gave orders to fill his brothers' packs with grain, to put each man's money back in his sack, and to give them food for the trip. This was done. 26 The brothers loaded their donkeys with the grain they had bought, and then they left. 27 At the place where they spent the night, one of them opened his sack to feed his donkey and found his money at the top of the sack. 28 "My money has been returned to me," he called to his brothers. "Here it is in my sack!" Their hearts sank, and in fear they asked one another, "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: 30 "The governor of Egypt spoke harshly to us and accused us of spying against his country. 31 "We are not spies,' we answered, "we are honest men. 32 We were twelve brothers in all, sons of the same father. One brother is dead, and the youngest is still in Canaan with our father.' 33 The man answered, "This is how I will find out if you are honest men: One of you will stay with me; the rest will take grain for your starving families and leave. 34 Bring your youngest brother to me. Then I will know that you are not spies, but honest men; I will give your brother back to you, and you can stay here and trade.' " 35 Then when they emptied out their sacks, every one of them found his bag of money; and when they saw the money, they and their father Jacob were afraid. 36 Their father said to them, "Do you want to make me lose all my children? Joseph is gone; Simeon is gone; and now you want to take away Benjamin. I am the one who suffers!" 37 Reuben said to his father, "If I do not bring Benjamin back to you, you can kill my two sons. Put him in my care, and I will bring him back." 38 But Jacob said, "My son cannot go with you; his brother is dead, and he is the only one left. Something might happen to him on the way. I am an old man, and the sorrow you would cause me would kill me."
1 Not long afterward Jesus was walking through some wheat fields on a Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, so they began to pick heads of wheat and eat the grain. 2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to Jesus, "Look, it is against our Law for your disciples to do this on the Sabbath!" 3 Jesus answered, "Have you never read what David did that time when he and his men were hungry? 4 He went into the house of God, and he and his men ate the bread offered to God, even though it was against the Law for them to eat it - only the priests were allowed to eat that bread. 5 Or have you not read in the Law of Moses that every Sabbath the priests in the Temple actually break the Sabbath law, yet they are not guilty? 6 I tell you that there is something here greater than the Temple. 7 The scripture says, "It is kindness that I want, not animal sacrifices.' If you really knew what this means, you would not condemn people who are not guilty; 8 for the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." 9 Jesus left that place and went to a synagogue, 10 where there was a man who had a paralyzed hand. Some people were there who wanted to accuse Jesus of doing wrong, so they asked him, "Is it against our Law to heal on the Sabbath?" 11 Jesus answered, "What if one of you has a sheep and it falls into a deep hole on the Sabbath? Will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 And a human being is worth much more than a sheep! So then, our Law does allow us to help someone on the Sabbath." 13 Then he said to the man with the paralyzed hand, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and it became well again, just like the other one. 14 Then the Pharisees left and made plans to kill Jesus. 15 When Jesus heard about the plot against him, he went away from that place; and large crowds followed him. He healed all the sick 16 and gave them orders not to tell others about him. 17 He did this so as to make come true what God had said through the prophet Isaiah: 18 "Here is my servant, whom I have chosen, the one I love, and with whom I am pleased. I will send my Spirit upon him, and he will announce my judgment to the nations. 19 He will not argue or shout, or make loud speeches in the streets. 20 He will not break off a bent reed, nor put out a flickering lamp. He will persist until he causes justice to triumph, 21 and on him all peoples will put their hope." 22 Then some people brought to Jesus a man who was blind and could not talk because he had a demon. Jesus healed the man, so that he was able to talk and see. 23 The crowds were all amazed at what Jesus had done. "Could he be the Son of David?" they asked.
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