Bereshis 41

1 1 And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed a chalom: and, hinei, he stood by haye’or (the River, i.e., the Nile).
2 And, hinei, there came up out of haye’or (the River, i.e., the Nile) seven cows, fine in appearance and fat in basar; and they grazed on the riverbank.
3 And, hinei, seven other cows came up after them out of the Nile, ra’ot mareh (ugly in appearance) and dakot basar (gaunt ones in flesh, lean-fleshed); and stood by the other cows upon the bank of the Nile.
4 And the cows that were ra’ot hamareh and that were dakot habasar did devour the seven cows that were fine in appearance and fat. Then Pharaoh awoke.
5 And he slept and dreamed a chalom the second time; and, hinei, shivah heads of grain came up upon one stalk, beri’ot (fat ones) and tovot.
6 And, hinei, seven thin heads of grain scorched by the east wind tzomechot (sprung up) after them.
7 And the seven thin heads of grain devoured the seven fat and mele’ot (full) heads of grain. And Pharaoh awoke; and, hinei, it was a chalom!
8 And it came to pass in the boker that his ruach was troubled; and he sent and called for all the chartummei Mitzrayim (magicians of Egypt), and all the chachamim thereof; and Pharaoh told them his chalom; but there was no poter (interpreter) for Pharaoh.
9 Then the sar hamashkim spoke unto Pharaoh, saying, I do remember my faults this day.
10 Pharaoh was in wrath with his avadim, and put me b’mishmar (in custody) in the bais sar hatabbachim, both me and the sar ha’ofim;
11 And we dreamed a chalom in the same lailah, I and he; and each chalom we dreamed had its own pitron (interpretation).
12 And there was there with us a na’ar Ivri, eved to the sar hatabbachim; and we told him, and he interpreted to us chalomoteinu (our dreams); to each according to his chalom he did interpret.
13 And it was, just as he interpreted to us, so it came to pass; me he restored unto mine ken (post), and him he hanged.
14 Then Pharaoh sent and summoned Yosef, and they brought him hastily out of the bor (dungeon); and he shaved, and changed his clothes, and came in unto Pharaoh.
15 And Pharaoh said unto Yosef, I have dreamed a chalom, and there is no poter (interpreter) for it; and I have heard it said of thee, that thou canst understand a chalom to interpret it.
16 And Yosef answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me; Elohim shall give Pharaoh an answer of shalom.
17 And Pharaoh said unto Yosef, In my chalom, hineni, I stood upon the bank of the Nile;
18 And, hinei, there came up out of the Nile seven cows beri’ot basar (fat in body) and sleek of form; and they grazed by the riverbank.
19 And, hinei, seven other cows came up after them, dalot (poor, scrawny, thin) and ra’ot to’ar me’od (very ugly in appearance) and lean-fleshed, such as I never saw in kol Eretz Mitzrayim, unacceptably bad;
20 And the lean and the ra’ot cows did eat up the first seven fat cows;
21 And when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them; but they were still rah in appearance, as at the beginning. So I awoke.
22 And I saw in my chalom, and, hinei, seven heads of grain came up on one stalk, mele’ot (full) and tovot (good);
23 And, hinei, seven heads of grain, withered, thin, and scorched with the east wind, tzomechot (sprung up) after them;
24 And the thin heads of grain devoured the seven tov heads of grain; and I told this unto the chartummi (magicians); but there was none that could explain it to me.
25 And Yosef said unto Pharaoh, The chalom of Pharaoh is echad: HaElohim hath revealed to Pharaoh what He is about to do.
26 The seven good cows are seven shanim; and the seven good heads of grain are seven shanim. The chalom is echad.
27 And the seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are sheva shanim; and the seven empty heads of grain scorched by the east wind are sheva shnei ra’av (seven years of famine).
28 This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh; What HaElohim is about to do He showeth unto Pharaoh.
29 Hinei, there come sheva shanim of sava gadol (great fullness, plenty, abundance) throughout kol Eretz Mitzrayim.
30 And there shall arise after them sheva shnei ra’av (seven years of famine) and kol hasava (all abundance) shall be forgotten in Eretz Mitzrayim; and the ra’av (famine) shall consume the land;
31 And the sava shall not be known in the land by reason of that ra’av (famine) following; for it shall be kaved me’od (very grievous).
32 And for that the chalom was doubled unto Pharaoh; it is because the thing is [decidedly] established by HaElohim, and HaElohim will shortly bring it to pass.
33 Now therefore let Pharaoh select an ish navon and chochom (a man discerning and wise) and set him over Eretz Mitzrayim.
34 Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint pekidim (officers, overseers, commissioners) over the land, and take up the fifth part [of the harvest] of Eretz Mitzrayim in the sheva shnei hasava.
35 And let them gather kol ochel of those shanim hatovot that come, and store up grain under the yad Pharaoh, and let them be shomer over ochel in the cities.
36 And that ochel shall be for reserves for the land against the sheva shnei hara’av, which shall be in Eretz Mitzrayim; that the land perish not through the ra’av.
37 And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his avadim.
38 And Pharaoh said unto his avadim, Can we find such an ish as this is, an ish in whom is the Ruach Elohim?
39 And Pharaoh said unto Yosef, Forasmuch as Elohim hath showed thee all this, there is none so navon (discerning) and chochom (wise) as thou art;
40 Thou shalt be over my bais (palace), and according unto thy mouth shall all my people order themselves; only with respect to the kisse will I be greater than thou.
41 And Pharaoh said unto Yosef, See, I have set thee over kol Eretz Mitzrayim.
42 And Pharaoh took off his taba’at (signet ring) from his yad, and put it upon yad Yosef, and arrayed him in garments of fine linen, and put a chain of zahav around his neck;
43 And he made him to ride in the second merkavah which he had; and they cried before him, Avrech! And he put him over kol Eretz Mitzrayim.
44 And Pharaoh said unto Yosef, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his yad or regel in kol Eretz Mitzrayim.
45 And Pharaoh called shem Yosef Zaphnat Pa’neach; and he gave him as isha Asenat Bat Poti Phera kohen of On. And Yosef went out over all Eretz Mitzrayim.
46 And Yosef was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh Melech Mitzrayim. And Yosef went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout kol Eretz Mitzrayim.
47 And in the sheva shnei hasava the land brought forth by handfuls.
48 And he gathered up kol ochel of the sheva shanim, which were in Eretz Mitzrayim, and laid up the ochel in the cities; the ochel of the sadeh, which surrounded every city, laid he up in the same.
49 And Yosef gathered grain as the chol (sand) of the yam, very much, until he stopped counting; for it was without mispar (number).
50 And unto Yosef were born two banim before the shnat ra’av came, which Asenat Bat Poti Phera kohen of On bore unto him.
51 And Yosef called the shem of the bechor Menasheh: For Elohim, said he nashani, (hath made me forget) all my amal, and kol bais Avi.
52 And the shem of the second called he Ephrayim: For Elohim hifrani (hath caused me to be fruitful) in the eretz of my oni (suffering).
53 And the sheva shnei hasava that was in Eretz Mitzrayim were ended.
54 And the sheva shnei hara’av began to come, just as Yosef had said; and the ra’av was in all lands; but in kol Eretz Mitzrayim there was lechem.
55 And when kol Eretz Mitzrayim was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for lechem; and Pharaoh said unto kol Mitzrayim, Go unto Yosef; what he saith to you, do.
56 And the ra’av (famine) was over kol pnei ha’aretz; and Yosef opened all that was in them, and sold unto the Mitzrayim; and the ra’av (famine) became severe in Eretz Mitzrayim.
57 And kol HaAretz (all the world) came into Mitzrayim to Yosef to buy grain; because that the ra’av (famine) was so chazak in kol HaAretz.

Bereshis 41 Commentary

Chapter 41

Pharaoh's dreams. (1-8) Joseph interprets Pharaoh's dreams. (9-32) Joseph's counsel, He is highly advanced. (33-45) Joseph's children, The beginning of the famine. (46-57)

Verses 1-8 The means of Joseph's being freed from prison were Pharaoh's dreams, as here related. Now that God no longer speaks to us in that way, it is no matter how little we either heed dreams, or tell them. The telling of foolish dreams can make no better than foolish talk. But these dreams showed that they were sent of God; when he awoke, Pharaoh's spirit was troubled.

Verses 9-32 God's time for the enlargement of his people is the fittest time. If the chief butler had got Joseph to be released from prison, it is probable he would have gone back to the land of the Hebrews. Then he had neither been so blessed himself, nor such a blessing to his family, as afterwards he proved. Joseph, when introduced to Pharaoh, gives honour to God. Pharaoh had dreamed that he stood upon the bank of the river Nile, and saw the kine, both the fat ones, and the lean ones, come out of the river. Egypt has no rain, but the plenty of the year depends upon the overflowing of the river Nile. See how many ways Providence has of dispensing its gifts; yet our dependence is still the same upon the First Cause, who makes every creature what it is to us, be it rain or river. See to what changes the comforts of this life are subject. We cannot be sure that to-morrow shall be as this day, or next year as this. We must learn how to want, as well as how to abound. Mark the goodness of God in sending the seven years of plenty before those of famine, that provision might be made. The produce of the earth is sometimes more, and sometimes less; yet, take one with another, he that gathers much, has nothing over; and he that gathers little, has no lack, ( Exodus 16:18 ) . And see the perishing nature of our worldly enjoyments. The great harvests of the years of plenty were quite lost, and swallowed up in the years of famine; and that which seemed very much, yet did but just serve to keep the people alive. There is bread which lasts to eternal life, which it is worth while to labour for. They that make the things of this world their good things, will find little pleasure in remembering that they have received them.

Verses 33-45 Joseph gave good advice to Pharaoh. Fair warning should always be followed by good counsel. God has in his word told us of a day of trial before us, when we shall need all the grace we can have. Now, therefore, provide accordingly. Pharaoh gave Joseph an honourable testimony. He is a man in whom the spirit of God is; and such men ought to be valued. Pharaoh puts upon Joseph marks of honour. He gave him such a name as spoke the value he had for him, Zaphnath-paaneah, "a revealer of secrets." This preferment of Joseph encourages all to trust in God. Some translate Joseph's new name, "the saviour of the world." The brightest glories, even of the upper world, are put upon Christ, the highest trust lodged in his hand, and all power given him, both in heaven and earth.

Verses 46-57 In the names of his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, Joseph owned the Divine providence. 1. He was made to forget his misery. 2. He was made fruitful in the land of his affliction. The seven plenteous years came, and were ended. We ought to look forward to the end of the days, both of our prosperity and of our opportunity. We must not be secure in prosperity, nor slothful in making good use of opportunity. Years of plenty will end; what thy hand finds to do, do it; and gather in gathering time. The dearth came, and the famine was not only in Egypt, but in other lands. Joseph was diligent in laying up, while the plenty lasted. He was prudent and careful in giving out, when the famine came. Joseph was engaged in useful and important labours. Yet it was in the midst of this his activity that his father Jacob said, Joseph is not! What a large portion of our troubles would be done away if we knew the whole truth! Let these events lead us to Jesus. There is a famine of the bread of life throughout the whole earth. Go to Jesus, and what he bids you, do. Attend to His voice, apply to him; he will open his treasures, and satisfy with goodness the hungry soul of every age and nation, without money and without price. But those who slight this provision must starve, and his enemies will be destroyed.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO GENESIS 41

In this chapter are related Pharaoh's dreams, which his magicians could not interpret, Ge 41:1-9, upon which the chief butler now remembering Joseph, recommended him to Pharaoh as an interpreter, having had an happy experience of him as such himself, Ge 41:10-13, when Joseph was sent for out of prison; and Pharaoh having related his dreams, he interpreted them of seven years of plenty, and seven years of famine, that should be in the land of Egypt, Ge 41:14-32; and having done, he gave his advice to provide in the years of plenty against the years of famine, and proposed a scheme for doing it, which was approved of by Pharaoh and his ministers, Ge 41:33-37; and Joseph himself was pitched upon as the most proper person to execute it, and was appointed chief over the kingdom next to Pharaoh, who gave him a new name and a wife upon this occasion, Ge 41:38-45; accordingly, in the years of plenty he took a tour throughout the whole land, and gathered and laid up food in vast quantities in every city, Ge 41:46-49; an account is given of two sons born to Joseph, and of their names, Ge 41:50-52; and of the seven years of famine, beginning to come on at the end of the seven years of plenty, which brought great distress on the land of Egypt, and the countries round about, who all came to Joseph to buy corn, Ge 41:53-57.

Bereshis 41 Commentaries