Genesis 41:1-24


Verse 1-8, 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.

(It's probably a good thing Joseph wasn't let out of prison, for he would have gone back to Canaan, instead of staying in Egypt and fulfilling God's plans for him and his family.)

I.    Verse 1-8 - Pharaoh's dream.

A.     This is the third time dreams affect Joseph's life.

1.       His dreams about his family bowing down to him was the first.

2.       The dreams of the baker and butler was the second.

3.       Pharaoh's dreams was the third.

B.     Two full years went by.

1.       I know Joseph was in a hurry to get out of the dungeon, but God was not in a hurry.

2.       God does keep up with the time we spend in a bad situation, whether we think He knows or not.

3.       God has a schedule for our life, and we cannot get ahead or behind His schedule.

C.     Pharaoh's dream is in two parts.

1.       The kine (heifer, or cow).

a.      The seven fat kine came out of the river and fed in a meadow.

b.      The seven skinny kine also came up out of the river but instead of grazing in the meadow, they ate the seven fat kine.  (This is certainly not normal!)

c.      In verse 21, Pharaoh adds that the skinny kine didn't gain any weight after eating the fat kine.

2.       The ears (I don't know what kind of grain).

a.      There were seven good ears on one stalk.

b.      The seven thin ears came up after them.

c.      Blasted with the east wind - a hot wind that literally withers every plant in its path.

d.      The thin ears didn't outgrow the good ears, but devoured the good ears.  (This is certainly not normal!)

D.     Pharaoh's reaction to the dreams.

1.       Eccl. 5:7, For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.  There is no profit in trying to interpret our dreams.

2.       After dreaming the first dream, he awoke.  This happens so Pharaoh will have a remembrance of the dream.

3.       He sleeps again, and dreams the second time, after which he awoke.  This happens so Pharaoh will have a remembrance of the dream.

4.       "...behold, it was a dream." - The dream was so real, it appeared at first to be reality.

5.       His spirit was troubled.  Pharaoh is probably lost, but God troubles His spirit (inner most being) in order to perform His will.

E.      Pharaoh seeks the interpretation.

1.       The magicians are not "sleight of hand artists", but the most highly educated men in the land.  Wise men are his counselors and advisors.

2.       They could not interpret the dream.

a.      The fact that these people admitted they couldn't interpret the dream reveals that Pharaoh had developed a good relationship between himself and his people.

b.      It was one of mutual trust and respect, not one of fear and trickery.

c.      It is amazing they didn't make something up.

d.      It is not so amazing when we consider that God wouldn't let them make something up because He has determined that Joseph will interpret these dreams.


Verse 9-24 - Joseph leaves the dungeon


Verse 9-13, 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.

A.     Verse 9-13 - The butler remembers his fault.

1.       His fault in not pleading Joseph's case two years ago.

2.       Not his fault before Pharaoh that caused him to be cast into prison.  The butler will put that as far out of his mind as possible.

B.     Desperation caused the butler to tell Pharaoh about a person in the dungeon.

1.       Normally, a person in jail wouldn't be considered at all.

2.       Notice the wording of the butler's speech.

3.       He told the story without obligation himself to recommending Joseph.

4.       He doesn't want to be put back in the dungeon for a bad recommendation.


Verse 14-16, 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.

C.     Verse 14-16 - Joseph before Pharaoh.

1.       Pharaoh is so desperate he doesn't care who interprets the dream, or where they are from.

2.       He will even accept a Hebrew, which according to Gen. 43:32, is an abomination to the Egyptians!

D.     Joseph must be prepared to go before Pharaoh.

1.       He will present himself before Pharaoh in the accepted way.

2.       It is amazing that people want to appear before God in a way that suits themselves, not that suits God.

3.       Proper dress before Pharaoh and before God (in His services) is essential to be accepted.  (I should remark that God is everywhere, and it would be an excellent idea for people to dress in such a way as to be able to present themselves before God at a moments notice.)

4.       Having a beard was acceptable in Canaan (and before God), but not in Egypt.

E.      Pharaoh and Joseph's conversation.

1.       Pharaoh erroneously places the skill of interpreting dreams with Joseph.

2.       Joseph corrects this by directing Pharaoh's attention away from himself and toward God.

3.       "God" is not "Yahweh", the Hebrew Jehovah; but "Elohim", the God of creation.

4.       Joseph is not compromising his belief in Jehovah, but is wisely presenting the truth of God as far as Pharaoh can accept it.

5.       After 12 years and more of injustice to his person, Joseph is determined that he will suffer more injustice if necessary, but the relationship between himself and God will be clearly understood.

6.       Those that take care of their relationship with God will have a proper relationship with others.

Verse 17-24, 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.

F.      Verse 17-24 - Pharaoh repeats the dream.

1.       There is very little difference in the two tellings of the dream.

2.       Reading the two different tellings gives us a clearer understanding of the details of the dream.