Summary of passage: Two years after Joseph interpreted the cupbearer and the baker’s dreams, Pharaoh had a dream where 7 cows emerged from the Nile River that were fat and then 7 gaunt cows emerged from the Nile and ate up the fat cows. He had a second dream where 7 heads of healthy grain grew on a stalk. After them 7 thin grains sprouted and ate up the healthy grains.
No one could interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. At this point the cupbearer finally remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh how he had successfully interpreted their dreams. Pharaoh sent for Joseph and after cleaning up, he was presented to him.
Pharaoh told Joseph he had heard he could interpret dreams. Joseph immediately said he couldn’t but God could.
Pharaoh repeated his dreams to Joseph who told Pharaoh that God had revealed to him what He was about to do. The 7 good cows and the 7 good grains represent 7 years and the 7 lean cows and 7 worthless grain are 7 years as well. They represent 7 years of good crops and then 7 years of famine. God gave Pharaoh the dreams for the matter has been firmly decided by God and it will happen soon.
Joseph told Pharaoh to look for a discerning and wise man to be in charge of the land of Egypt. Take a fifth of Egypt’s harvest during the good years and store up the grain for the bad years so that the country will not be ruined by the famine.
Pharaoh appoints Joseph as this man who is discerning and wise and Godly to be second in command of Egypt and in charge of all the land. He gives Joseph his ring, dresses him in fine linen and gives him a gold chain. He rode in Pharaoh’s chariot as his second-in-command to announce it to the people.
No one will lift hand or foot without Joseph’s word. He gives him the Egyptian name of Zaphenath-Paneah and an Egyptian wife named Asenath.
Joseph was 30 years old when this happened. Joseph traveled all over Egypt, collecting the grain that was so much Joseph stopped keeping records.
Joseph had 2 sons named Manasseh (forget) and Ephraim (fruitful).
The 7 years of famine began but Egypt had food and Joseph opened the warehouses and distributed the food. The famine was severe in all the world so many foreigners came to Egypt to buy grain as well.
7) Verse 16: Learn to give God the credit for everything
Verse 25: Learn that God reveals Himself in dreams at times.
Verse 28: God reveals the future in dreams at times.
Verse 32: Everything happens because of God. God does everything, controls everything.
Verse 38: The Spirit of God is seen in people. It dwells in people and shines forth.
Verse 39: God blesses those who follow Him; who give Him the credit; who speak His truth. He reveals Himself to those who are seeking.
Verses 51 & 52: Joseph gives his children names that glorify God so Joseph will remember what God has done for him. God made him forget his trouble and be fruitful in the land. He honored God with these names.
8a) The dreams are the same. Both reveal what God is about to do. The 7 good cows and the 7 good heads of grain represent 7 years. The 7 lean cows and the 7 worthless heads of grain represent 7 years. The 7 years stand for 7 years of abundance and 7 years of famine. The famine will be so severe that the 7 years of abundance will be forgotten. God will do this soon and that is why there are 2 dreams.
b) Look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land. Let Pharaoh appoint commissions to take a fifth of the harvest during the 7 years of abundance. Then they should collect all the food and store it for the years of famine. This food is to be held for the years of famine so that Egypt may survive.
9) “You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” Verse 40. “I hereby put you in charge of the whole of Egypt. Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. He made him ride in the chariot as his second-in-command…He put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt (verses 41-43).
“I am Pharaoh but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all of Egypt. He gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah (Verses 44-5). “Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, ‘Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.’” (verse 55)
10a) He advises Pharaoh on what to do–showing utter confidence in God and God’s plan of putting him there. He is honest and does his job without bribes or abusing his power. He seems to lead an ordinary family life without letting power or money go to his head.
b) Personal Question. My answer: That God was the center of his life–not success. Joseph never wavered from God.
c) Personal Question. My answer: To give God all the credit for successes in life and to keep Him at the center no matter what may come your way.
Conclusions: Questions 8 & 9 was just utter tediousness. I might as well have typed out the whole passage.
Everyone in my family is looking forward to Joseph and he is our favorite. Why? Well, he’s got a great story, right? He gets abandoned by his family, thrown into slavery, falsely accused and thrown in prison, and then is redeemed and rises to be the second most powerful man in the known world. Great story for the movies, right, but this one is real.
But it’s more than just the story. After studying all the patriarchs who all had serious character flaws and sins we meet Joseph who somehow manages to lead a God-centered life HIS ENTIRE LIFE. There are no major sins he commits. He is guilty of boasting in his youth–minor compared to the rest of them.
He is the example we all should follow. How to roll with the punches, crediting God in the good and the bad, and doing God’s work your entire life. He inspires us and gives us hope, showing us that it is possible to commit your life completely and totally to God despite man’s sinful nature and propensity to selfishness and self-rule. I CAN do this despite all of my sins. I can do this and win–win for God, by God, and through God.
The parallels to Christ are uncanny. Sacrificing everything to save your people. Suffering. Being exalted in the end.
Yet Joseph was human. Like you and me. And if he could do it, then so can I.