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.
3) Christ made himself nothing, served others selfishly, became obedient to God’s will and death. Joseph served Potiphar and the jail. He was nothing in their eyes, a Hebrew slave. He acted selflessly by refusing to sleep with Potiphar’s wife and take any advantage of his master. He gave God the credit for it all. He interpreted the dreams of the cupbearer and the baker according to God’s will and noticed they were down. He asked to interpret. He showed compassion.
4) He noticed the cupbearer and the baker were sad and asked them why. Then he interpreted their dreams, asking only that they remember him. Eventually, the cupbearer did remember Joseph and recommended him to Pharaoh to interpret his dreams.
5) That the thin cows ate up the fat cows but did not change their appearance (verse 21). They were still thin.
6) Even before he interpreted the dreams, Joseph told Pharaoh that he could not interpret the dreams but God could and He will give Pharaoh the answer he is seeking (verse 16). Throughout the interpretation, Joseph says repeatedly that God has revealed His will to Pharaoh (verse 25, 28) and that God has firmly decided the matter (verse 32).
Conclusions: Didn’t like the Philippians verses (which we’ve looked at before in this study). Felt it didn’t add anything and that this passage is rich enough. The verses were too limiting. Christ and Joseph have dozens of similarities but we are restricted to only a few mentioned in Philippians. Would have liked to have seen a general question so we could come up with our own.
The best part is watching Joseph give God ALL the credit, which is rare these days. No one hardly ever mentions God even when they are talking let alone giving Him the glory for everything in their lives (I would say Tim Tebow is the best known exception to this). It’s refreshing to see and gives us a great, great example to live up to.
When God’s timing is right, events happen quickly. Joseph’s whole life changes in a matter of hours and he is now the second most powerful man in the known world. God uses the times when we imagine nothing is happening in our lives to prepare us for these moments when EVERYTHING happens.
Compare this Joseph with 17 year-old Joseph who comes running blindly to his brothers about a dream he has had. He never mentions God when he is bragging about these dreams. Here, it is all God–from God, by God, and for God.
Gifts and talent take time to develop as does character. Here, we can see the difference between these two Josephs.
Fun Fact: This is the first mention in the Bible of the Holy Spirit being in a man.