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Genesis 41:1-44:17 Tree of Life Version (TLV)

Parashat Miketz

Exalted by Pharaoh

41 Now at the end of two whole years, Pharaoh was dreaming. Behold, there he was standing by the Nile. Then behold, there were seven cows, good-looking and beefy, and they grazed in the reeds. Then behold, there were seven other cows coming up after them from the Nile, ugly and emaciated, and they stood beside the cows at the edge of the Nile. Then the ugly emaciated cows ate the seven good-looking beefy cows—and Pharaoh woke up.

Then he slept and dreamed a second time: behold, there were seven ears of corn coming up on one stalk, plump and good. Then behold, there were seven ears of corn, thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouting up after them. Then the seven thin ears of corn swallowed up the seven plump and full ears of corn. Then Pharaoh woke up—it was a dream.

But in the morning he was disturbed in his spirit. So he sent and called for the fortune-telling priests of Egypt and all its wise men and Pharaoh told them his dream. But no one could interpret them for Pharaoh.

Then the chief of the cupbearers spoke with Pharaoh saying, “I am reminded of my sins today. 10 Pharaoh had been angry with his servants and put me in the custody of the house of the commander of the bodyguards—me and the chief of the bakers. 11 Then we each dreamed a dream on the same night, he and I, we both dreamed, yet each dream had its own interpretation. 12 Now there with us was a Hebrew youth—a slave belonging to the commander of the bodyguards. When we told him, he interpreted our dreams for us, each man’s dream he interpreted. 13 Then it came about, just as he interpreted for us, so it happened. Me he restored to my position, but him he hung.

14 Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph. So they quickly fetched him from the pit. He shaved, changed his clothes, and came to Pharaoh. 15 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I dreamed a dream and there’s no one to interpret it. I heard about you—it’s said that you can listen to a dream to interpret it.”

16 Then Joseph answered Pharaoh saying, “It’s not within me. God will answer with shalom for Pharaoh.”

17 So Pharaoh said to Joseph: “In my dream, there I was, standing by the bank of the Nile. 18 And to my surprise, out of the Nile seven cows were coming up, beefy and good-looking, and they grazed in the reeds. 19 Then all of a sudden, there were seven other cows coming up after them, feeble, very ugly and emaciated. I’ve never seen the likes of these in the whole land of Egypt for ugliness. 20 Then the emaciated and ugly cows ate the first seven beefy cows. 21 When they were devoured, one couldn’t tell that they had been devoured. Their appearance was as ugly as it was at first. Then I woke up. 22 Then I saw in my dream, there were seven ears of corn coming up on one stalk, plump and good. 23 Then suddenly, there were seven ears of corn, dried up, thin, and scorched by the east wind, sprouting up after them. 24 Then the thin ears of corn swallowed up the seven good ears of corn. So I told the fortune-telling priests, but no one could provide me with an explanation.”

25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s dream is one. God has told Pharaoh what He is about to do. 26 The seven good cows: they are seven years. Also the seven ears of corn: they’re seven years. It is one dream. 27 The seven emaciated and ugly cows coming up after them: they’re seven years. Also the seven empty ears of corn scorched by the east wind: there will be seven years of famine. 28 It is the word that I have already said to Pharaoh: what God is about to do, he has shown to Pharaoh. 29 Seven years of abundance are about to come in the whole land of Egypt. 30 Then seven years of famine will come up after them and all the abundance in the land of Egypt will be forgotten and the famine will consume the land. 31 So the abundance in the land will be unknown because of the famine that follows, for it will be a very oppressive famine.

32 “Now as for repeating Pharaoh’s dream twice: it’s because the matter has been settled by God and God will quickly make it happen. 33 So now, let Pharaoh select a man discerning and wise and set him in authority over the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh act by appointing administrators over the land and take a fifth portion from the land of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35 Then let them gather all the food from these good years that are coming, and let them store up grain under Pharaoh’s hand as food for the cities, so they may preserve it. 36 Let the food be held in reserve for the land for the seven years of famine that is coming upon the land of Egypt. Then the land will not be annihilated by the famine.”

37 Now the plan seemed good in the eyes of Pharaoh as well as all his servants. 38 Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can a man like this be found, one in whom is God’s Spirit?”

39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. 40 You! You will be over my house, and all my people will pay homage to you[a]. Only in relation to the throne will I be greater than you.”

41 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I appoint you over the whole land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, clothed him with fine linen garments, and put a chain of gold around his neck. 43 Then he had him ride in the chariot as second-in-command, the one that belonged to him, and they called out before him, “Kneel down!” So he appointed him over the whole land of Egypt. 44 Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, yet without your permission no one will lift up his hand or his foot in the whole land of Egypt.” 45 Then Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenath-paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, as his wife. Then Joseph went out, in charge of the land of Egypt.

46 Now Joseph was 30 years old when he began serving as representative of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and passed throughout the whole land of Egypt. 47 During the seven years of abundance, the land produced in heaps. 48 So he gathered all the food in the land of Egypt during the seven years, and put food in the cities; the food from the city fields surrounding the cities he put in each city. 49 So Joseph stored up grain like the sand of the sea, vast amounts, until he stopped keeping record because it was beyond counting.

50 Two sons also had been born to Joseph before the year of famine came, born to him by Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. 51 Joseph named his first-born Manasseh, “because God has caused me to forget all my trouble and all my father’s house.” 52 And the second he named Ephraim, “because God has made me fruitful in the land of my oppression.”

53 Then the seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine started to come—just as Joseph had said. So there was famine in all the lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was bread. 55 When the whole land of Egypt suffered famine, the people cried out to Pharaoh for food, and Pharaoh said to all of Egypt, “Go to Joseph. Do whatever he tells you.” 56 The famine was over all the entire land, so Joseph opened up all that was among them and sold grain to Egypt. Then the famine became severe in the land of Egypt. 57 Yet the whole world came to Egypt to buy grain—to Joseph—because the famine was severe in the whole world.

Joseph Meets His Brothers

42 Now Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, so Jacob said to his sons, “Why are you looking at each other?” Then he said, “Look! I’ve heard that there’s grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some grain for us there so that we’ll live and not die.”

So Joseph’s brothers went down, ten of them, to buy grain from Egypt. But Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, Jacob did not send, for he said, “An accident might happen to him.”

The sons of Israel went to buy grain among the others who were coming, because the famine was in the land of Canaan. Now Joseph was the ruler over the land. He was the provider of grain for all the people of the earth. Then Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down to him with faces to the ground. When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he made himself unrecognizable to them. Then he spoke harshly and said to them, “Where have you come from?”

“From the land of Canaan,” they said, “to buy grain as food.”

Though Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. Then Joseph remembered the dreams he had dreamed about them. He said to them, “You’re spies! You’ve come to see the undefended places in the land.”

10 “No, my lord!” they said to him. “Your servants came to buy grain as food. 11 All of us—we are sons of one man. We’re honest. Your servants have never been spies.”

12 “Not so,” he said to them. “Rather, you’ve come to see the undefended places in the land.”

13 But they said, “We your servants are twelve brothers, sons of one man in the land of Canaan. Look, the youngest is with our father today and the other one is no more.”

14 Joseph said to them, “It’s just like I told you when I said, ‘You’re spies.’ 15 By this you’ll be tested: by the life of Pharaoh, you’ll not leave from here until your youngest brother comes here! 16 Send one from among yourselves to get your brother, while you remain confined, in order to test your words, to see whether the truth is with you. If not, by the life of Pharaoh, you’re definitely spies!”

17 So he put them together in custody for three days. 18 Then Joseph said to them on the third day, “Do this and you will live. I fear God. 19 If you’re honest, let one of your brothers remain as a prisoner in the guardhouse where you’ve been, while you, go and bring grain for the hunger in your homes. 20 And your youngest brother, bring to me so that your words can be verified—and you won’t die.” So they did.

21 Then each man said to his brother, “We’re truly guilty for our brother. We saw the distress of his soul when he begged us for mercy, but we didn’t listen. That’s why this distress has come to us.”

22 Reuben answered them and said, “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t sin against the boy’? But you didn’t listen. Now, see how his blood is now being accounted for.”

23 They did not know that Joseph was listening, since there was an interpreter between them. 24 He turned away from them and wept. When he turned back to them and spoke to them, he took Simeon from them and tied him up before their eyes.

25 Then Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to return each man’s money to his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. So it was done for them. 26 Then they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left from there. 27 As one of them opened his sack to give fodder to his donkey at the lodge, he saw his money—behold, it was in the opening of his bag. 28 So he said to his brothers, “My money has been returned! Look, it’s in my bag.”

Their hearts sank. Trembling, each one turned to his brother and said, “What is this that God has done to us?”

29 When they came to their father Jacob, in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them, saying, 30 “The man, the lord of the land, spoke with us harshly, and took us as spies of the land. 31 But we said to him, ‘We’re honest. We’ve never been spies. 32 We are twelve brothers, sons of our father. One is no more and the youngest is with our father today in the land of Canaan.’ 33 Then the man, the lord of the land, said to us, ‘By this I’ll know if you’re honest: leave one of your brothers with me. As for the hunger of your homes: take and go! 34 Then bring your youngest brother to me, so that I may know you are not spies, but you are honest. I’ll give you back your brother and you can move about freely in the land.’”

35 Now as they were emptying their sacks, behold, there was each man’s bundle of money in his sack. When they saw their money bundles, they and their father, they were afraid.

36 Then their father Jacob said to them, “You’ve made me childless! Joseph is no more. Now Simeon is gone, and next you’ll take Benjamin! Everything is against me!”

37 Then Reuben spoke to his father, saying, “You can put my two sons to death if I don’t bring him back to you. Put him in my hand and I—I will return him to you.”

38 But he said, “My son will not go down with you—for his brother is dead and he alone remains. And if harm should happen to him along the way you’re going, you’ll bring my grey hair down to Sheol in grief.”

Judah Pledges for Benjamin

43 Now the famine was severe in the land. When they finished eating the grain they had brought from Egypt their father said to them, “Go back. Buy us a little food.”

But Judah said to him, “The man warned us firmly saying, ‘You won’t see my face unless your brother is with you.’ If you send our brother with us, we will go down and buy grain for you for food. But if you won’t send him, we won’t go down, because the man said to us, ‘You won’t see my face unless your brother is with you.’”

Then Israel said, “Why did you do evil to me by telling the man that you have another brother?”

They said, “The man questioned particularly about us and about our relatives saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have a brother?’ So we spoke to him on the basis of these words. How could we possibly know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down’”?

Then Judah said to his father Israel, “Please, send the boy with me and we’ll get up and go, so that we’ll live and not die—we and you, and our children. I myself will be his pledge. You can demand him back from my own hand. If I don’t bring him back to you and place him before you, then you can blame me all my days. 10 If we had not delayed, we could have returned twice by now.”

11 Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the best products of the land in your bags, and bring an offering down to the man—a little balsam and a little honey, gum and myrrh, pistachios and almonds. 12 Also take in your hand a double portion of silver, and bring back in your hand the silver that had been returned in the mouth of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake. 13 Take your brother too—now, get up, go back to the man! 14 May El Shaddai grant you mercy before the man, so that he may release your other brother to you, along with Benjamin. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”

The Brothers Return With Benjamin

15 Then the men took this offering. They also took the double portion of silver in their hand, as well as Benjamin. So they got up and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph. 16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the one over his house, “Bring the men into the house. Slaughter an animal and prepare it, for the men will eat with me this afternoon. 17 So the man did as Joseph said, and the man brought the men into Joseph’s house. 18 But the men were afraid, because they had been brought into Joseph’s house. They said, “It’s because of the silver that was returned to our sacks the first time that we are being brought in—to pounce on us and fall on us and take us as slaves, along with our donkeys.”

19 So they approached the man who was over Joseph’s house and spoke to him at the entrance of the house. 20 “I beg your pardon, my lord!” they said. “We indeed came down on the previous occasion to buy grain for food. 21 When we came to the lodge and opened our sacks, behold, there was each man’s money at the opening of the sack, the full amount of our money. So we’ve returned it in our hand. 22 Moreover, we’ve brought down other money in our hand to buy grain for food. We didn’t know who put our money into our sacks.”

23 “Be at peace,” he replied. “Don’t be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks. Your money had come to me.”

Then he brought Simeon out to them, 24 and the man brought the men into Joseph’s house, gave them water and they washed their feet. He also provided fodder for their donkeys. 25 So they prepared the offering for Joseph’s coming at noon, for they had heard that they were going to eat there. 26 When Joseph came home, they brought him the offering in their hand into the house, and they bowed down to the ground to him. 27 Then he asked if they were well, and said, “Is he well—your elderly father that you told me about? Is he still alive?”

28 “Your servant, our father, is well,” they said. “He’s still alive.” Then they knelt and bowed down.

29 Then he lifted his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother whom you mentioned to me?” Then he said, “May God be gracious to you, my son.” 30 Then Joseph hurried out because his compassion grew warm and tender toward his brother so that he wanted to cry. So he went into an inner room and wept there.

31 Then he washed his face, came out, and controlled himself. “Serve the food,” he said. 32 So they served him by himself, them by themselves, and the Egyptians who were eating with him by themselves (for Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews because it was an abomination to Egyptians). 33 They were seated before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth. The men looked at each other in astonishment. 34 Then portions were brought to them from before him—and Benjamin’s portion was five times larger than any of their portions. Yet they drank and made merry with him.

Joseph Tests His Brothers

44 Then he commanded the one over his household saying, “Fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they are able to carry and put money in the opening of each man’s sack. Put my cup, the silver cup, in the opening of the sack of the youngest along with his grain money.” So he did as Joseph told him.

When the morning dawned, the men were sent off, they and their donkeys. They left the city and did not get far, when Joseph said to the one over his household, “Get up, go after the men. When you catch up to them, say to them, “Why have you repaid evil for good? Isn’t this the one from which my lord drinks? He even uses it especially to discern by divination. What you’ve done is evil!” So he caught up to them and spoke these words to them.

They said to him, “Why does my lord say such things? Far be it from your servants to do such a thing as this. Look, the money we found in the opening of our bags, we brought back to you from the land of Canaan. So how could we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? Whoever among your servants is found with it, let him die! And we, we’ll also be my lord’s slaves.”

10 “Even now let it be according to your words,” he said. “The one with whom it is found shall be my slave. But the rest of you shall be innocent.”

11 Then each man quickly lowered his sack to the ground and each man opened his sack. 12 He searched them beginning with the eldest and finishing with the youngest, and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13 Then they tore their clothing, and each one loaded up his donkey and they returned to the city.

14 When Judah and his brothers entered Joseph’s house, he was still there. They fell to the ground before him. 15 “What’s this deed you’ve done?” Joseph said to them, “Didn’t you know that a man like me can discern by divination?”

16 Then Judah said, “What can we say to my lord? What can we speak? How can we justify ourselves? God has exposed your servants’ guilt. We are now my lord’s slaves—both we as well as the one in whose hand the cup was found.”

17 But he said, “Far be it from me to do this. The one in whose hand the cup was found—he will be my slave. But you, go up to your father in peace.”

Footnotes:

  1. Genesis 41:40 Or, kiss your mouth.
Tree of Life Version (TLV)

Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.

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