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Genesis 41:1-44:17Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Parashah 10: Mikketz (At the end) 41:1–44:17

41 At the end of two years, Pharaoh had a dream: he was standing beside the Nile River; and there came up out of the river seven cows, sleek and fat; and they began feeding in swamp grass. After them, there came up out of the river seven more cows, miserable-looking and lean; and they stood by the other cows at the edge of the river. Then the miserable-looking and lean cows ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. At this point Pharaoh woke up. But he went to sleep again and dreamt a second time: seven full, ripe ears of grain grew out of a single stalk. After them, seven ears, thin and blasted by the east wind, sprang up. And the thin ears swallowed up the seven full, ripe ears. Then Pharaoh woke up and realized it had been a dream.

In the morning he found himself so upset that he summoned all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one there could interpret them for him. Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today reminds me of something wherein I am at fault: 10 Pharaoh was angry with his officials and put me in the prison of the house of the captain of the guard, me and the chief baker. 11 One night both I and he had dreams, and each man’s dream had its own meaning. 12 There was with us a young man, a Hebrew, a servant of the captain of the guard; and we told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us — he interpreted each man’s dream individually. 13 And it came about as he interpreted to us — I was restored to my office, and he was hanged.”

14 Then Pharaoh summoned Yosef, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon. He shaved himself, changed his clothes, and came in to Pharaoh.

(A: ii) 15 Pharaoh said to Yosef, “I had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it; but I’ve heard it said about you that when you hear a dream, you can interpret it.” 16 Yosef answered Pharaoh, “It isn’t in me. God will give Pharaoh an answer that will set his mind at peace.” (S: ii) 17 Pharaoh said to Yosef, “In my dream, I stood at the edge of the river; 18 and there came up out of the river seven cows, fat and sleek; and they began feeding in the swamp grass. 19 After them, there came up out of the river seven more cows, poor, miserable-looking and lean — I’ve never seen such bad-looking cows in all the land of Egypt! 20 Then the lean and miserable-looking cows ate up the first seven fat cows. 21 But after they had eaten them up, one couldn’t tell that they had eaten them; because they were as miserable-looking as before. At this point I woke up. 22 But I dreamed again and saw seven full, ripe ears of grain growing out of a single stalk. 23 After them, seven ears, thin and blasted by the east wind, sprang up. 24 And the thin ears swallowed up the seven ripe ears. I told this to the magicians, but none of them could explain it to me.”

25 Yosef said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are the same: God has told Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26 The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears of grain are seven years — the dreams are the same. 27 Likewise the seven lean and miserable-looking cows that came up after them are seven years, and also the seven empty ears blasted by the east wind — there will be seven years of famine. 28 This is what I told Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29 Here it is: there will be seven years of abundance throughout the whole land of Egypt; 30 but afterwards, there will come seven years of famine; and Egypt will forget all the abundance. The famine will consume the land, 31 and the abundance will not be known in the land because of the famine that will follow, because it will be truly terrible. 32 Why was the dream doubled for Pharaoh? Because the matter has been fixed by God, and God will shortly cause it to happen.

33 “Therefore, Pharaoh should look for a man both discreet and wise to put in charge of the land of Egypt. 34 Pharaoh should do this, and he should appoint supervisors over the land to receive a twenty percent tax on the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35 They should gather all the food produced during these good years coming up and set aside grain under the supervision of Pharaoh to be used for food in the cities, and they should store it. 36 This will be the land’s food supply for the seven years of famine that will come over the land of Egypt, so that the land will not perish as a result of the famine.”

37 The proposal seemed good both to Pharaoh and to all his officials. 38 Pharaoh said to his officials, “Can we find anyone else like him? The Spirit of God lives in him!”

(iii) 39 So Pharaoh said to Yosef, “Since God has shown you all this — there is no one as discerning and wise as you — 40 you will be in charge of my household; all my people will be ruled by what you say. Only when I rule from my throne will I be greater than you.” 41 Pharaoh said to Yosef, “Here, I place you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42 Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Yosef’s hand, had him clothed in fine linen with a gold chain around his neck 43 and had him ride in his second best chariot; and they cried before him, “Bow down!” Thus he placed him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. 44 Pharaoh said to Yosef, “I, Pharaoh, decree that without your approval no one is to raise his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt.” 45 Pharaoh called Yosef by the name Tzafnat-Pa‘neach and gave him as his wife Osnat the daughter of Poti-Fera priest of On. Then Yosef went out through all the land of Egypt.

46 Yosef was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt; then he left Pharaoh’s presence and traveled through all the land of Egypt. 47 During the seven years of abundance, the earth brought forth heaps of produce. 48 He collected all the food of these seven years in the land of Egypt and stored it in the cities — the food grown in the fields outside each city he stored in that city. 49 Yosef stored grain in quantities like the sand on the seashore, so much that they stopped counting, because it was beyond measure.

50 Two sons were born to Yosef before the year of famine came; Osnat the daughter of Poti-Fera priest of On bore them to him. 51 Yosef called the firstborn M’nasheh [causing to forget], “Because God has caused me to forget all the troubles I suffered at the hands of my family.” 52 The second he called Efrayim [fruit], “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my misfortune.”

(iv) 53 The seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt ended; 54 and the seven years of famine began to come, just as Yosef had said. There was famine in all lands, but throughout the land of Egypt there was food. 55 When the whole land of Egypt started feeling the famine, the people cried to Pharaoh for food, and Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Yosef, and do what he tells you to do.” 56 The famine was over all the earth, but then Yosef opened all the storehouses and sold food to the Egyptians, since the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57 Moreover all countries came to Egypt to Yosef to buy grain, because the famine was severe throughout the earth.

42 Now Ya‘akov saw that there was grain in Egypt; so Ya‘akov said to his sons, “Why are you staring at each other? Look,” he said, “I’ve heard that there’s grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us from there, so that we can stay alive and not die!” Thus Yosef’s ten brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt, except for Binyamin, Yosef’s brother. Ya‘akov did not send him with his brothers, because he was afraid something might happen to him.

The sons of Isra’el came to buy along with the others that came, since the famine extended to the land of Kena‘an. Yosef was governor over the land; it was he who sold to all the people of the land. Now when Yosef’s brothers came and prostrated themselves before him on the ground, Yosef saw his brothers and recognized them; but he acted toward them as if he were a stranger and spoke harshly with them. He asked them, “Where are you from?” They answered, “From the land of Kena‘an to buy food.” So Yosef recognized his brothers, but they didn’t recognize him.

Remembering the dreams he had had about them, Yosef said to them, “You are spies! You’ve come to spot our country’s weaknesses!” 10 “No, my lord,” they replied, “your servants have come to buy food. 11 We’re all the sons of one man, we’re upright men; your servants aren’t spies.” 12 “No,” he said to them, “you’ve come to spy out our country’s weaknesses.” 13 They said, “We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Kena‘an; the youngest stayed with our father, and another one is gone.” 14 “Just as I said,” replied Yosef, “you’re spies! 15 Here’s how you can prove you’re not lying: as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave here unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 Send one of you, and let him bring your brother. Meanwhile, you will be kept in custody. This will prove whether there is any truth in what you say. Otherwise, as Pharaoh lives, you are certainly spies.” 17 Then he put all of them together in prison for three days.

18 On the third day, Yosef said to them, “Do what I say, and stay alive, for I fear God. (v) 19 If you are upright men, let one of your brothers remain incarcerated in the prison you’re being kept in, while you go and carry grain back to relieve the famine in your homes. 20 But bring your youngest brother to me. In this way your statements will be verified, and you won’t die.”

So they did it. 21 They said to each other, “We are in fact guilty concerning our brother. He was in distress and pleaded with us; we saw it and wouldn’t listen. That’s why this distress has come upon us now.” 22 Re’uven answered them, “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t wrong the boy’? But you wouldn’t hear of it. Now comes the reckoning for his blood!” 23 They had no idea that Yosef understood them, since an interpreter was translating for them. 24 Yosef turned away from them and wept; then he returned and spoke to them. He took Shim‘on from among them and put him in prison before their eyes. 25 Next he ordered that their containers be filled with grain, that every man’s money be put back in his pack and that they be given provisions for the journey. When these things had been done for them, 26 they loaded their grain on their donkeys and departed.

27 But at camp that night, as one of them opened his pack to give fodder to his donkey, he noticed his money — there it was, just inside his pack. 28 He said to his brothers, “My money has been restored — there it is, right in my pack!” At that, their hearts sank; they turned, trembling, to one another and said, “What is this that God has done to us?”

29 They returned to Ya‘akov their father in the land of Kena‘an and told him all that had happened to them. 30 “The man, the lord of the land, spoke harshly with us. He took us for spies in his country. 31 We said to him, ‘We are upright men, we’re not spies; 32 we are twelve brothers, sons of our father; one is gone, and the youngest stayed with our father in the land of Kena‘an.’ 33 But the man, the lord of the land, said to us, ‘Here is how I will know that you are upright men: leave one of your brothers with me, take grain to relieve the famine in your homes, and go on your way; 34 but bring your youngest brother to me. By this I will know that you aren’t spies, but are upright men; then I will return your brother to you; and you will do business in the land.’”

35 Next, as they emptied their packs, there was each man’s bag of money in his pack; and when they and their father saw their bags of money, they became afraid. 36 Ya‘akov their father said to them, “You have robbed me of my children! Yosef is gone, Shim‘on is gone, now you’re taking Binyamin away — it all falls on me!” 37 Re’uven said to his father, “If I don’t bring him back to you, you can kill my own two sons! Put him in my care; I will return him to you.” 38 But he replied, “My son will not go down with you. His brother is dead, and he alone is left. If anything were to happen to him while traveling with you, you would bring my gray hair down to Sh’ol with grief.”

43 But the famine was severe in the land; so when they had eaten up the grain which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said to them, “Go again, buy us a little food.” Y’hudah said to him, “The man expressly warned us, ‘You will not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food; but if you will not send him, we will not go down; for the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face unless your brother is with you.’” Isra’el said, “Why did you bring such trouble my way by telling the man you had another brother?” They answered, “The man kept questioning us about ourselves and about our kinsmen. He asked, ‘Is your father still alive?’ ‘Do you have another brother?’ and we answered according to the literal meaning of his questions. How were we to know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down’?”

Y’hudah said to Isra’el his father, “Send the boy with me; and we will make preparations and leave; so that we may stay alive and not die, both we and you, and also our little ones. I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me responsible. If I fail to bring him to you and present him to your face, let me bear the blame forever. 10 Except for our lengthy delay, we would have been there again by now.”

11 Their father Isra’el answered them, “If that’s how it is, do this: take in your containers some of the land’s best products, and bring the man a gift — some healing resin, a little honey, aromatic gum, opium, pistachio nuts and almonds. 12 Take twice the amount of money with you; and return the money that came back with you in your packs — it could have been an oversight. 13 Yes, and take your brother too; and get ready; and go again to the man. 14 May El Shaddai give you favor in the man’s sight, so that he will release to you your other brother as well as Binyamin. As for me, if I must lose my children, lose them I will.” 15 The men took that gift, and they took twice the money with them, and Binyamin; then they prepared, went down to Egypt and stood before Yosef.

(vi) 16 When Yosef saw Binyamin with them, he said to his household manager, “Take the men inside the house, kill the animals and prepare the meat. These men will dine with me at noon.” 17 The man did as Yosef ordered and brought the men into Yosef’s house.

18 Upon being ushered inside Yosef’s house, the men became fearful. They said, “It’s because of the money that was returned in our packs the first time that we have been brought inside — so that he can use it as an excuse to attack us, take us as slaves and seize our donkeys too.” 19 So they approached the manager of Yosef’s household and spoke to him at the entrance of the house: 20 “Please, my lord, the first time we indeed came down to buy food; 21 but when we got to camp, we opened our packs, and there inside our packs was each man’s money, the full amount. We have brought it back with us; 22 moreover, we have brought down other money to buy food. We have no idea who put our money in our packs.” 23 “Stop worrying,” he replied, “don’t be afraid. Your God and the God of your father put treasure in your packs. As for your money — I was the one who received it.” Then he brought Shim‘on out to them.

24 The man brought the men into Yosef’s house and gave them water, and they washed their feet, and he provided fodder for their donkeys. 25 Then they got their gift ready for Yosef’s arrival at noon, for they had heard that they were going to eat a meal there. 26 When Yosef arrived home, they went in the house and presented him with the gift they had brought with them, then prostrated themselves before him on the ground. 27 He asked them how they were and inquired, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?” 28 They answered, “Your servant our father is well; yes, he is still alive,” as they bowed in respect. 29 He looked up and saw Binyamin his brother, his mother’s son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me?” and added, “May God be good to you, my son.”

(vii) 30 Then Yosef hurried out, because his feelings toward his brother were so strong that he wanted to cry; he went into his bedroom and there he wept. 31 Then he washed his face and came out, but he controlled himself as he gave the order to serve the meal. 32 They served him by himself, the brothers by themselves, and the Egyptians included at the meal by themselves — Egyptians don’t eat with Hebrews, because that is abhorrent to them. 33 So they sat there facing him, the firstborn in the place of honor, the youngest in last place; and the men expressed their amazement to each other. 34 Each was given his serving there in front of him, but Binyamin’s portion was five times as large as any of theirs. So they drank and enjoyed themselves with him.

44 Then he ordered the manager of his household, “Fill the men’s packs with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money just inside his pack. And put my goblet, the silver one, just inside the pack of the youngest, along with his grain money.” He did what Yosef told him to do.

At daybreak the men were sent off with their donkeys; but before they were far from the city Yosef said to his manager, “Up, go after the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid good with evil? Isn’t this the goblet my lord drinks from, indeed the one he uses for divination? What you have done is evil!’” So he caught up with them and said these words to them. They replied, “Why does my lord speak this way? Heaven forbid that we should do such a thing! Why, the money we found inside our packs we brought back to you from the land of Kena‘an! So how would we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? Whichever one of us the goblet is found with, let him be put to death — and the rest of us will be my lord’s slaves!” 10 He replied, “Fine; let it be as you have said: whichever one it is found with will be my slave. But the rest of you will be blameless.” 11 Then each hurried to put his pack down on the ground, and each one opened his pack. 12 He searched, starting with the oldest and ending with the youngest; and the goblet was found in the pack belonging to Binyamin. 13 At this, they tore their clothes from grief. Then each man loaded up his donkey and returned to the city.

(A: Maftir) 14 Y’hudah and his brothers arrived at Yosef’s house. He was still there, and they fell down before him on the ground. (S: Maftir) 15 Yosef said to them, “How could you do such a thing? Don’t you know that a man such as myself can learn the truth by divination?” 16 Y’hudah said, “There’s nothing we can say to my lord! How can we speak? There’s no way we can clear ourselves! God has revealed your servants’ guilt; so here we are, my lord’s slaves — both we and also the one in whose possession the cup was found.” 17 But he replied, “Heaven forbid that I should act in such a way. The man in whose possession the goblet was found will be my slave; but as for you, go in peace to your father.”

Haftarah Mikketz: M’lakhim Alef (1 Kings) 3:15–4:1

B’rit Hadashah suggested reading for Parashah Mikketz: Acts 7:9–16 (specifically vv. 11–12)

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

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