Genesis 41 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
41 Two years later Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing by the Nile River. 2 In the dream, seven cows came out of the river and stood there eating grass. They were healthy, good-looking cows. 3 Then seven more cows came out of the river and stood on the bank of the river by the healthy cows. But these cows were thin and looked sick. 4 The seven sick cows ate the seven healthy cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.
5 Pharaoh went back to sleep and began dreaming again. This time he dreamed that he saw seven heads of grain growing on one plant. They were healthy and full of grain. 6 Then he saw seven more heads of grain sprouting, but they were thin and scorched by the hot wind. 7 The thin heads of grain ate the seven good heads of grain. Then Pharaoh woke up again and realized it was only a dream. 8 The next morning Pharaoh was worried about these dreams, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told these men the dreams, but none of them could explain the dreams.
The Servant Tells Pharaoh About Joseph
9 Then the wine servant remembered Joseph and said to Pharaoh, “I remember something that happened to me. 10 You were angry with the baker and me, and you put us in prison. 11 Then one night he and I had a dream. Each dream had a different meaning. 12 There was a young Hebrew man in prison with us. He was a servant of the commander of the guards. We told him our dreams, and he explained them to us. He told us the meaning of each dream, 13 and what he said came true. He said I would be free and have my old job back, and it happened. He also said the baker would die, and it happened!”
Joseph Is Called to Explain the Dreams
14 So Pharaoh called Joseph from the prison. The guards quickly got Joseph out of prison. Joseph shaved, put on some clean clothes, and went to see Pharaoh. 15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can explain it for me. I heard that you can explain dreams when someone tells you about them.”
16 Joseph answered, “I cannot! But God can explain the dream for you, Pharaoh.”
17 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing by the Nile River. 18 Seven cows came up out of the river and stood there eating the grass. They were healthy, good-looking cows. 19 Then I saw seven more cows come up out of the river after them, but these cows were thin and looked sick. They were the worst cows I had ever seen anywhere in Egypt! 20 The thin, sick cows ate the first healthy cows, 21 but they still looked thin and sick. You couldn’t even tell they had eaten the healthy cows. They looked as thin and sick as they did in the beginning. Then I woke up.
22 “In my next dream I saw seven heads of grain growing on one plant. They were healthy and full of grain. 23 And then seven more heads of grain grew after them, but they were thin and scorched by the hot wind. 24 Then the thin heads of grain ate the seven good heads of grain.
“I told these dreams to my magicians. But no one could explain the dreams to me. What do they mean?”
Joseph Explains the Dream
25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Both of these dreams have the same meaning. God is telling you what will happen soon. 26 The seven good cows and the seven good heads of grain are seven good years. 27 And the seven thin, sick-looking cows and the seven thin heads of grain mean that there will be seven years of hunger in this area. These seven bad years will come after the seven good years. 28 God has shown you what will happen soon. He will make these things happen just as I told you. 29 For seven years there will be plenty of food in Egypt. 30 But then there will be seven years of hunger. The people will forget how much food there had been in Egypt before. This famine will ruin the country. 31 It will be so bad that people will forget what it was like to have plenty of food.
32 “Pharaoh, you had two dreams about the same thing. That means God wanted to show you that he really will make this happen, and he will make it happen soon! 33 So, Pharaoh, you should choose a wise, intelligent man and put him in charge of Egypt. 34 Then you should choose other men to collect food from the people. During the seven good years, the people must give them one-fifth of all the food they grow. 35 In this way these men will collect all the food during the seven good years and store it in the cities until it is needed. Pharaoh, this food will be under your control. 36 Then during the seven years of hunger, there will be food for the country of Egypt. And Egypt will not be destroyed by the famine.”
37 This seemed like a very good idea to Pharaoh, and all his officials agreed. 38 Then Pharaoh told them, “I don’t think we can find anyone better than Joseph to take this job! God’s Spirit is in him, making him very wise!”
39 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “God showed these things to you, so you must be the wisest man. 40 I will put you in charge of my country, and the people will obey all your commands. I will be the only one more powerful than you.”
41 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I now make you governor over all of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh gave his special ring to Joseph. The royal seal was on this ring. Pharaoh also gave Joseph a fine linen robe and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 Then he told Joseph to ride in his second chariot. Pharaoh’s officials said, “Let him be the governor over the whole land of Egypt!”[a]
44 Then Pharaoh said to him, “I am Pharaoh, the king over everyone in Egypt, but no one else in Egypt can lift a hand or move a foot unless you say he can.” 45 Then Pharaoh gave Joseph another name, Zaphenath Paneah.[b] He also gave Joseph a wife named Asenath. She was the daughter of Potiphera, a priest in the city of On. So Joseph became the governor over the whole country of Egypt.
46 Joseph was 30 years old when he began serving the king of Egypt. He traveled throughout the country of Egypt. 47 During the seven good years, the crops in Egypt grew very well. 48 Joseph saved the food in Egypt during those seven years and stored the food in the cities. In every city he stored grain that grew in the fields around the city. 49 Joseph stored so much grain that it was like the sands of the sea. He stored so much grain that it could not be measured.
50 Joseph’s wife, Asenath, was the daughter of Potiphera, the priest in the city of On. Before the first year of hunger came, Joseph and Asenath had two sons. 51 Joseph named the first son Manasseh.[c] He was given this name because Joseph said, “God made me forget all my hard work and everything back home in my father’s house.” 52 Joseph named the second son Ephraim.[d] Joseph gave him this name because he said, “I had great troubles, but God has made me successful in everything.”
The Famine Begins
53 For seven years people had all the food they needed, but those years ended. 54 Then the seven years of hunger began, just as Joseph had said. No food grew anywhere in any of the countries in that area. But in Egypt people had plenty to eat because Joseph had stored the grain. 55 The famine began, and the people cried to Pharaoh for food. Pharaoh said to the Egyptian people, “Go ask Joseph what to do.”
56 There was famine everywhere, so Joseph gave the people grain from the warehouses. He sold the stored grain to the people of Egypt. The famine was bad in Egypt, 57 but the famine was bad everywhere. So people from the countries around Egypt had to come to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain.