Reading For Wednesday Genesis 41:14-46


It is two whole years before there is any change is Joseph’s state of affairs. It had been a long time since his encounter with the cupbearer. Presumably in the days immediately after the cupbearer’s release, Joseph was filled with high expectation; but, as days became weeks and weeks became months, his hopes must have waned, and the daily anticipation that he was about to be freed poisoned. Joseph could have wallowed in self-pity and resentment, but the text offers no indication that he did so. God is still keeping his promises and rescuing his people. We see God's work as Pharaoh experienced two dreams which greatly troubled him. In the first, seven fat cows emerged from the Nile to graze among the reeds and were followed by seven thin cows that devoured the fat cows. In the second dream, seven heads of healthy grain were swallowed up by seven blighted heads. None of the Egyptian wise men could interpret these dreams that troubled Pharaoh.

Pharaoh’s perturbation over his dreams prompted the memory of his cupbearer. He recounted to  Pharaoh the story about the Hebrew, who had accurately interpreted the two dreams in the prison. The king immediately sent for Joseph and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. Joseph shaved, changed his clothes and stood before Pharaoh. Imagine what was going through his mind. I wonder if the cupbearer approached him to tell him why he had been summoned. I wonder how awkward the look on the face of the cupbearer was when he realized that he had forgotten his promise. Joseph is brought in and disclaimed any personal ability to interpret dreams but assured Pharaoh that God would give him the answer he sought. What a declaration of faith! If he was wrong, he was dead... 

Pharaoh described in great detail his two dreams to Joseph, and he did not hesitate a moment to declare that both dreams had the same meaning. Egypt would experience seven years of great abundance followed by seven years of dreadful famine. The double dream underscored the certainty of the prediction. This was not good news and must have left the people pondering their options. 

Without waiting for an invitation, Joseph presumes to give to Pharaoh a strategy for dealing with this foreboding future. This prisoner is giving council to the king. The plan was that Pharaoh should establish a commission under a wise leader to gather into storehouses twenty percent of the crops during the seven years of abundance. These stores would safeguard the land during the famine years. Pharaoh liked the plan so much and immediately came to regard Joseph as the best possible administrator for the initiative. 

Joseph was immediately elevated to the position of prime minister, second only to Pharaoh himself. The symbols of his office were Pharaoh’s signet ring, a gold chain, fine robes and a personal chariot. Runners prepared the way before him wherever he went. Pharaoh gave him an Egyptian name and provided him a wife who came from one of the most prominent families in the land. Joseph was thirty when he received these honors. The plan was an incredible success and during the seven years of abundance, Joseph heaped up so much grain that he stopped keeping records of the amount. He had two sons and he named them Manasseh (“forget”) and Ephraim (“double fruitful”). The abundance he now enjoyed had made him overlook his bitter past and when the seven years of famine arrived, Pharaoh continued to rely on Joseph’s leadership. Joseph opened the storehouses and sold grain, not only to the Egyptians but to buyers from distant lands. When Joseph was promoted by the Egyptians, he became the means of saving Egypt from disaster.

Thing To Consider:

  • What can we learn from Joseph about dealing with disappointment? 
  • How do you cope when others forget promises? 
  • When you are asked for counsel or to help in solving a problem, do you acknowledge God and give him glory? 
  • What does this tell us about God's sovereignty over nations and nature? 
  • How does time help us cope with disappointment?