Genesis41

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At the end of the two years, Pharaoh was troubled by dreams. In one of them, seven skinny cows came up out of the Nile and ate seven fat happy cows that were feeding in a meadow. In a second dream, seven desiccated, sickly ears of corn devoured seven full, ripe ears of corn. And none of the wise men and magicians in Egypt could figure out what the dream meant.

Then the butler remembered Joseph, and told Pharaoh there was a Hebrew in the dungeon who interprets dreams, and he seemed to be pretty good at it. So he sent for Joseph, who was shaved and cleaned up and fitted with new clothing, and when he came before Pharaoh, he listened to the sovereign relate his dream.

"The seven fat cows and seven full ears are seven years of plenty in Egypt," Joseph said. "They will be followed by seven years of famine so severe that the first seven years will be forgotten. So important is this dream, that God sent essentially the same dream twice. So what you need to do, O Pharaoh, is set a minister over the harvest, to set aside a portion of the corn in the fat years, and store it against the seven years of lean times which are to come."

Pharaoh was so impressed he made Joseph that minister, and renamed him Zaphnath-paaneah, and gave him the daughter of Poti-pherah priest of On, Asenath. And Asenath bore unto Joseph two half-Egyptian sons, Ephraim and Manessah. Life was good for Lucky Joe. He was accorded great honors, given a chariot, and assigned a stature second only to that of Pharaoh himself.

During the next seven years, Joseph served as the minister of Pharaoh, gathering a portion of the harvest, storing it up in the cities, and so great was the harvest that he lost count of all the corn. Then the seven years of plenty were ended, and famine struck all over the known world, but in Egypt people still had corn bread because they drew down Joseph's stores. And word of this spread throughout the world, and supplicants came from all over, seeking to buy corn from Egypt. The alternative was to starve.

In seven years the famine would be over in Egypt but it would continue in Canaan for a long time. And this would, in due course, result in the mass emigration of the entire House of Israel to Egypt. Fortunately for Jacob, he had a friend in the court of Pharaoh, yet he knew it not.

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