About Jesus Steve Sweetman
In verse 1 we see that
two full years had passed. This
is in reference to the events of the last chapter when Joseph
interpreted the dreams of the cup bearer and the baker.
He asked the cupbearer to remember him to Pharaoh, but it is
clear that the cupbearer forgot about Joseph's request as soon as he was
free. The events of this
chapter happened two years later, when the cupbearer finally remembered
Joseph could interpret dreams.
Many scholars suggest
that Joseph was in prison for at least thirteen to fifteen years before
He got out.
In verses 1 through 4 we
see Pharaoh's dream. In the dream he saw seven healthy cows and seven
Cows in Egypt
represented agricultural success. Both
groups of cows grazed among the reeds of the Nile River. Along the shore line of
In verses 5 through 7 we
see Pharaoh's second dream. There
was a stock of grain with seven heads that looked very healthy.
Like the seven cow dream, there were also a stock of grain that
looked unhealthy. The dry
easterly wind made them dry. In
that part of the world a dry easterly wind can rise very quickly and
increase the temperature rapidly, drying out crops.
That is what happened in the dream.
As in the dream of the cows, the weakly stock of grain swallowed
up the healthy stock of grain, and then Pharaoh woke up.
Verse 8 says that
"in the morning his mind was troubled".
Other translations use the word "spirit' because the Hebrew
word translated as mind is also commonly translated as
"spirit". Why the
NIV translates the word as "mind" I don't know, other than the
translators must have equated spirit with mind, or else they felt from
the context it was Pharaoh's mind that was troubled, and not spirit.
Also in verse 8, because
Pharaoh was so troubled, he called in all the magicians in Egypt
to interpret these dreams. In
Egyptian society, and in most polytheistic societies back then, there
were a group of men called by various titles that felt that they could
hear from the gods and interpret such things as dreams.
There's a couple of
things we might note at this point in time.
There are two men in the Old Testament that are noted for
interpreting dreams. They
are Daniel and Joseph. As we
will see, both men state that it is God that really does the
interpreting. They just hear
from Him. That would make
Joseph a prophet, as well as Daniel, because a prophet is one who hears
from God and speaks what he hears to people.
Both Joseph and Daniel
interpreted dreams for their respective Gentile kings.
Both Joseph and Daniel were Jews.
They both interpret these dreams in two locations that throughout
the Bible represent the world. Joseph
interprets dreams for the King of Egypt, while Daniel interprets dreams
for the King of Babylon. In
both cases there are significant historical and prophetic significance
to these two nations.
In verse 9 we see that
the cupbearer is reminded of his "shortcomings".
He says this to Pharaoh. That
was probably a pretty mild way to put it.
Whatever his shortcomings were, they were severe enough for
Pharaoh to have put him into prison.
I don't think the cupbearer wanted to remind Pharaoh of the
details of these shortcomings.
In verse 10 the cupbearer
simply reminds the Pharaoh that at one time in the past he was angry
with him and the baker. Again,
no details seem to be mentioned here.
From verses 11 through 14
the cupbearer tells a shortened version of how Joseph interpreted his
dream as well as the baker's dream, and both interpretations turned out
to be true. Finally Joseph's
request to the cupbearer came about.
You will remember that once the cupbearer was set free, Joseph
asked him to remember him to Pharaoh.
It took two years, but now Joseph was going to be set free.
All these years imprison for Joseph was a training ground for
him. It is amazing to me how
many real servant's of God suffer much in their lives.
Life as a servant of God is not always about the so-called
"good life". May
those who suffer as a servant of God not suffer in vain.
Verse 14 says that
Pharaoh called for Joseph to come and interpret his dreams.
The text says that Joseph was shaved and had a change of clothes.
This would have been necessary since he was probably pretty
shabby looking from being in prison for so long,
That being said, it is commonly understood that in such
circumstances, when a man got shaved, it wasn't just his head, but his
whole body. Egyptian culture
appears to be clean shaven, while Hebrew culture appears to be not clean
shaven. Actually, it is said
that the Hebrew custom saw a man's beard as giving glory to God.
In verses 16 and 17 we
see the first exchange between Pharaoh and Joseph.
Pharaoh acknowledges that it is his understanding that Joseph can
interpret dreams. Like
Daniel, Joseph says that it is God who does the interpreting.
He simply hears from God and passes it along.
This should be the stance for any of us who have any gift from
God. We acknowledge where
the gift comes from. We are
simply the vehicle to expresses the gift that comes from God and is
given away to someone else.
I do believe in modern
day prophets, but many of these men that I've seen over the years are
not humble men as Joseph is here. That
suggests to me that they aren't really prophets of God.
I won't comment on verses
17 to 24 because Pharaoh simply repeats the dreams to Joseph.
There pretty much the same. There
is a slight difference. In
the dream with the cows we note that the seven unhealthy cows looked no
better after eating the seven healthy cows.
Some liberal scholars want to point out discrepancies here, but I
don't think that is necessary. Anyone
telling a story may leave parts out at times and reinsert these parts at
another telling of the story. It
doesn't mean we have a problem with the text.
In verse 25 Joseph said
that he had received the interpretation from God, and the two dreams had
In verses 26 and 27
Joseph begins to tell Pharaoh what the dreams meant.
The seven healthy cows and the seven good heads of grain
represent seven good years in Egypt. The seven sickly cows and
sickly heads of grain represent seven bad years in Egypt
that would follow the seven good years.
continues in verses 28 through 31. The
first seven years were seven years of great economic growth in
We see in verse 32 why
Pharaoh had two dreams of the same event.
It was to confirm beyond a doubt what would happen.
The text clearly states that God was the one that caused the
seven good years and also the seven bad years.
We see here again that God does intervene in the affairs of
nations. Although the famine
was ravaging for
It is important for
Christians to realize that we are not Deists.
Deists are those who believe in God, but believe that after He
created all things, He stepped back from all things, and let creation
evolve. Christians are not
Deists. We believe, as we
see here that God remains involved in the affairs of the world and in
the affairs of nations, as well as in the affairs of individual people.
God is still involved in the affairs of nations right to this day, and
will be to the very end. Secular
man does not see how God works behind the scenes.
God is often behind both good and bad events.
Only those with Biblical understanding can see these things.
If there is an earthquake somewhere, the secular man simply says
it's mother nature. The
Christian might suggest that it was an act of God for which they will be
highly criticized for, since the secular man would not think God would
do such a thing if in fact there was a God.
It is interesting to note
that God brought a famine on the known world in these days, and in my
thinking, it was to help Israel. God can do the same today.
In verse 33 we see that
Joseph, the prisoner that was just released from prison, actually gave
some advise to Pharaoh that Pharaoh actually accepted.
This was probably a miracle from God.
The interpretation of these two dreams was clearly a miracle, and
the acceptance of Joseph's advice was another miracle.
Joseph is like Daniel, a Jew, who became very influential in a
In verses 35 through 37
Joseph continues to tell Pharaoh his plan.
Simply put, he suggested that for each of the seven good years,
five percent of the food grown should be set aside for the seven bad
years. He also said that
commissioners should be appointed to oversee this collection and storage
In verses 37 and 38
Pharaoh and his advisers agreed with Joseph.
They thought it was a good plan.
They all clearly believed the interpretation of the dreams that
came from the lips of Joseph. Then
Pharaoh asked if there was anyone in the land more suited for the job to
oversee these things than Joseph. The
reason why they said and thought this is because they believed that the
"spirit of God", that's Elohim, was in Joseph.
That was there perception since Joseph could give the
interpretation of the dream, and since he claimed it was from his God.
With our New Testament
understanding, we know that the Spirit of God did not dwell in men or
women as He can today. But
the Holy Spirit did come and go upon men in Old Testament times.
The Spirit of God came to Joseph and that is why he could
interpret the dreams. It
wasn't that the Spirit of God lived inside of Joseph.
In verses 39 and 40 we
see that Pharaoh made Joseph second in command of all of
In verses 41 through 43
we see the exaltation of Jesus. For
those who relate the life of Jesus to Joseph's life, they see this as a
type of Jesus rising from the dead and ascending to a place of power
along beside God.
Joseph was raised to a
place of power. He was now
second in command. He wore
the clothes of a king. He
rode in the chariot of the king and people bowed down before him as he
drove by in his chariot.
Some people use this
verse to support the idea that Christians today are to be kings,
especially if they have enough faith.
I don't believe you can use an isolated event to support this
theory. God chooses who He
wants to be kings and He chooses for specific reasons.
God has a specific reason in mind here, and that was to free His
people from the burden of the severe famine that spread throughout the
It is interesting to me
that Joseph, one who was really used of God, spent so long in prison
before he was exalted to this place of prominence.
This was and is the case with many men of God.
God often puts people through tremendous suffering before He uses
them, especially if they have a real important roll to play in God's
plans. I'd suggest that this
suffering is a form of training, that is, getting self out of the way in
order for God to be able to take over.
We need to recognize that
throughout the Bible Egypt is a nation that represents the world as a
whole. When I use the word
"world", I'm speaking of the system that is of the world and
is in opposition to God. Here
a man of God is in charge of a worldly nation.
God does put men of God in prominent places of authority at
times, but it is for His purpose. He
just doesn't put men in places of authority to build their own ego. I
suggest that in this case, Joseph rose to a place of power for the
benefit of God's people.
We see in verses 44 and
45 that Pharaoh gave Joseph and Egyptian name and an Egyptian wife.
We note here that the girl who became Joseph's wife was the
daughter of a cultish priest. The
father was "the priest of On".
"On" was a cult city. It was known for the worship of
the sun god.
We can assume that this
was God's will, although I can't reconcile this with the point that all
along in Hebrew history, God never wanted His people to marry outside of
the Hebrew race. My
only thought on this would be that men were to find wives within
We learn in verse 46 that
Joseph was thirty years old when Pharaoh put him in charge of all the
land. As I've been saying,
many people see a relation to Joseph and Jesus.
Although some see Joseph's exaltation as symbolic of Jesus'
ascension, others see it as the beginning of Jesus' earthly ministry at
His baptism. For those who
believe this, the age of thirty is obviously important since that is
roughly the age Jesus started His ministry.
In verses 47 through 49
we note how detailed and careful Joseph was in his storage of food
project. He traveled
In verses 50 and 51 we
see the first son of Joseph was born.
His name was Manasseh, which probably means "forgot".
By this time, during these seven good years, Joseph had forgotten
all about the time in prison. He
had also "forgotten about his father's household," or at least
it was pushed to the back of his mind.
It appears that he did not think well of his father's
household, and it's not hard to understand why.
His brothers certainly did not treat him right.
We see in verse 52 a
second son was born who was named Ephraim because God had made him and
his wife fruitful. Ephraim
In verses 53 to 55 we see
the beginning of the seven bad years of famine.
The people began to complain to Pharaoh, so he told them to see
The text notes these bad
years were what Joseph had
predicted. We are reminded
that Joseph had interpreted Pharaoh's dream.
He prophesied that these days would come. I
don't believe the place of prophets is something just for the Old
Testament. I do believe that
God has prophets today that can foretell such things, yet not all who
call themselves prophets of God are.
In verses 56 and 57 we
see that Joseph sold the grain to both the Egyptian people and to other
nations around them. I'm
sure that Pharaoh like that. He
actually profited from the famine, but only because of Joseph's good
management skills. Therefore,
because of the man of God, a secular nation was blessed, as is often the
I believe the whole
western world was blessed by God when they embraced the Reformation and
men like Martin Luther. The
reverse is now true. God is
withdrawing His blessing as the western world moves away from
Note here that the whole
world was in a famine. I'd
suggest that this would be the whole known world.
There is extra-Biblical support for this famine, which helps
support the validity of the Bible.