Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s Dreams

Genesis Chapter 41
I. Observation • Who are the main characters? What do we know about them? • Joseph: • • Pharaoh:


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When do the events of this passage take place? • This passage begins 2 years after Chapter 40 (v. 1), when Joseph was 30 years old (v. 46). Genesis 37 tells us that Joseph was around 17 years old when he was sold into slavery, so he spent about 13 years in Egypt as a slave. [Ryrie] Where do the events of this passage take place? • These events take place in Egypt, in the palace of the Pharaoh. What is happening? (Summary of Events) • Pharaoh had a dream about seven healthy cows being swallowed by seven thin cows (v. 1-4) • Pharaoh had another dream about seven healthy heads of grain being swallowed by seven thin heads of grain (v. 5-7) • Pharaoh calls all his magicians and wise men, but none could interpret the dreams (v. 8) • Pharaoh’s cupbearer remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh of how Joseph interpreted his dreams while in prison (v. 9-13) • Pharaoh sent for Joseph and asks him about interpreting his dreams (v. 14-15) • Joseph acknowledges that God is the one who could provide the answers he sought (v. 15) • Pharaoh tells Joseph his dreams and Joseph interprets them (v. 17-32) • Joseph advises Pharaoh to find a wise man to be in charge of preparing for the famine and lays out a plan for Pharaoh to implement in order to save Egypt from the famine (v. 33-36) • Pharaoh and his advisers agree on the plan and Pharaoh, acknowledging God’s hand on Joseph, places him in charge as second in command of all Egypt (v. 37-44) • Pharaoh gave Joseph an Egyptian name, Zaphenath-Paneah and an Egyptian wife (v. 45) • Joseph did as he had suggested to Pharaoh and during the seven years of abundance gathered and stored food and grain throughout Egypt. (v. 46-49) • Before the famine, Joseph had 2 sons, Manasseh & Ephraim, by his Egyptian wife (v. 50-52) • After the seven years of abundance, the famine began throughout the land, but there was food in Egypt; when the people ran out of food, Joseph sold them grain (v. 53-56) • All the countries came to Egypt for grain because the famine affected the whole world (v. 57)

II. Interpretation • What principles are illustrated in this passage? What is the main theme?

What do we know or learn about God from this passage? What is his role in this chapter?

Why do you think God chose to reveal his plans to Pharaoh (i.e. famine)? How might this fit into his overall long-term plans?

III. Applications • Joseph recognized that the source of his wisdom, his ability to interpret dreams, came from God. Do we acknowledge God’s hand in our lives when others ask about it? Joseph turned a question from the ruler of the land (Pharaoh) into an opportunity to share about his should we. • Joseph was enslaved for 13 years before being appointed as second in command of Egypt, yet he continued to trust God and acknowledge him as the one in control. How do we respond when faced with challenges in our own lives…do we lose faith or do we continue to trust God’s plan?