The Kraig Josiah Rice
Devotional Bible Commentary on Genesis

Genesis chapter 41

written by
Kraig J. Rice
www.7-star-admiral.com

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
(Clicking on these links will move you down this web page)
Genesis chapter forty one
 Chapter 41 The Pharaoh of Egypt had dreams
 Gen. 41:1 - 36 God works in mysterious ways
 A word about dreams
 Tips on how to be successful
 Gen. 41:37 - 53 You and I will receive a new name
 You and I shall receive a mansion
 You and I need to be fruitful
 Some name meanings of Joseph's relatives
 We need to stay in time with God
 Does the bible contain errors?
 Joseph was a type of Christ
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Genesis Chapter 41
The Pharaoh of Egypt had dreams from God

"And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river. And, behold, there came up out of the river seven well favoured kine and fatfleshed; and they fed in a meadow. And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill favoured and leanfleshed; and stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river. And the ill favoured and leanfleshed kine did eat up the seven well favoured and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke. And he slept and dreamed the second time: and, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good. And, behold, seven thin ears and blasted with the east wind sprung up after them. And the seven thin ears devoured the seven rank and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream. And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh. Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying, I do remember my faults this day: Pharaoh was wroth with his servants, and put me in ward in the captain of the guard's house, both me and the chief baker: and we dreamed a dream in one night, I and he; we dreamed each man according to the interpretation of his dream. And there was there with us a young man, an Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard; and we told him, and he interpreted to us our dreams; to each man according to his dream he did interpret. And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us, so it was; me he restored unto mine office, and him he hanged. Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, it is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, in my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river: and, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fatfleshed and well favoured; and they fed in a meadow: and, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill favoured and leanfleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness: and the lean and the ill favoured kine did eat up the first seven fat kine: and when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them; but they were still ill favoured, as at the beginning. So I awoke. And I saw in my dream, and, behold, seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good: and, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them: and the thin ears devoured the seven good ears: and I told this unto the magicians; but there was none that could declare it to me. And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, the dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath showed Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one. And the seven thin and ill favoured kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine. This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: what God is about to do he showeth unto Pharaoh. Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt: and there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land; and the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous. And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine"
(Genesis 41:1-36).

Joseph was delivered by a miracle (God works in mysterious ways):
Joseph graduated from the school of hard knocks- he went through a horrible trial of his faith and integrity that lasted for 13 years. How did I arrive at that number? He began his administrative duties at the age of 30. He was sold into slavery at the age of seventeen. 30 minus 17= 13 years. At least 2 full years were spent in prison, so that means that he spent approximately eleven years at Potiphar's household.

He was falsely accused and waited patiently in prison. He learned humility. He had a spiritual gift. The bible says: "A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men"
(Proverbs 18:16).
When Joseph's trial of faith was ended, it was time for God to elevate him. How did God do that? Through a miracle. God gave Pharaoh a dream message and an ex-convict (ex-con), Pharaoh's butler, just happened to be in the right place at the right time. He spoke up for Joseph. Pharaoh interviewed Joseph, hired him, and created a position for him in the government. In church lingo, we also call that "a God thing" or "God circumstances". God was not limited in any way in doing what He wanted to do in Joseph's life.

Will you elaborate on that a little more? Yes. God specializes in doing the impossible. He is totally sovereign and can do anything at any time that He wants to. Only God can bring good out of evil- just as He brought "meat out of the eater"
(Judges 14:14). That is called a "paradox of the sovereignty of God". And, only God can turn one's negative situation into a positive one. It is easy for us to understand that He did that for Joseph. Are there other examples in God's word of Him doing that? Yes. God reversed the captivity of Job
(Job 42:10). One time, Jesus and His disciples were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee when such a dangerous storm arose that it had the fishermen fearing for their lives. Jesus said: "peace be still" and the storm ceased. Then the disciples were at peace
(Matthew 8:24-27; Mark 4:37-41). And there are other examples in God's word not mentioned here.

There is absolutely nothing that He can't do. God can work miracles today in your life in answer to your prayers because He loves you. He can do that because He is sovereign and He is glad to do that for you- for your good and for His glory. One thing that we should keep in mind is that God is a Gentleman- He isn't inclined to intrude in a person's life if He isn't invited to do so. It is important that you, as a believer, invite God to participate in your life daily in prayer. He loves you very much and you are very special to Him. God has a plan for your life. He lives inside of your heart so He knows you very well- and all you have to do is trust Him
(Romans 8:28).

Why did Joseph collect one fifth (one 5th, 1/5, or 20%) of the grain? Because if he had gathered up only a 7th of it, it would have been equal to what was lost in 7 years, however, he gathered up more, a 5th of it, so he could feed others who were not Egyptians. God showed His kindness through Joseph. Have we been thankful to Him for His kindness to each of us?


Pharaoh had dreams from God (a word about dreams):
In my opinion, usually, dreams can be classified into three major categories- a regular dream, a dysfunctional dream, and a dream from God. So, what's the difference? The answer is the source of the dream. A regular dream from the flesh may reveal one's fears, something erotic, or may be in relation to something that you experienced during the day. A dysfunctional dream from the flesh may be in symbolism to reveal an issue from one's childhood trauma, and/or it may be a nightmare or something else from the flesh or the devil. A dream from God is exactly that- a message that God gives a person while they are asleep.

The first thing Joseph had to determine about Pharaoh's dream was the source. Was it from the devil, the flesh, or from God? God gave discernment to Joseph to understand that the source was from God. All truth is subject to verification. How did God verify to Pharaoh and to Joseph that the source of this dream was from God?

Before I answer that question, let's observe what Joseph did first. Joseph had to make a choice. Would he be spiritually prideful about his spiritual gift- would he stick out his chest and loudly proclaim that he was the greatest prophet in the land because he alone could solve Pharaoh's problem? No. He was a humble instrument in God's hand. He spent those years in slavery and in prison to bring him to this spiritually defining moment. He was "emptied of himself". He gave the glory to God. When did he give glory to God? When he stated: "it (the dream interpretation) is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace".

How did God verify to Pharaoh and to Joseph that the source of this dream was from God? This is how God did it: "...and for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass". That was a statement of confirmation because God gave the dream twice. Why is that significant? I strongly emphasize this- Jesus gave us this teaching about the confirmation of His truth: "...in the mouth of two or three witnesses let every word be established"
(Matthew 18:16).
The word for "established" in the original Greek is the verb histemi that can refer to "unwaivering truth". Two or three witnesses should always show forth the unwaivering truth about any matter. God gave the dream twice to Pharaoh- it was the equivalent of two witnesses to verify the truth that this dream was from God. And the Spirit of God bore witness to this truth. And this truth, about confirmation itself, had a double confirmation because it was first confirmed by Christ and, later, by Paul the Apostle
(2 Corinthians 13:1).

So, what if you have a dream today, or what if someone comes to you today with a dream revelation and wants you to act on it? What should you do? I strongly emphasize this: if you are in doubt about any prophecy or dream interpretation that appears to come from God, ask God in prayer to give you confirmation before you believe it and act on it. Why? That is because of what we call "extra biblical revelation". What is that? That is any kind of revelation outside of the Word of God. That could include, but is not limited to, a message from an angel to you, or a dream, or vision that you think is from God. That also includes any individual that tells you: "God told me to tell you...". God can tell you Himself- He doesn't need help in that respect. If the extra biblical revelation concerns bible doctrine then you are instructed by the Word of God to test the spirits. A lying spirit from Satan will always deny the fact that Jesus Christ is God and will always deny the fact that Christ is the only way to Heaven: "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world"
(1 John 4:1-3).

Did the Prophet Daniel give glory to God in reference to dream interpretation? Yes. When? When he stated: "...there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days...but as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living..."
(Daniel 2:28 & 30).

Did Daniel ask God for confirmation about King Nebuchadnezzar's dream? Yes. When? When Daniel asked his companions to help pray about the dream and it's interpretation- and God answered their prayers
(Daniel 2:17-19).

I believe this information is important for us to know. Why? We want to be correctly guided by God's message dreams to us and not be misled by dreams that are not from Him. "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams..."
(Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28).


Joseph was pardoned from prison and elevated to a position of prominence in Egypt
(tips on how to be successful
):
God blesses some individuals and elevates them in positions of responsibility. What can we learn from God's word that might help us get elevated? To answer that question, I want to draw your attention to these words:

"And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; and he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt"
(Genesis 41:42-43). "Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom"
(Daniel 5:29). "And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad"
(Esther 8:2 & 15). "But the father said to his servants, bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry"
Does anything seem to be out of place in these stories? Yes. The last story is about the prodigal son. He went from riches to rags and then back again from rags to riches. He was not the ruler of an empire controlling the destinies of millions of people. He was probably just a normal individual trying to find out what life was all about. He sinned and made his mistakes like we all do. But what made him successful was the fact that he came to his father asking for forgiveness. "And the son said unto him, father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son...for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry..."
(Luke 15:21-24).
Joseph came to his Heavenly Father asking for forgiveness. So did Daniel and so did Mordecai. The prodigal son's father put a ring on his son's finger and robe of honor on his son's shoulders. Then they had a feast. When you and I continually commit willful sin, our fellowship with our Father is broken, but when we turn to Him in repentance, asking for forgiveness, He forgives us and welcomes us back again into His fellowship. There is room in Heaven for every repentant sinner and for every repentant prodigal son or daughter
(Revelation 22:17). In Heaven, each of us will receive a ring, a robe of righteousness, and eat a feast prepared in our honor (the marriage supper of the Lamb). It will truly be a rags to riches story- from the rags of our sin to the riches of His grace.

If you want to be materially successful, act like Joseph did- be humble, have a good attitude, show love and kindness to others, and be honest. Don't criticize or "mean mouth" your boss to someone else because it will always get back to him. Rather, always make your boss appear to be successful in every situation. And, if you want to be spiritually successful, do what Joseph did: "...thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself"
(Luke 10:27).



With God's plan
everything eventually
falls into place
.
"And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants. And Pharaoh said unto his servants, can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, forasmuch as God hath showed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, see, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; and he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt. And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt. And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number. And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: for God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: for God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction. And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended"
(Genesis 41:37-53).

Joseph was renamed (you and I will receive a new name):
It was common, in days of old, for a supreme ruler to give his new permanent employee or new slave a new name. It was not just a mark of ownership but would also help the new employee or new slave to relate to others in his new environment. So, Joseph received a new Egyptian name. He was named Zaphnath-paaneah that means "one who discovers hidden things" or "one who is the revealer of secret things". Some folks think that Joseph's nickname was "the preserver of life".

After you and I get to Heaven, our Supreme Ruler (God) will give each of us (His love slaves) a new name. Everyone will know Who owns us. It will also help us relate to others in our new environment. Christ will give each of us a white stone (like in a diamond wedding ring) and a new name that sounds wonderful to all who hear it. The diamond stone is a sign of ownership. And, as a new bride's name is changed to that of her husband's when she gets her wedding ring, so our new name will reflect Christ's glory. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it"
(Revelation 2:17). "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name"
(Revelation 3:12).


Joseph lived in a palace in On (you and I shall receive a mansion):
Joseph owned a palace in the Egyptian city of On. The name of On in Hebrew is Own and means "strength, vigor, or force". The city was called the City of the Sun because it contained the temple of Re (prounounced raw in English), the Egyptian sun god. The sun in the form of a solar disc was worshipped there and elsewhere in the Nile valley area. The priesthood at On was politically powerful and linked to the Pharaoh of Egypt. It has been assumed that since Joseph was married to Asenath, the daughter of the priest of On, that he became a member of the priestly class. The city of On bordered the land of Goshen.

What was some of the history of On? It was located north east of present day Cairo. There are many ruins there today and the Egyptians call it Iunu or Onu meaning "Pillar City" in Egyptian. Historically, it was one of the original ancient Egyptian cities. Its great temple of Re was second in size only to that of Amon at Thebes, and its priesthood wielded great influence. The ancient Persians destroyed the city but, later it was rebuilt. It was called Heliopolis by the Greeks. At that time it was more important as a religious center rather than a political one.

Just as Joseph lived in a palace on earth, you and I shall receive a mansion (a place prepared for us) when we get to Heaven. There is an old gospel song we used to sing titled "Mansion over the Hilltop". Jesus stated: "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also"
(John 14:2-3).


Joseph was fruitful in many ways (you and I need to be fruitful):
Joseph was fruitful in many ways. If you please, he was a good witness for Christ. I am of the opinion that many Egyptians came to love the Lord because of Joseph and his witness for God. Spiritual fruit is the best kind of fruit that will last for eternity. You and I, as believers, are like a fruit tree that bears fruit. An apple tree will bear apples. A peach tree will bear peaches. A person tree will bear a person- in other words, a lost person can come to faith in Christ through you. That is how you spiritually reproduce. There is an old poem: "tis one life will soon be past; only what's done for Christ will last".

Joseph was physically fruitful also. Potipherah, priest of On and father-in-law of Joseph, lived in On. Joseph married Asenath there, and their two children were born there. Joseph named his two children: "Manasseh, for God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: for God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction"

Since the name, Manasseh, means "causing to forget", Joseph wanted to forget his abusive family of origin. Some dysfunctional families can be like that where there is little or no love. Joseph made a choice to forget the abuse from his hostile dysfunctional family members. He also made a choice to forgive those individuals. How about you and I? Can we rise to the occasion and act like Joseph did? The pathway of forgiving and forgetting is better than the pathway of vengeance
(Matthew 6:14-15).


A brief look at some name meanings for the fun of it:
The name Joseph means "increase or addition (Jehovah has added)". The name Asenath means "peril or misfortune; or belonging to the goddess Neith". The name Potipherah means "he that scatters abroad" or "he whom the Re gave". Manasseh means "forgetfulness, he that is forgotten, or causing to forget". Ephraim means "fruitful, increasing, or I shall be doubly fruitful". If we put these names together, one could say they mean- when one is an unconverted sinner there is peril and misfortune and Satan can scatter him or her abroad spiritually. But that is better forgotten after one accepts the Lord. Then that person can increase and become fruitful.

Like Joseph, you and I need to be fruitful. And the Lord expects us to be fruitful: "Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit"
(John 15:2).


Joseph stayed in time (we need to stay in time with God):
One time there was a large group of military men marching in perfect synchronization- every one was in time (meaning everyone was in step). All the left boots hit the pavement just at the right time and then the right ones did the same. All the men turned in perfect order upon command. I marched like that in military boot camp when I was in the U.S. Navy. We refered to it as "marching in time".

One time there was an old woman who came to see her son, Johnny, marching in a military parade. He was the only one out of time. "Oh, look", said the old lady, "everyone is out of time except Johnny!":-)

Now, I have a question to ask you- why did not Joseph take a vacation from Egypt to go and see his family in the Land of Canaan? Why did not he get reunited with them on his terms? I am sure he missed his father and his brother, Benjamin. Joseph had money and had the freedom to visit where he wanted to. So, why did not he go? Let me give you my opinion- Joseph recognized that God had a plan that he was working out. God's plan had a timing and a destiny that was woven together. Joseph could not violate one of those precepts without violating the other. Joseph had spiritual discernment to understand this so he had to wait patiently on God to move in His own timing so all of the facets of God's plan would come together when it was supposed to. And it happened just that way.

Sometimes it might appear that things are moving too slow- that you are not making progress fast enough. Many of us live in an "instant society". In such a society everything moves fast- you eat fast food, you shop fast at the super market, you speed to work and then back home again, your kids keep you moving, and on and on it goes. But that does not mean that it is ok to jump ahead of God's timing for your life. Since God is the light, if we jump ahead of Him, then we walk in our own shadow and cannot spiritually see where we are going. That is not good. Let us stay in God's timing. God tells us about His general timing in His word: "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace"
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).


Does the bible contain errors? (What kind of grain was it?):
Some folks have wondered if the bible has errors in it because it mentioned Egyptian corn rather than wheat or other grains. What is that about? Apparently, some historians think that corn was introduced into Europe from the Americas by Christopher Columbus (1492 A.D.) and other explorers and then it spread to all areas of the world suitable to its cultivation. There is some doubt that Egypt had any corn at all. Let's see what the original language reveals to us:
The word for "ears" in Hebrew is shibbol meaning ear of grain or head of grain
(Genesis 41:24). The word for "corn" in Hebrew is bar meaning corn or grain
(Genesis 41:35). It appears that the Egyptian grain was probably wheat rather than corn. Then why did the English King James translators use the word corn rather than wheat? The translators used the word that the English people could most readily identify with. Most all folks in England in the 17th century ate corn and so it was a logical choice for them to use. The more modern translations of the bible use the word grain to avoid any such arguments. Even though the original King James translation of the bible into English in 1611 A.D. may have been tailored to it's readers at the time, that does not mean that the bible, in it's original languages, contains any errors. The important thing was that the grain kept the Egyptians alive during the 7 years of famine.


Joseph was 30 years old when he started his ministry (Joseph was a type of Christ):
Jesus Christ started His ministry at the age of 30 to be our spiritual Savior. Joseph, as a type of Christ, began his ministry at the age of 30. He was the physical savior of the Egyptian people. Joseph was a type of Christ in many ways. We will study more about that in the last chapter of this bible book.

  • How Joseph was a type of Christ



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