Genesis 41-44

The cup-bearer regains his position, while the baker dies.  But will Joseph ever make it out of prison?

Genesis 41

  • Pharaoh had two dreams.  In one, seven healthy, fat cows came to a river and began to graze.   Then seven thin, ugly cows came and stood beside the fat cows.  They then ate the healthy cows.  In the second dream, seven full and plump grains grew on a stalk.  But seven withered ones also grew on that stalk and swallowed the full ones.
  • None of the magicians or wise men of Egypt could interpret the dream.  At this point, the cup-bearer mentioned Joseph, who was quickly brought up from the prison (after a quick shave and change of clothes).
  • Joseph said he could not interpret the dream, but God could through him.  Both dreams meant the same thing: there will be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine.
  • Joseph also outlined an action plan: to store up one-fifth of all the food during the time of plenty in preparation for the famine.  Pharaoh saw Joseph as the wisest man in the land and made him second in command, second only to himself.
  • Pharaoh gave Joseph nice clothes and jewelry.  He gave him an Egyptian name (Zaphenath-paneah, meaning ‘God speaks and lives’) and an Egyption wife, Asenath.  Joseph was thirty years old when he took charge under Pharaoh of Egypt.
  • During the seven years of plenty, Joseph had two sons through Asenath: Manasseh (meaning ‘causing to forget’) and Ephraim (meaning ‘fruitful’).
  • After the seven years of plenty, crop failures occurred throughout the world.  Egyptians and foreigners alike went to Joseph and the storehouses in Egypt to buy grain.

Genesis 42

  • Back in Canaan, the famine was strong also.  So Jacob told his sons to go buy grain in Egypt (except for Benjamin).
  • When they got in front of Joseph, he immediately recognized them (but the brothers did not recognize Joseph).  Joseph remembered his dream as a child as his other brothers bowed down to him.
  • He spoke to them through an interpreter.  He accused them of being spies.  After he put them in prison for three days, he kept Simeon in prison and told the other ten to bring back their other brother the next time they came.  Joseph was doing this to test if they had changed… if they were still evil or not.
  • The brothers spoke in their native language, saying that God was punishing them for what they did to Joseph.  Of course, Joseph was able to understand them.
  • Joseph told his servants to fill the men’s sacks with grain and their money.  He also gave them stuff to aid them in their journey back home.
  • When the brothers got back to Jacob, they told him what happened.  They also noticed all of them still had their money and were filled with terror.  Jacob said he would not allow Benjamin to go with them — he did not want anything happening to his last son from Rachel.

Genesis 43

  • Jacob eventually allowed Benjamin to go with the brothers to Egypt; the family was running low on grain again.  Judah promised Benjamin’s safety.
  • They also each took twice the pay (in order to pay for more grain and to return the money they found in their sacks) and gifts for Joseph.
  • Joseph prepared to eat a feast with his brothers and had Simeon released.  But the brothers were scared to death as they entered the palace, expecting to be reprimanded for the pay they found in their sacks.
  • The household manager told them the money in their sacks must have been a gift from God.
  • Joseph found out that his father was still alive.
  • He seated them at a table by their age… without asking them (which amazed the brothers).  Joseph sat a table by himself, the Egyptians by theirselves, and the Hebrew brothers by themselves (due to the Egyptian caste system).
  • Joseph gave Benjamin five times the amount of food he gave anyone else.

Genesis 44

  • Joseph instructed that, once again, the grain payment money be put in the sacks as well as the grain.  He also had his silver drinking cup put into Benjamin’s sack.
  • Joseph told his household manager to catch up to his brothers and stop them, asking for Joseph’s silver cup.
  • The brothers told the household manager to kill whoever had the cup.  He replied that he would make that brother a slave instead.
  • When the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack, all the brothers returned to Joseph and said they would all be his slaves.  Joseph refused, saying only Benjamin would be his slave.
  • Judah had changed.  He stepped up to Pharaoh and told him that if Benjamin did not return home, Jacob might possibly even die of sorrow.  Judah pleaded with Joseph to let him be the slave and let Benjamin go home with his brothers.
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