Pharaoh’s Dream

Genesis 41:1-57

Pharaoh awakens one night from a terrifying dream, but none of the interpretations of his advisors satisfies him. His butler recalls a Hebrew youth from prison who successfully interpreted his own dream two years earlier, and Joseph is cleaned up and brought before Pharaoh. Pharaoh tells of seven fat cows devoured by seven skinny cows, and seven healthy ears of grain consumed by their sickly counterparts. Joseph determines that God has chosen to warn Pharaoh that He is sending seven years of unprecedented bounty followed by seven years of unprecedented famine. A wise man, he tells the king, would heed the warning and use the years of plenty to prepare for the famine ahead. Impressed by the youth’s wisdom, Pharaoh appoints him viceroy over Egypt, second in command only to himself. He gives Joseph a royal moniker — Tzafnat Paneach — and the hand of Asenath the daughter of Poti-phera in marriage. She bears him two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.


Joseph implements a taxation plan over the people, collecting produce to save for the lean years. When the famine hits, the people cry out to Pharaoh for food, and he sends them to Joseph, who sells it to them. Word spreads, and people from the surrounding region begin to pour into Egypt seeking food.


The Israel Bible discusses the names Joseph gives his children. While Manasseh’s name indicates Joseph has finally been comforted for the suffering he experienced, Ephraim’s name underscores Joseph’s realization that Egypt is still the land of his affliction. According to Don Isaac Abarbanel, despite his status in Egypt, Joseph knows it is not where he truly belongs. He still longs to return to his father’s house in the Land of Israel.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

Now that Joseph has attained such a vaunted status, why do you think he does not seek out his father?

Comments ( 5 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

  • Shlomenu muendo

    maybe he had been warned in a dream not to,or maybe he planned to go to his father after the fulfilment of pharaohs dreams.Most probably he did not want the family of Israel known to the Empire lest its people maybe assimilate with them and there be not their Nation

  • I think he might be too busy and there was the ever popping up hatred of his brothers. Insecurity about how pharo would react to his search for "Bedouins" and insecurity about his fathers life. Does he still live ?

  • Since Yoseph had a gift of prophecy as evidenced from his knowledge of what would befall the world in the next fourteen years, I imagine he knew when exactly his brothers would come to him and eventually his father. The gift of seeing into the future explains why he never went looking for his father at that point.

  • I have always believe that Joseph did not know how his brothers would treat him. Also as you explained Suejean he did not know if his father was alive. Your point about knowing HaShem was in control is not something I have thought of. Thank you I now have more to ponder today. HaShem is in control.

  • While Yoseph loves his father deeply, he had to wonder over the years why his father didn't come to his rescue. I think his greatest fear was that his father had died and we see this played out as he questions his brothers trying to learn more about his father and his brother, Binyamin. I'm not sure he had any idea of what his brothers had told his father to explain his absence in all those years of waiting for "rescue" until the family is reunited.
    I also think that Yoseph was starting to grasp the power of Elohim's Hand upon his life as he comes to the court of the Pharaoh to interpret a dream and comes away with great honor, power AND a wife of his own. Perhaps, he understood that he was to play a very significant role in all of this and was able to commit himself to follow it through to the end. I'm sure he never gave up the hope of being reunited with his family, but that couldn't happen until he was able to see past his brother's treachery and forgive them when they repented of their actions.
    We know that he never lost his desire to return to the Promised Land as he exacted a promise on his deathbed for his bones to be carried home when the time came for the Hebrews to return. Moshe was faithful to carry out this promise.
    Baruch Hashem.

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