Genesis 41: In The Land of His Suffering

Very early on in this project of blogging through the Bible I encountered someone doing the same thing . . . in England. So I invited Lucy Mills to do a guest post here and she chose Genesis 41. See if you can spot all the awesome British spellings and phrases and whatnot. Cheers!


I have very complicated dreams. If I manage to remember them, explaining them to someone else is impossible.

 The Cows Did What?

It's a cow-eat-cow world out there.

Comparatively speaking, Pharaoh’s dreams are quite straight forward. Having two such similar dreams gives them added emphasis. It implies meaning – a message, even. (If there are any messages in my dreams, trust me, they are unintelligible). Mind you, these are still pretty strange. And in Egyptian culture, Pharaohs were considered to be divine. So if this Pharaoh cannot interpret his own dreams, it rather undermines his own authority, his supposed ‘godhood’.

Does he realise this? If he does, it doesn’t seem to be his primary concern. The dreams are deeply troubling and he is consumed by one thing: what they mean. And he can’t find anyone who can tell him.

 Wanted: One Dreamer

 Enter Joseph. It’s been two years since he interpreted the dreams for the chief cupbearer, who needs this nudge to his memory. Joseph’s track record speaks for him – he’s been right before.

It’s enough to persuade Pharaoh that he needs to see this man. Once he’s smartened up, Joseph is ushered into Pharaoh’s presence. His main concern seems to be that Pharaoh understands that it is God who does the interpreting. Joseph refuses to take credit. He immediately recognises the dreams as a message from God. The message is not one of punishment or of favour, but one of warning.

What an advantage – to have the power of hindsight before something happens. How often do we say: ‘If only I’d known, I’d have done things differently!’ Well, this time Pharaoh gets to know. He gets his peek into the future.

And he believes Joseph. Considering Joseph is a prisoner, this is rather surprising. Joseph must come across as a reliable sort. Or, just maybe, there is someone bigger on his side…

He’s quite the entrepreneur, too. Quick on his feet, quick to see an opportunity. Not only does he interpret the dream but immediately he lists exactly what needs to be done. From his time in Potiphar’s household and latterly in prison, he has proven his reliability and learned not a few leadership skills. He says his piece while he has the chance.

 The Rising Star

 Joseph’s ingenuity is rewarded by an ascent far greater than any of those previously. He started as a favourite among brothers. He became Potiphar’s trusted manager. He proved himself capable of leadership even in jail.

Now, he gets to act in Pharaoh’s name – given his signet ring so that he can seal any decisions, given clothes that show his rank and status. He even gets to ride round in style. His talents have now gone nationwide. His success in the face of hardship is reflected in the naming of his sons – God made him forget his trouble and his father’s house; God made him fruitful in the land of his suffering. Even in the places of trial, Joseph has been raised up. His own dreams are finding fulfilment, in the most unexpected ways.

It all happens as he said.

And Egypt’s able handling of the food crisis brings neighbouring nations knocking at the door, including some characters we may find familiar…

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