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Two years later it happened that Pharaoh had a dream: there he was, standing by the Nile,

and there, coming up from the Nile, were seven cows, sleek and fat, and they began to feed among the rushes.

And then seven other cows, wretched and lean, came up from the Nile, behind them; and these went over and stood beside the other cows on the bank of the Nile.

The wretched and lean cows ate the seven sleek and fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.

He fell asleep and dreamed a second time: there, growing on one stalk, were seven ears of grain, full and ripe.

And then sprouting up, behind them, came seven ears of grain, meagre and scorched by the east wind.

The scanty ears of grain swallowed the seven full and ripe ears of grain. Then Pharaoh woke up; it had been a dream.

In the morning Pharaoh, feeling disturbed, had all the magicians and wise men of Egypt summoned to him. Pharaoh told them his dream, but there was no one to interpret it for Pharaoh.

Then the chief cup-bearer addressed Pharaoh, 'Today, I recall having been at fault.

When Pharaoh was angry with his servants, he put myself and the chief baker in custody in the house of the commander of the guard.

We had a dream on the same night, he and I, and each man's dream had a meaning for himself.

There was a young Hebrew with us, one of the slaves belonging to the commander of the guard. We told our dreams to him and he interpreted them for us, telling each of us what his dream meant.

It turned out exactly according to his interpretation: I was restored to my position, but the other man was hanged.'

Then Pharaoh had Joseph summoned, and they hurried him from the dungeon. He shaved and changed his clothes, and presented himself before Pharaoh.

Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'I have had a dream, and there is no one to interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can interpret a dream the instant you hear it.'

'Not I,' Joseph replied to Pharaoh, 'God will give Pharaoh a favourable answer.'

So Pharaoh told Joseph, 'In my dream there I was, standing on the bank of the Nile.

And there were seven cows, fat and sleek, coming up out of the Nile, and they began to feed among the rushes.

And then seven other cows came up, behind them, starved, very wretched and lean; I have never seen such poor cows in all Egypt.

The lean and wretched cows ate up the first seven fat cows.

But when they had eaten them up, it was impossible to tell they had eaten them, for they looked as wretched as ever. Then I woke up.

And then again in my dream, there, growing on one stalk, were seven ears of grain, beautifully ripe;

but then sprouting up behind them came seven ears of grain, withered, meagre and scorched by the east wind.

Then the shrivelled ears of grain swallowed the seven ripe ears of grain. I have told the magicians, but no one has given me the answer.'

Joseph said to Pharaoh, 'Pharaoh's dreams are one and the same: God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is going to do.

The seven fine cows are seven years and the seven ripe ears of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream.

The seven gaunt and lean cows coming up behind them are seven years, as are the seven shrivelled ears of grain scorched by the east wind: there will be seven years of famine.

It is as I have told Pharaoh: God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is going to do.

Seven years are coming, bringing great plenty to the whole of Egypt,

but seven years of famine will follow them, when all the plenty in Egypt will be forgotten, and famine will exhaust the land.

The famine that is to follow will be so very severe that no one will remember what plenty the country used to enjoy.

The reason why Pharaoh had the same dream twice is that the event is already determined by God, and God will shortly bring it about.

'Pharaoh should now find someone intelligent and wise to govern Egypt.

Pharaoh should take action and appoint supervisors for the country, and impose a tax of one-fifth on Egypt during the seven years of plenty.

They will collect all the food produced during these good years that are coming, and store the grain under Pharaoh's authority, putting it in the towns and keeping it.

This food will form a reserve for the country against the seven years of famine which are coming on Egypt, so that the country will not be destroyed by the famine.'

Pharaoh and all his ministers approved of what he had said.

Then Pharaoh asked his ministers, 'Can we find anyone else endowed with the spirit of God, like him?'

So Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'Since God has given you knowledge of all this, there can be no one as intelligent and wise as you.

You shall be my chancellor, and all my people shall respect your orders; only this throne shall set me above you.'

Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'I hereby make you governor of the whole of Egypt.'

Pharaoh took the ring from his hand and put it on Joseph's. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain round his neck.

He made him ride in the best chariot he had after his own, and they shouted 'Abrek!' ahead of him. Thus he became governor of the whole of Egypt.

Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'Although I am Pharaoh, no one is to move hand or foot without your permission throughout Egypt.'

Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenath-Paneah, and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, to be his wife. And Joseph began to journey all over Egypt.

Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. After leaving Pharaoh's presence, Joseph travelled throughout the length and breadth of Egypt.

During the seven years of plenty, the soil yielded generously.

He collected all the food of the seven years while there was an abundance in Egypt, and stored the food in the towns, placing in each the food from the surrounding countryside.

Joseph gathered in grain like the sand of the sea, in such quantity that he gave up keeping count, since it was past accounting.

Before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph: Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, bore him these.

Joseph named the first-born Manasseh, 'Because', he said, 'God has made me completely forget my hardships and my father's House.'

He named the second Ephraim, 'Because', he said, 'God has made me fruitful in the country of my misfortune.'

Then the seven years of plenty that there had been in Egypt came to an end,

and the seven years of famine set in, as Joseph had predicted. There was famine in every country, but throughout Egypt there was food.

But when all Egypt too began to feel the famine and the people appealed to Pharaoh for food, Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, 'Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you.'

There was famine all over the world. Then Joseph opened all the granaries and rationed out grain to the Egyptians, as the famine grew even worse in Egypt.

People came to Egypt from all over the world to get supplies from Joseph, for the famine had grown severe throughout the world.

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