“After two whole years, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing by the Nile, 2 and behold, there came up out of the Nile seven cows, attractive and plump, and they fed in the reed grass. 3 And behold, seven other cows, ugly and thin, came up out of the Nile after them, and stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile. 4 And the ugly, thin cows ate up the seven attractive, plump cows. And Pharaoh awoke. 5 And he fell asleep and dreamed a second time. And behold, seven ears of grain, plump and good, were growing on one stalk. 6 And behold, after them sprouted seven ears, thin and blighted by the east wind. 7 And the thin ears swallowed up the seven plump, full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream. 8 So in the morning his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was none who could interpret them to Pharaoh.” (Genesis 41:1–8 (ESV)
The two dreams of Joseph (Gen. 37:5-11), the two dreams by the chief cupbearer and the chief baker (Gen. 40:1-5), now yield to the two dreams of Pharaoh (Gen. 41:1-8). There are three sets of two dreams in the Joseph narrative. This gives us a total of six dreams. Joseph recognized the significance of the pattern of two dreams. He explained to Pharaoh that God had given him two dreams to confirm the truth of their overall message. In other words, God would surely fulfill the dreams (Gen. 41:32).
The images in Pharaoh’s dreams are striking. First, seven attractive and plump cows arise from the Nile River. The seven are subsequently eaten by seven ugly and thin cows also rising from the Nile. Second, seven plump and good ears of grain grow on one stalk. They are swallowed up by seven thin ears blighted by the east wind.
Pharaoh became troubled in his spirit because of the dreams. Therefore, he summoned all of his magicians and wise men. Pharaoh told them the dreams, but no one in Egypt could interpret them to the king.
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “The apostle Paul tells us that we are God’s workmanship created for good works (Eph. 2:10). The Greek word for “workmanship” is literally “poetry.” The idea is that our lives express form and pattern along with beauty. Like the underside of grandmother’s cross-stitch, the everyday of our lives may look to be knotted and hopelessly tangled. But when we turn the fabric over, we see design and beauty that was there all along but that we never foresaw. Joseph’s life is like that. Through all the reversals, betrayals, and slanders he suffered, God was poetically designing his life so that he would be able to accomplish many good works, including saving his own family and then the entire world from the famine that was to come (Gen. 45:5, 50:20).”
Providentially, the LORD involved Joseph in all three sets of dreams. The dreams of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker would lead to Joseph’s involvement in interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams. This would eventually lead to the fulfillment of Joseph’s dreams.
Dr. Sproul concludes, “It is instructive to note that when Joseph in jail heard the dreams of the pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker, he readily offered to interpret their dreams. Joseph had already had two dreams foretelling that his brothers would bow down to him. After the years that had passed since he had been sold into bondage, if ever there was an occasion to doubt the prophecy of Joseph’s dreams, Joseph in the dungeon had reason to disbelieve. But God had spoken to his grandfather Abraham and to his father Jacob through dreams (Gen. 15:12–21, 28:10–15). It is therefore clear that Joseph offered to interpret the dreams of the pharaoh’s ministers because he still believed in prophetic dreams! In spite of all the adversity that had befallen him, Joseph fully expected to see his brothers again someday as they would bow before him!”
Joseph used his God-given ability to interpret dreams while in prison. This ability from the LORD would be the key for him to eventually leave the Egyptian prison for the Egyptian palace and witness his own dreams fulfilled.
More to come. Have a blessed day in the LORD.
Soli deo Gloria!