But one night, King Pharaoh himself dreamed a dream, in fact two dreams in one. In the morning he sent for all the wise men of Egypt, and told them his dreams. But there was not one single man who could give the meaning of them. The king was very troubled, because he felt that the dreams had some meaning that was important for him to know.
Then suddenly the chief butler, who was by the king's table, remembered his own dream in the prison two years before. He also remembered the young man who had told its meaning so exactly.
He said, "I remember my faults this day. Two years ago King Pharaoh was angry with his servants, with me and the chief baker, and he sent us to the prison. While we were in the prison, one night each of us dreamed a dream. The next day a young man in the prison, a Hebrew from the land of Canaan, told us what our dreams meant. In three days they came true, just as the Hebrew had said. I think that if this young man is still in prison, he could tell the king the meaning of his dreams."
So King Pharaoh quickly sent to the prison for Joseph, and Joseph was taken out. He was dressed in new clothes and was led in to Pharaoh in the palace.
Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I have dreamed a dream, and there is no one who can tell what it means. I have been told that you have power to understand dreams and what they mean."
Joseph answered Pharaoh, "The power is not in me. But God will give Pharaoh a good answer. What is the dream that the king has dreamed?"
"In my dream," said Pharaoh, "I was standing by the river. I saw seven fat and handsome cows come up from the river to feed in the grass. While they were feeding, seven other cows followed them up from the river. These cows were very thin and poor. I had never seen such miserable creatures. The seven lean cows ate up the seven fat cows. After they had eaten them, they were as lean and miserable as before. Then I awoke."
"I fell asleep again, and dreamed again. In my second dream, I saw seven heads of grain growing upon one stalk - large, strong, and good. Then the seven hads came up after them that were thin, poor, and withered. and the seven thin heads swallowed up the seven good heads. But afterward, they were as poor and withered as before."
"I told these two dreams to all the wise men, and there is no one who can tell me their meaning. Can you tell me what these dreams mean?"
Joseph said to the king, "The two dreams have the same meaning. God has been showing to King Pharaoh what he will do in this land. The seven good cows mean seven years, and the seven good heads of grain mean the same seven years.
The seven lean cows, and the seven thin heads of grain also mean seven years. The good cows and the good grain mean seven years of plenty, and the seven thin cows and thin heads of grain mean seven poor years. There are coming upon the land of Egypt seven years of such plenty as have never been seen; when the fields shall bring greater crops than ever before.
After those years shall come seven years when the fields shall bring no crops at all. And then for seven years there shall be such need, that the years of plenty will be forgotten, for the people will have nothing to eat."
"Now, let King Pharaoh find some man who is abel and wise, and let him set this man to rule over the land. During the seven years of plenty, let a part of the crops be put away for the years of need. If this is done, then when the years of need come there will be plenty of food for all the people, and no one will usffer, for all will have enough."
King Pharoah said to Joseph, "Since God has shown you all this, there is no other man as wise as you. I will appoint you to do this work, and to rule over the land of Egypt. All the people shall be under you. Only on the throne of Egypt, I will be above you."
Pharaoh took from his own hand the ring which held his seal, and put it on Joseph's hand, so that he could sign for the king, and seal in the king's place. He dressed Joseph in robes of fine linen, and put around his neck a gold chain.
He made Joseph ride in a chariot which was next in rank to his own. And they cried out before Joesph, "Bow the knee." Now Joseph was ruler over all the land of Egypt.
So the slave boy, who was sent to prison without deserving it, came out of prison to be a prince and a master over all the land. You see that God had not forgotten Joseph, even when he seemed to have left him to suffer.
1. The king was troubled because he had dreams that no one could interpret. Who told him about Joseph?
2. When the king said he had heard that Joseph could interpret dreams, who did Joseph give the credit to?
3. What did the king's dreams mean?
4. What job did the king give to Joseph after the dreams were interpreted?
Story is taken from "Mother's Story of the Bible," by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut, D.D. Copyright 1905.
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