Reading 12/341, Genesis 40-42

In prison, Joseph interprets dreams for fellow prisoners. Then Pharaoh has a dream, and Joseph interprets it, that the next 7 years are good but the 7 years after that will be a famine. Pharaoh puts Joseph in charge of food management. Joseph’s half-brothers come to Egypt for food, and Joseph in disguise accuses them of being spies. He insists that they bring him Benjamin (his full brother).
[A] It is remarkable how Joseph does not take revenge. He is in a position to have Potipher and his wife killed for his false imprisonment but does not. Even with his brothers he does not act like someone who wants revenge but like someone who is torn between the hurt and still loving his family.
[B] It must be news to Joseph that he has another brother. He would never have met Benjamin nor known of the death of his mother. This is why he is so eager to see him.
[C] Why keep Simeon back of the 10 brothers? Judah was the most deserving of extra punishment. It does not seem that Joseph ever let him know who he was for the time he was imprisoned (a year?). Simeon is only known in these stories for killing the men of Shechem with his brother Levi because of Dinah. Perhaps just because he was the 2nd oldest. Not the firstborn, but the oldest after that.

...Genesis...

It happened after these things, that the cupbearer of the king of Egypt and his baker offended their lord, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker. He put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was confined. The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he took care of them. They stayed in prison many days.

They both dreamed a dream, each man his dream, in one night, each dream with its own interpretation, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison. Joseph came to them in the morning and saw them and saw that they were sad. He asked Pharaoh's officers who were with him in custody in his master's house, saying, "Why do you look so sad today?" They said to him, "We have dreamed a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it." Joseph said to them, "Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell it to me."

The chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, "In my dream, behold, a vine was in front of me, and in the vine were three branches. It was as though it budded, its blossoms shot forth, and the clusters of it brought forth ripe grapes. Pharaoh's cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand." Joseph said to him, "This is the interpretation of it: the three branches are three days. Within three more days, Pharaoh will lift up your head, and restore you to your office. You will give Pharaoh's cup into his hand, the way you did when you were his cupbearer. But remember me when it will be well with you, and show kindness, please, to me, and make mention of me to Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house. For indeed, I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews, and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon." When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said to Joseph, "I also was in my dream, and behold, three baskets of white bread were on my head. In the uppermost basket there were all kinds of baked food for Pharaoh, and the birds ate them out of the basket on my head." Joseph answered, "This is the interpretation of it. The three baskets are three days. Within three more days, Pharaoh will lift up your head from off of you, and will hang you on a tree, and the birds will eat your flesh from off you." It happened the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, that he made a feast for all his servants, and he lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. He restored the chief cupbearer to his position again, and he gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand; but he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.

It happened at the end of two full years that Pharaoh dreamed: and behold, he stood by the river. Behold, there came up out of the river seven cattle, sleek and fat, and they fed in the marsh grass. Behold, seven other cattle came up after them out of the river, ugly and thin, and stood by the other cattle on the brink of the river. The ugly and thin cattle ate up the seven sleek and fat cattle. So Pharaoh awoke. He slept and dreamed a second time: and behold, seven heads of grain came up on one stalk, healthy and good. Behold, seven heads of grain, thin and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy and full ears. Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream. In the morning his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all of Egypt's magicians and wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them to Pharaoh. Then the chief cupbearer spoke to Pharaoh, saying, "I remember my faults today. Pharaoh was angry with his servants, and put me in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, me and the chief baker. We dreamed a dream in one night, he and I. We dreamed, each dream with its own interpretation. There was with us there a young man, a Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard, and we told him, and he interpreted to us our dreams. To each man according to his dream he interpreted. It happened, as he interpreted to us, so it was: I was restored to my office, and he was hanged."

Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon. He shaved himself, changed his clothing, and came in to Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I have dreamed a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it." Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, "It is not in me. God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer." Pharaoh spoke to Joseph, "In my dream, behold, I stood on the brink of the river: and behold, there came up out of the river seven cattle, fat and sleek. They fed in the marsh grass, and behold, seven other cattle came up after them, poor and very ugly and thin, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for ugliness. The thin and ugly cattle ate up the first seven fat cattle, and when they had eaten them up, it would not be known that they had eaten them, for they were still ugly, as at the beginning. So I awoke. Then I saw in my dream, and behold, seven heads of grain came up on one stalk, full and good: and behold, seven heads of grain, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads of grain. I told it to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me."

Joseph said to Pharaoh, "The dream of Pharaoh is one. What God is about to do he has declared to Pharaoh. The seven good cattle are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years. The dream is one. The seven thin and ugly cattle that came up after them are seven years, and also the seven empty heads of grain blasted with the east wind; they will be seven years of famine. That is the thing which I spoke to Pharaoh. What God is about to do he has shown to Pharaoh. Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt. There will arise after them seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will consume the land, and the plenty will not be known in the land by reason of that famine which follows; for it will be very grievous. The dream was doubled to Pharaoh, because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. Now therefore let Pharaoh look for a discreet and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint overseers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt's produce in the seven plenteous years. Let them gather all the food of these good years that come, and lay up grain under the hand of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. The food will be for a store to the land against the seven years of famine, which will be in the land of Egypt; that the land not perish through the famine." The thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants.

Pharaoh said to his servants, "Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?" Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Because God has shown you all of this, there is none so discreet and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and according to your word will all my people be ruled. Only in the throne I will be greater than you." Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Behold, I have set you over all the land of Egypt." Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand, and put it on Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in robes of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck, and he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had. They cried before him, "Bow the knee!" He set him over all the land of Egypt. Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I am Pharaoh, and without you shall no man lift up his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt." Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphenath-paneah, and he gave him Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On as a wife.

Joseph went out over the land of Egypt. Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt. In the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth abundantly. He gathered up all the food of the seven years which were in the land of Egypt, and stored up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, he stored up in the city. Joseph stored up grain as the sand of the sea, very much, until he stopped counting, for it was without number. To Joseph were born two sons before the year of famine came, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore to him. Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh, "For," he said, "God has made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house." The name of the second, he called Ephraim: "For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction." The seven years of plenty, that were in the land of Egypt, came to an end. The seven years of famine began to come, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, and Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, "Go to Joseph. What he says to you, do." The famine was over all the surface of the earth. Joseph opened all the store houses, and sold to the Egyptians. The famine was severe in the land of Egypt.

All countries came into Egypt, to Joseph, to buy grain, because the famine was severe in all the earth. Now Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, and Jacob said to his sons, "Why do you look at one another?" He said, "Behold, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there, and buy some for us there, so that we may live, and not die." Joseph's ten brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph's brother, with his brothers; for he said, "Lest perhaps harm happen to him." The sons of Israel came to buy among those who came, for the famine was in the land of Canaan. Joseph was the governor over the land. It was he who sold to all the people of the land. Joseph's brothers came, and bowed themselves down to him with their faces to the earth. Joseph saw his brothers, and he recognized them, but acted like a stranger to them, and spoke roughly with them. He said to them, "Where did you come from?" They said, "From the land of Canaan to buy food." Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed about them, and said to them, "You are spies! You have come to see the nakedness of the land." They said to him, "No, my lord, but your servants have come to buy food. We are all one man's sons; we are honest men. Your servants are not spies." He said to them, "No, but you have come to see the nakedness of the land." They said, "We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan, and behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is no more." Joseph said to them, "It is like I told you, saying, 'You are spies.' By this you shall be tested. By the life of Pharaoh, you shall not go forth from here, unless your youngest brother comes here. Send one of you, and let him get your brother, and you shall be bound, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you, or else by the life of Pharaoh surely you are spies." He put them all together into custody for three days.

Joseph said to them the third day, "Do this, and live, for I fear God. If you are honest men, then let one of your brothers be confined in your prison; but you go, carry grain for the famine of your houses. Bring your youngest brother to me; so will your words be verified, and you will not die." They did so. They said one to another, "We are certainly guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us, and we would not listen. Therefore this distress has come upon us." Reuben answered them, saying, "Did not I tell you, saying, 'Do not sin against the child,' and you would not listen? Therefore also, behold, his blood is required." They did not know that Joseph understood them; for there was an interpreter between them. He turned himself away from them, and wept. Then he returned to them, and spoke to them, and took Simeon from among them, and bound him before their eyes. Then Joseph gave a command to fill their bags with grain, and to restore every man's money into his sack, and to give them food for the way. So it was done to them. They loaded their donkeys with their grain, and departed from there. As one of them opened his sack to give his donkey food in the lodging place, he saw his money. Behold, it was in the mouth of his sack. He said to his brothers, "My money is restored! Behold, it is in my sack!" Their hearts failed them, and they turned trembling one to another, saying, "What is this that God has done to us?"

They came to Jacob their father, to the land of Canaan, and told him all that had happened to them, saying, "The man, the lord of the land, spoke roughly with us, and took us for spies of the country. We said to him, 'We are honest men. We are not spies. We are twelve brothers, sons of our father; one is no more, and the youngest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan.' The man, the lord of the land, said to us, 'By this I will know that you are honest men: leave one of your brothers with me, and take grain for the famine of your houses, and go your way. Bring your youngest brother to me. Then I will know that you are not spies, but that you are honest men. So I will deliver your brother to you, and you shall trade in the land.'" It happened as they emptied their sacks, that behold, every man's bundle of money was in his sack. When they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were afraid. Jacob, their father, said to them, "You have bereaved me of my children! Joseph is no more, Simeon is no more, and you want to take Benjamin away. All these things are against me." Reuben spoke to his father, saying, "Kill my two sons, if I do not bring him to you. Entrust him to my care, and I will bring him to you again." He said, "My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he alone is left. If harm happens to him along the way in which you go, then you will bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol."

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