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026 Joseph’s Promotion to ruler in Egypt

‘And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt … and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.’ Genesis 41:41-44

Key Verse:

“And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do” Genesis 41:55

(Genesis 40-42)

In our last lesson, we began to learn about Joseph, who was the eleventh of Jacob’s twelve sons. We read how Joseph dreamed that his brothers would one day bow down to him. Joseph’s brothers did not believe him. However, we will see how God fulfilled Joseph’s dream in causing his brothers to come and kneel before him.

As we learned, Joseph’s older brothers hated and persecuted him

because of his dreams.

In their anger and jealousy, they went so far as to sell him as a slave to some merchants who were descendants of Ishmael. The Ishmaelites took Joseph to Egypt and sold him to an official of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. As for Joseph, he was a faithful servant and honest in his work, because

he walked with God.

God fulfilled Joseph’s dream in causing his brothers to come and kneel before Joseph was also very handsome, which caused the wife of his master to lust after him, wanting to lie with him. But Joseph refused, answering the woman, 

“How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” 

When Joseph refused to commit adultery with her, the woman spoke against Joseph and had him locked up. However, Joseph preferred to go to prison rather than to enjoy pleasures of sin for a short time.

Joseph put God first in his life.

For two years Joseph remained in the prison, but

God had not forgotten him.

Now then, let us continue in Genesis and see how God changed Joseph’s circumstances. The Scriptures say: (Gen. 41; 42:1-9) “And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that

Pharaoh dreamed:

and, behold, he stood by the river. And, behold, there came up out of the river seven well favoured cows and fat fleshed; and they fed in the meadow. And behold, seven other cows came up after them out of the river, ill favoured and lean fleshed; and stood by the other cows upon the brink of the river. And the ill favoured and lean fleshed cows did eat up the seven well favoured and fat cows.

So Pharaoh awoke.

And he slept and dreamed the second time: and, behold, seven ears of grain came up upon one stalk, full and good. And, behold, seven thin ears and blighted with the east wind sprung up after them. And the seven thin ears devoured the seven fat and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold,

it was a dream.

And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh. Then spoke the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying,

I do remember my faults this day.

Pharaoh was angry with his servants, and put me in prison in the captain of the guard’s house, both me and the chief baker. And we dreamed a dream in one night, I and he; we dreamed each man according to the interpretation of his dream. And there was there with us a young man, an Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard; and we told him,

and he interpreted to us our dreams;

to his man according to his dream he did interpret. And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us, so it was; me he restored unto mine office, and him he hanged. Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon (prison): and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph,

I have dreamed a dream,

and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, it is not in me;

God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.

And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, in my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river. And, behold, there came up out of the river seven cows, fat fleshed and well favoured; and they fed in a meadow. And, behold, seven other cows came up after them, poor and very ill favoured and lean fleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness. And the lean and the ill favoured cows did eat up the first seven fat cows. And when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them; but they were still ill favoured, as at the beginning.

So I awoke.

And I saw in my dream, and, behold, seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good. And, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blighted with the east wing, sprung up after them. And the thin ears devoured the seven good ears: and I told this unto the magicians; but there was none that could declare it to me. And Joseph said unto Pharaoh,

the dream of Pharaoh is one:

God hath shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one. And the seven thin and ill favoured cows are seven years; and the seven empty blighted ears blighted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine. This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh:

What God is about to do he showeth unto Pharaoh.

Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt. And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land; and the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous. And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. Now therefore

let Pharaoh seek out a man discreet and wise,

and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up grain under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. And that food shall be for storage in the land against

the seven years of famine,

which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through famine. And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants. And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such an one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?

And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shown thee all this,

there is none so discreet and wise as thou art.

Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See,

I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.

And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in clothes of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; and he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphenathpaneah meaning

“Preserver of Life”

and he gave him as wife Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt. And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh, king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt. And in the seven plenteous years

the earth brought forth handfuls.

And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: and the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he in the store. And Joseph gathered grain as the sand of the sea, very much, until he ceased numbering; for it was without number. And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, bore unto him. And Joseph called the name of the firstborn

Manasseh:

For God, he said, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house. And the name of the second called he

Ephraim:

For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction. And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended. And the seven years of famine began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the famine was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians,

Go unto Joseph;

what he saith to you, do. And the famine was over all the face of the earth. And Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. And all the countries came into Egypt to Joseph to buy grain; because the famine was so severe in all lands. Now when Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another? And he said, Behold, I have heard that

there is grain in Egypt:

get you down there, and buy for us from there; that we may live, and not die. And Joseph’s ten brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. But Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest perhaps mischief befall him. And the sons of Israel came to buy grain among those that came; for the famine was in the land of Canaan.

And Joseph was governor over the land,

and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth. And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them; and he said unto them, From where come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food. And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew him not.

And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them,

and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.”

Do you understand what happened? We see Joseph’s older brothers bowing down before their younger brother Joseph, exactly as he had dreamed long ago! This Joseph whom they had hated, denied, and wanted to kill–in the end,

they bowed before him!

Joseph immediately recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him, because they had not seen him for more than twenty years! In our next lesson, God willing, we will finish the story of Joseph and see how he made himself known to his brothers.

What does God want to teach us

through the story of Joseph and his brothers? God wants to make known to us that what happened between Joseph and his brothers is an illustration of what would happen between the Savior of the world and the descendants of Adam. Friends, if we remember only one thing from our lesson today, let it be this: Joseph was a shadow (a picture) of the Savior whom God promised to send into the world. There are at least

one hundred different events

in the story of Joseph which illustrate the story of the Redeemer who came into the world some eighteen hundred years later. Obviously, we do not have time in this lesson to mention all the comparisons – but we will mention three.

1) First, we saw how Joseph’s older brothers rejected both him and his dreams. They hated him, insulted him and even sold him.

The same things happened to the Savior

whom God sent into the world. The people of the world rejected both the Redeemer and His message – insulting Him, persecuting Him, selling Him, and even nailing Him to a cross.

2) The second picture is this: At first, people despised, ignored, mistreated, and imprisoned Joseph. Yet in God’s chosen time the king of Egypt appointed Joseph as the supreme ruler over the whole land, declaring to all who wanted to be saved from hunger and death:

“Go to Joseph,

the Preserver of Life!” In the same way, concerning the Savior of the world whom God has sent down, the LORD God says: Go to the Savior whom I have appointed! He is the Preserver of Life;

He is the Source of Life!

If you submit yourself to Him, you will never again experience hunger in your heart and your soul shall live forever.

3) The third comparison between Joseph and the Redeemer is a solemn one. In the end,

Joseph’s brothers submitted to his authority.

They had no choice but to prostrate themselves before the very one they had denied and dishonoured! In the same way, the Word of God announces that the Redeemer, whom so many deny and dishonour to this very day, will one day return to judge the world in righteousness. In that day

all the people of the world will bow before Him;

all will know that He is the One whom God has appointed as the Savior and the Judge of the world!

Dear friend,

how about you?

Have you given yourself to the Savior whom God has appointed to preserve you from eternal judgement? Or will you wait until it is too late, until the Day of Judgement—when you will be forced to bow before Him?

We must stop here, but that doesn’t mean you need to stop thinking about this lesson!

May God bless you and give you understanding into all you have studied in this lesson. The Word of God says: 

“We have also a more sure word of prophecy, unto which ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place.” (2 Pet. 1:19)

We would invite you to answer the questions attached and send them together with any questions that you might have

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