After this, the king of Egypt's cupbearer and his baker offended their master, the king of Egypt.
Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker,
and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prison where Joseph was confined.
The captain of the guard assigned Joseph to them, and he became their personal attendant. And they were in custody for some time.
The cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison, each had a dream. Both had a dream on the same night, and each dream had its own meaning.
When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they looked distraught.
So he asked Pharaoh's officers who were in custody with him in his master's house, "Why are your faces sad today?"
"We had dreams," they said to him, "but there is no one to interpret them." Then Joseph said to them, "Don't interpretations belong to God? Tell me [your dreams]."
So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph: "In my dream there was a vine in front of me.
On the vine were three branches. As soon as it budded, its blossoms came out and its clusters ripened into grapes.
Pharaoh's cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh's cup, and placed the cup in Pharaoh's hand."
"This is its interpretation," Joseph said to him. "The three branches are three days.
In just three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position. You will put Pharaoh's cup in his hand the way you used to when you were his cupbearer.
But when all goes well for you, remember that I was with you. Please show kindness to me by mentioning me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this prison.
For I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing that they should put me in the dungeon."
When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was positive, he said to Joseph, "I also had a dream. Three baskets of white bread were on my head.
In the top basket were all sorts of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head."
"This is its interpretation," Joseph replied. "The three baskets are three days.
In just three days Pharaoh will lift up your head-- from off you-- and hang you on a tree. Then the birds will eat the flesh from your body."
On the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, he gave a feast for all his servants. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker:
he restored the chief cupbearer to his position as cupbearer, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh's hand;
but he hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had explained to them.
Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.
Two years later Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing beside the Nile,
when seven healthy-looking, well-fed cows came up from the Nile and began to graze among the reeds.
After them, seven other cows, sickly and thin, came up from the Nile and stood beside those cows along the bank of the Nile.
The sickly, thin cows ate the healthy, well-fed cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.
He fell asleep and dreamed a second time: Seven heads of grain, full and good, came up on one stalk.
After them, seven heads of grain, thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouted up.
The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven full, good ones. Then Pharaoh woke up, and it was only a dream.
When morning came, he was troubled, so he summoned all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.
Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, "Today I remember my faults.
Pharaoh had been angry with his servants, and he put me and the chief baker in the custody of the captain of the guard.
He and I had dreams on the same night; each dream had its own meaning.
Now a young Hebrew, a slave of the captain of the guards, was with us there. We told him our dreams, he interpreted our dreams for us, and each had its own interpretation.
It turned out just the way he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was hanged."
Then Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and they quickly brought him from the dungeon. He shaved, changed his clothes, and went to Pharaoh.
Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I have had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said about you that you can hear a dream and interpret it."
"I am not able to," Joseph answered Pharaoh. "It is God who will give Pharaoh a favorable answer."
So Pharaoh said to Joseph: "In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile,
when seven well-fed, healthy-looking cows came up from the Nile and began to graze among the reeds.
After them, seven other cows-- ugly, very sickly, and thin-- came up. I've never seen such ugly ones as these in all the land of Egypt.
Then the thin, ugly cows ate the first seven well-fed cows.
When they had devoured them, you could not tell that they had devoured them; their appearance was as bad as it had been before. Then I woke up.
In my dream I had also seen seven heads of grain, full and good, coming up on one stalk.
After them, seven heads of grain-- withered, thin, and scorched by the east wind-- sprouted up.
The thin heads of grain swallowed the seven full ones. I told this to the magicians, but no one can tell me what it means."
Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, "Pharaoh's dreams mean the same thing. God has revealed to Pharaoh what He is about to do.
The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads are seven years. The dreams mean the same thing.
The seven thin, ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven worthless, scorched heads of grain are seven years of famine.
"It is just as I told Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do.
Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt.
After them, seven years of famine will take place, and all the abundance in the land of Egypt will be forgotten. The famine will devastate the land.
The abundance in the land will not be remembered because of the famine that follows it, for the famine will be very severe.
Because the dream was given twice to Pharaoh, it means that the matter has been determined by God, and He will soon carry it out.
"So now, let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and set him over the land of Egypt.
Let Pharaoh do this: Let him appoint overseers over the land and take one-fifth [of the harvest] of the land of Egypt during the seven years of abundance.
Let them gather all the [excess] food during these good years that are coming, store the grain under Pharaoh's authority as food in the cities, and preserve [it].
The food will be a reserve for the land during the seven years of famine that will take place in the land of Egypt. Then the country will not be wiped out by the famine."
The proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants.
Then Pharaoh said to his servants, "Can we find anyone like this, a man who has the spirit of God in him?"
So Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one as intelligent and wise as you.
You will be over my house, and all my people will obey your commands. Only with regard to the throne will I be greater than you."
Pharaoh also said to Joseph, "See, I am placing you over all the land of Egypt."
Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph's hand, clothed him with fine linen garments, and placed a gold chain around his neck.
He had Joseph ride in his second chariot, and [servants] called out before him, "Abrek!" So he placed him over all the land of Egypt.
Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I am Pharaoh, but without your permission no one will be able to raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt."
Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-paneah and gave him a wife, Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest at On. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.
Joseph was 30 years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Joseph left Pharaoh's presence and traveled throughout the land of Egypt.
During the seven years of abundance the land produced outstanding harvests.
Joseph gathered all the [excess] food in the land of Egypt during the seven years and placed it in the cities. He placed the food in every city from the fields around it.
So Joseph stored up grain in such abundance-- like the sand of the sea-- that he stopped measuring it because it was beyond measure.
Two sons were born to Joseph before the years of famine arrived. Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest at On, bore [them] to him.
Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, meaning, "God has made me forget all my hardship in my father's house."
And the second son he named Ephraim, meaning, "God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction."
Then the seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt came to an end,
and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in every country, but throughout the land of Egypt there was food.
Extreme hunger came to all the land of Egypt, and the people cried out to Pharaoh for food. Pharaoh told all Egypt, "Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you."
Because the famine had spread across the whole country, Joseph opened up [all the storehouses] and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt.
The whole world came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, for the famine was severe all over the earth.
When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, "Why do you keep looking at each other?
Listen," he went on, "I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us so that we will live and not die."
So 10 of Joseph's brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt.
But Jacob did not send Joseph's brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he thought, "Something might happen to him."
The sons of Israel were among those who came to buy grain, for the famine was in the land of Canaan.
Joseph was in charge of the country; he sold grain to all its people. His brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the ground.
When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke harshly to them. "Where do you come from?" he asked. "From the land of Canaan to buy food," they replied.
Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him.
Joseph remembered his dreams about them and said to them, "You are spies. You have come to see the weakness of the land."
"No, my lord. Your servants have come to buy food," they said.
"We are all sons of one man. We are honest; your servants are not spies."
"No," he said to them. "You have come to see the weakness of the land."
But they replied, "We, your servants, were 12 brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan. The youngest is now with our father, and one is no longer living."
Then Joseph said to them, "I have spoken: 'You are spies!'
This is how you will be tested: As surely as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here.
Send one of your number to get your brother. The rest of you will be imprisoned so that your words can be tested to see if they are true. If they are not, then as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!"
So Joseph imprisoned them together for three days.
On the third day Joseph said to them, "I fear God-- do this and you will live.
If you are honest men, let one of you be confined to the guardhouse, while the rest of you go and take grain [to relieve] the hunger of your households.
Bring your youngest brother to me so that your words can be confirmed; then you won't die." And they consented to this.
Then they said to each other, "It is plain that we are being punished for what we did to our brother. We saw his deep distress when he pleaded with us, but we would not listen. That is why this trouble has come to us."
But Reuben replied: "Didn't I tell you not to harm the boy? But you wouldn't listen. Now we must account for his blood!"
They did not realize that Joseph understood them, since there was an interpreter between them.
He turned away from them and wept. Then he turned back and spoke to them. He took Simeon from them and had him bound before their eyes.
Joseph then gave orders to fill their containers with grain, return each man's money to his sack, and give them provisions for their journey. This order was carried out.
They loaded the grain on their donkeys and left there.
At the place where they lodged for the night, one of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey, and he saw his money there at the top of the bag.
He said to his brothers, "My money has been returned! It's here in my bag." Their hearts sank. Trembling, they turned to one another and said, "What is this that God has done to us?"
When they reached their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them:
"The man who is the lord of the country spoke harshly to us and accused us of spying on the country.
But we told him: We are honest men and not spies.
We were 12 brothers, sons of the same father. One is no longer living, and the youngest is now with our father in the land of Canaan.
The man who is the lord of the country said to us, 'This is how I will know if you are honest men: Leave one brother with me, take [food to relieve] the hunger of your households, and go.
Bring back your youngest brother to me, and I will know that you are not spies but honest men. I will then give your brother back to you, and you can trade in the country.'"
As they began emptying their sacks, there in each man's sack was his bag of money! When they and their father saw their bags of money, they were afraid.
Their father Jacob said to them, "You have deprived me of my sons. Joseph is gone and Simeon is gone. Now you want to take Benjamin. Everything happens to me!"
Then Reuben said to his father, "You can kill my two sons if I don't bring him back to you. Put him in my care, and I will return him to you."
But Jacob answered, "My son will not go down with you, for his brother is dead and he alone is left. If anything happens to him on your journey, you will bring my gray hairs down to Sheol in sorrow."