It Is Not In Me: The Thing Fixed By God

a. The Pharaoh’s story. Without further ado, Pharaoh launches into the telling of his dreams. There is not much difference between the two accounts given in the text except in the second Pharaoh adds some commentary. He says that he had never seen such ugly cows in all of Egypt and after they had eaten the plump cows they were still ugly. The sight of the evil cows and bad corn left an obvious impression upon the man. At the end of the story, Pharaoh mentions again that his magicians had failed him. b. Why two dreams? In verses 25 – 32 Joseph gives the meaning of the two dreams. First, the two dreams are foretelling the same future events. Joseph says that the reason there were two dreams instead of one is that the thing is fixed by God and God will shortly bring it about. The repetition shows the importance, the certainty, and the closeness of the events to come. This should remind us of Joseph’s own dreams that he had that were two different visions but had the same meaning. Often skeptics will read Scripture and see the repetitions as errors or a repackaging of a story, but we are reminded here that God often brings repetitions about to secure in our minds that he is sovereign and that the events that occur are not accidental but planned by an infinite mind. c. The Meaning. The meaning of the dreams is fairly simple. There will be seven years of abundance throughout the land of Egypt, but then there will be seven years of famine. The famine will be so great that the seven years of abundance will be forgotten. You wouldn’t even be able to tell that the good years even happened that’s how bad the famine will be. And so, God has graciously given the Pharaoh a warning as to what the next 14 years will bring. What will the Pharaoh do with this information? Will he heed the warning or will he just enjoy the seven good years? d. Joseph’s advice. Joseph doesn’t just give the interpretation of the dreams, but he also gives his advice as to what the Pharaoh needs to do in response to the dreams. First, Pharaoh needs to appoint a wise and discerning man to oversee everything. Then he needs to appoint overseers throughout the land to take as tribute one-fifth of the produce in the seven plentiful years. They are to gather up the food and store it and then distribute it to the people when the famine hits thereby saving the land of Egypt.

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