1tn Heb “two years, days.”

2tn Heb “was dreaming.”

3tn Heb “And look, he was standing by the Nile, and look, from the Nile were coming up seven cows, attractive of appearance and fat of flesh.” By the use of the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”), the narrator invites the audience to see the dream through Pharaoh’s eyes.

4tn Heb “And look, seven other cows were coming up after them from the Nile, bad of appearance and thin of flesh.”

5tn Heb “the Nile.” This has been replaced by “the river” in the translation for stylistic reasons.

6tn Heb “coming up.”

7tn Heb “fat.”

8tn Heb “And look.”

9tn Heb “And look, a dream.”

sn Pharaoh’s two dreams, as explained in the following verses, pertained to the economy of Egypt. Because of the Nile River, the land of Egypt weathered all kinds of famines – there was usually grain in Egypt, and if there was grain and water the livestock would flourish. These two dreams, however, indicated that poverty would overtake plenty and that the blessing of the herd and the field would cease.

10tn Heb “his spirit.”

11tn Heb “he sent and called,” which indicates an official summons.

12tn The Hebrew term חַרְטֹם (khartom) is an Egyptian loanword (hyr-tp) that describes a class of priests who were skilled in such interpretations.

13tn The Hebrew text has the singular (though the Samaritan Pentateuch reads the plural). If retained, the singular must be collective for the set of dreams. Note the plural pronoun “them,” referring to the dreams, in the next clause. However, note that in v. 15 Pharaoh uses the singular to refer to the two dreams. In vv. 17-24 Pharaoh seems to treat the dreams as two parts of one dream (see especially v. 22).

14tn “there was no interpreter.”

15tn Heb “for Pharaoh.” The pronoun “him” has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons.

16tn Heb “sins, offenses.” He probably refers here to the offenses that landed him in prison (see 40:1).

17tn Heb “and we dreamed a dream in one night, I and he, each according to the interpretation of his dream we dreamed.”

18tn Or “slave.”

19tn Heb “a servant to the captain of the guards.” On this construction see GKC 419-20 §129.c.

20tn The words “our dreams” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

21tn Heb “and he interpreted for us our dreams, each according to his dream he interpreted.”

22tn Heb “interpreted.”

23tn Heb “he”; the referent (Pharaoh) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

24tn Heb “him”; the referent (the baker) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

25tn Heb “and Pharaoh sent and called,” indicating a summons to the royal court.

26tn Heb “dreamed a dream.”

27tn Heb “there is no one interpreting.”

28tn Heb “saying.”

29tn Heb “you hear a dream to interpret it,” which may mean, “you only have to hear a dream to be able to interpret it.”

30tn Heb “not within me.”

31tn Heb “God will answer.”

32tn The expression שְׁלוֹם פַּרְעֹה (sh’lom paroh) is here rendered “the welfare of Pharaoh” because the dream will be about life in his land. Some interpret it to mean an answer of “peace” – one that will calm his heart, or give him the answer that he desires (cf. NIV, NRSV, NLT).

33tn Heb “In my dream look, I was standing.” The use of the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) here (and also in vv. 18, 19, 22, 23) invites the hearer (within the context of the narrative, Joseph; but in the broader sense the reader or hearer of the Book of Genesis) to observe the scene through Pharaoh’s eyes.

34tn Heb “and look, from the Nile seven cows were coming up, fat of flesh and attractive of appearance, and they grazed in the reeds.”

35tn Heb “And look.”

36tn The word “cows” is supplied here in the translation for stylistic reasons.

37tn Heb “the seven first fat cows.”

38tn Heb “when they went inside them.”

39tn Heb “it was not known.”

40tn Heb “and I saw in my dream and look.”

41tn Heb “And look.”

42tn The words “all this” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

43tn Heb “and there was no one telling me.”

44tn Heb “the dream of Pharaoh is one.”

45tn Heb “declared.”

46tn The active participle here indicates what is imminent.

47tn Heb “one dream it is.”

48tn Heb “are.” Another option is to translate, “There will be seven years of famine.”

49tn Heb “it is the word that I spoke.”

50tn The perfect with the vav consecutive continues the time frame of the preceding participle, which has an imminent future nuance here.

51tn The Hebrew verb כָּלָה (kalah) in the Piel stem means “to finish, to destroy, to bring an end to.” The severity of the famine will ruin the land of Egypt.

52tn Heb “known.”

53tn Or “heavy.”

54tn Heb “and concerning the repeating of the dream to Pharaoh two times.” The Niphal infinitive here is the object of the preposition; it is followed by the subjective genitive “of the dream.”

55tn Heb “established.”

56tn The clause combines a participle and an infinitive construct: God “is hurrying…to do it,” meaning he is going to do it soon.

57tn Heb “let Pharaoh look.” The jussive form expresses Joseph’s advice to Pharaoh.

58tn Heb “a man discerning and wise.” The order of the terms is rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.

59tn Heb “and let him set him.”

60tn The imperfect verbal form has an obligatory nuance here. The Samaritan Pentateuch has a jussive form here, “and let [Pharaoh] do.”

61tn Heb “and let him appoint.” The jussive form expresses Joseph’s advice to Pharaoh.

62tn Heb “appointees.” The noun is a cognate accusative of the preceding verb. Since “appoint appointees” would be redundant in English, the term “officials” was used in the translation instead.

63tn Heb “and he shall collect a fifth of the land of Egypt.” The language is figurative (metonymy); it means what the land produces, i.e., the harvest.

64tn Heb “all the food.”

65tn Heb “under the hand of Pharaoh.”

66tn Heb “[for] food in the cities.” The noun translated “food” is an adverbial accusative in the sentence.

67tn The perfect with vav (ו) consecutive carries the same force as the sequence of jussives before it.

68tn Heb “and the land will not be cut off in the famine.”

69tn Heb “and the matter was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants.”

70tn Heb “like this,” but the referent could be misunderstood to be a man like that described by Joseph in v. 33, rather than Joseph himself. For this reason the proper name “Joseph” has been supplied in the translation.

71tn The rhetorical question expects the answer “No, of course not!”

72tn Heb “as discerning and wise.” The order has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.

73tn Heb “and at your mouth (i.e., instructions) all my people will kiss.” G. J. Wenham translates this “shall kowtow to your instruction” (Genesis [WBC], 2:395). Although there is some textual support for reading “will be judged, ruled by you,” this is probably an attempt to capture the significance of this word. Wenham lists a number of references where individuals have tried to make connections with other words or expressions – such as a root meaning “order themselves” lying behind “kiss,” or an idiomatic idea of “kiss” meaning “seal the mouth,” and so “be silent and submit to.” See K. A. Kitchen, “The Term Nsq in Genesis 41:40,” ExpTim 69 (1957): 30; D. S. Sperling, “Genesis 41:40: A New Interpretation,” JANESCU 10 (1978): 113-19.

74tn Heb “only the throne, I will be greater than you.”

75tn The translation assumes that the perfect verbal form is descriptive of a present action. Another option is to understand it as rhetorical, in which case Pharaoh describes a still future action as if it had already occurred in order to emphasize its certainty. In this case one could translate “I have placed” or “I will place.” The verb נָתַן (natan) is translated here as “to place in authority [over].”

76sn Joseph became the grand vizier of the land of Egypt. See W. A. Ward, “The Egyptian Office of Joseph,” JSS 5 (1960): 144-50; and R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 129-31.

77tn The Hebrew word שֵׁשׁ (shesh) is an Egyptian loanword that describes the fine linen robes that Egyptian royalty wore. The clothing signified Joseph’s rank.

78tn Heb “he”; the referent (Pharaoh) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

79tn Heb “and he caused him to ride in the second chariot which was his.”

80tn The verb form appears to be a causative imperative from a verbal root meaning “to kneel.” It is a homonym of the word “bless” (identical in root letters but not related etymologically).

81tn Heb “apart from you.”

82tn Heb “no man,” but here “man” is generic, referring to people in general.

83tn The idiom “lift up hand or foot” means “take any action” here.

84sn The meaning of Joseph’s Egyptian name, Zaphenath-Paneah, is uncertain. Many recent commentators have followed the proposal of G. Steindorff that it means “the god has said, ‘he will live’” (“Der Name Josephs Saphenat-Pa‘neach,” ZÄS 31 [1889]: 41-42); others have suggested “the god speaks and lives” (see BDB 861 s.v. צָפְנָת פַּעְנֵחַ); “the man he knows” (J. Vergote, Joseph en Égypte, 145); or “Joseph [who is called] įIp-ąankh” (K. A. Kitchen, NBD3 1262).

85sn The name Asenath may mean “she belongs to the goddess Neit” (see HALOT 74 s.v. אָֽסְנַת). A novel was written at the beginning of the first century entitled Joseph and Asenath, which included a legendary account of the conversion of Asenath to Joseph’s faith in Yahweh. However, all that can be determined from this chapter is that their children received Hebrew names. See also V. Aptowitzer, “Asenath, the Wife of Joseph – a Haggadic Literary-Historical Study,” HUCA 1 (1924): 239-306.

86sn On (also in v. 50) is another name for the city of Heliopolis.

87tn Heb “and he passed through.”

88tn Heb “a son of thirty years.”

89tn Heb “when he stood before.”

90tn Heb “went out from before.”

91tn Heb “and he passed through all the land of Egypt”; this phrase is interpreted by JPS to mean that Joseph “emerged in charge of the whole land.”

92tn Heb “brought forth by handfuls.”

93tn Heb “he”; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

94tn Heb “all the food.”

95tn Heb “of the seven years which were in the land of Egypt and placed food in the cities.”

96tn Heb “and Joseph gathered grain like the sand of the sea, multiplying much.” To emphasize the vast amount of grain he stored up, the Hebrew text modifies the verb “gathered” with an infinitive absolute and an adverb.

97tn Heb “before the year of the famine came.”

98tn Heb “gave birth for him.”

99sn The name Manasseh (מְנַשֶּׁה, m’nasheh) describes God’s activity on behalf of Joseph, explaining in general the significance of his change of fortune. The name is a Piel participle, suggesting the meaning “he who brings about forgetfulness.” The Hebrew verb נַשַּׁנִי (nashani) may have been used instead of the normal נִשַּׁנִי (nishani) to provide a closer sound play with the name. The giving of this Hebrew name to his son shows that Joseph retained his heritage and faith; and it shows that a brighter future was in store for him.

100tn The word “saying” has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

101tn Or “for.”

102sn The name Ephraim (אֶפְרַיִם, ’efrayim), a form of the Hebrew verb פָּרָה (parah), means “to bear fruit.” The theme of fruitfulness is connected with this line of the family from Rachel (30:2) on down (see Gen 49:22, Deut 33:13-17, and Hos 13:15). But there is some difficulty with the name “Ephraim” itself. It appears to be a dual, for which F. Delitzsch simply said it meant “double fruitfulness” (New Commentary on Genesis, 2:305). G. J. Spurrell suggested it was a diphthongal pronunciation of a name ending in -an or -am, often thought to be dual suffixes (Notes on the text of the book of Genesis, 334). Many, however, simply connect the name to the territory of Ephraim and interpret it to be “fertile land” (C. Fontinoy, “Les noms de lieux en -ayim dans la Bible,” UF 3 [1971]: 33-40). The dual would then be an old locative ending. There is no doubt that the name became attached to the land in which the tribe settled, and it is possible that is where the dual ending came from, but in this story it refers to Joseph’s God-given fruitfulness.

103tn The word “saying” has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

104tn Or “for.”

105tn Heb “began to arrive.”

106tn Heb “to all Egypt.” The name of the country is used by metonymy for the inhabitants.

107tn Or “over the entire land”; Heb “over all the face of the earth.” The disjunctive clause is circumstantial-temporal to the next clause.

108tc The MT reads “he opened all that was in [or “among”] them.” The translation follows the reading of the LXX and Syriac versions.

109tn Heb “all the earth,” which refers here (by metonymy) to the people of the earth. Note that the following verb is plural in form, indicating that the inhabitants of the earth are in view.