Genesis 41:15
Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it."
Great Changes in LifeJ. Parker, D. D.Genesis 41:14-16
Joseph Summoned into Pharaoh's PresenceT. H. Leale.Genesis 41:14-16
The Prime MinisterJ. Dickerson Davies, M. A.Genesis 41:14-16
The Turning-Point in Joseph's CareerC. Overton.Genesis 41:14-16
The Tried ManR.A. Redford Genesis 41

Joseph had probably been three years in prison (cf. ver. 1 with Genesis 40:4). Sorely must his faith have been tried. His brothers, who had plotted his death, prosperous; himself a slave, spending the best years of his life in prison; and that because he had been faithful to God and to his master. We know the end, and therefore hardly realize his desolate condition when no sign of anything but that he should live and die uncared for and forgotten. But the trial comes more home to us when some one for whom we care, or perhaps ourselves, "endure grief, suffering wrongfully;" when unsuspecting frankness has been overreached, or trust betrayed, or feebleness oppressed. We feel not only that wrong has been done, but as if there had been a failure in God's care. It is one thing to acknowledge the doctrine of God's providence, and quite another to feel it under pressure of trouble. A frequent mistake to think of suffering as calling for immediate restitution. Since God beholds the wrong, should there not be some speedy token that he does so? The truth which faith has to grasp is that God is carrying out a plan, for which all these things are a preparation. We may not be able to trace it; but it is so. Thus it was with Joseph. All through these sad years God was guiding him. It was not merely that in time the cloud was removed; every step of the way had its purpose (John 16:20). In the prison he was learning lessons of the soul, - unlearning the spirit of censoriousness and of self-complacency (Genesis 37:2), - and, by obeying, learning how to rule. And the course of events bore him on to what was prepared for him. Had he remained at home, or returned thither, or had Potiphar not cast him into prison, he would not have been the head of a great work in Egypt, the helper of his family, the instrument of fulfilling God's promise. Not one step of his course was in vain; his sufferings were blessings.

I. IN SUFFERING WRONG WE ARE FOLLOWING CHRIST. He suffered for us, "leaving us an example" (1 Peter 2:21) of willingness to suffer for the good of others. This is the principle of self-sacrifice; not a self-willed sacrifice (Colossians 2:23), but the submission of the will to God (Luke 22:42; Hebrews 10:7). "This is acceptable with God" - to accept as from him what he sends, though we may-not see its use (Hebrews 12:5-7).

II. FOR EVERY CHRISTIAN THE DISCIPLINE OF SUFFERING IS NEEDFUL. If it was so in our Lord's sinless human nature (Hebrews 2:10), how much more in us, who must be taught to subdue the flesh to the spirit I Without trial Christian courage and fruit-bearing graces would fail (John 15:2), as without the winter's cold the forest tree would not form sound wood. And trial calls them into exercise (Romans 5:3), and through a sense of our weakness draws us nearer to God (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).

III. NOT ONLY TRIAL IN GENERAL, BUT EVERY PART OF IT WORKS GOOD. To every part the promise applies (John 16:20). So it was with Joseph. God lays no stroke without cause (Hebrews 12:10). The conviction of this works practical patience. This particular suffering has its own loving message.

IV. WE OFTEN CANNOT FORESEE THE PURPOSE OF TRIALS. How different was the end to which God was leading Joseph from anything he could have expected or hoped for! Yet far better. We can see but a very little way along the path by which God is leading us. We walk by faith that his guidance is unerring, and that which he has provided is best (Ephesians 3:20). - M.

Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph.
I. HIS LONG WAITING FOR NOTICE AND DELIVERANCE. The religious mind will see in this the wisdom of God.

1. In regard to the education of character.

2. In its adaptation to the circumstances of the individual.

3. In its elevation above all human infirmities.

II. THE MANIFEST HAND OF GOD IN IT. It was wisely ordered that Joseph should be under no obligation to Pharaoh for his deliverance. It is for his own sake that Pharaoh sends for Joseph. The chief butler was suffered to forget his friend, the prophet of his deliverance, and was forced to remember him only by circumstances. To neither of them was Joseph indebted. Thus it was God's design that the chosen family should be under obligations to none. Their calling was to impart blessings to mankind, and not to receive.


1. His simplicity of character. He makes no long speech. He does not use the opportunity to glorify himself, or to plead for liberty and reward. His manner was dignified and respectful, yet marked by great openness and simplicity of character. Joseph is the same in the palace or in the prison.

2. His humility. He indulged in no spirit of boasting, though this compliment from the king would have tempted weaker men to be vain and proud (ver. 15). Joseph never forgot his character as a witness for God.

3. His calmness. He was conscious of God's presence and of his own integrity, so he could afford to be calm before the rulers of this world.

4. His kindly consideration for others. Pharaoh might have reason for the worst fears when he heard of the interpretation of the baker's dream. Though a king he was not exempt from the common evils of human nature; nor from death — the chief calamity. But Joseph hastens to remove all fear of an unfavourable interpretation from his mind, by assuring him that the future had in it nothing but what would make for the peace of Pharaoh.

(T. H. Leale.)

It is a very difficult thing to let patience have her perfect work. Who has not felt again and again the truth of the proverb, Hope deferred maketh the heart sick?

I. This sickness would, no doubt, again and again be felt by Joseph, when his patience was so long and so severely tried.

II. Look now at the means by which the deliverance of Joseph was brought about.

III. The perplexity of Pharaoh would only be increased by the inability of his wise men to resolve his doubts.

IV. Look now at Joseph's introduction to Pharaoh.

V. See now what Joseph did, after interpreting Pharaoh's dream. He did not stop there. He suggested the practical use to be made of the Divine revelation which was now granted.

(C. Overton.)


1. The elevation was unanimous. The imprisoned Hebrew had surprised king and statesmen with his high and noble qualities. By subtle methods God moved their hearts, and in a short hour Joseph was raised from prison to the highest pinnacle of power.

2. His main recommendation was spiritual Pharaoh recognized him at once as a man in whom dwelt the Spirit of God. The power of the Spirit is available for any emergency.

3. He was entrusted with supreme authority. Such was the high estimate of Joseph, created in all minds, that they felt he was worthy of the largest trust. They could trust him as they trusted the law of gravitation. A Christian will never abuse his power. Now, Joseph's early dreams begin to be realized.


1. It was transparent with honesty. Looking down into the clear waters of an Italian lake at night, you may see every star of heaven faithfully reflected; so, looking into Joseph's character, every grace and virtue of heaven seemed there to shine. His mind was the mirror of an honest purpose.

2. It was a character marked by energy. Indolence, so common among Orientals, found no place in him. Soon as duty was discovered, it was discharged.

3. He was as religious in prosperity as in adversity. This is solid worth; this is rare piety. That tree is well-rooted which, can bear the scorching heat of summer, as well as the cold blast of a winter's storm; so that man's soul is well-rooted in God who is as prayerful in a mansion as he was in a prison. When children were born in Joseph's house the God of his fathers was not forgotten.


1. Joseph was a great economist. In His administration God is a great economist, and Joseph followed God. Our spiritual riches should supply the lack in others.

2. Joseph was a man of order. Nothing was left at haphazard. In an enterprise so vast order was essential to success.

3. Joseph's policy turned disaster into blessings. In Potiphar's house, and in the State prison, Joseph had been learning daily the kind of administration prevalent in Egypt. His vigorous mind detected its weak points. He saw how easily discontent and sedition might arise; he saw where corruption and misrule crept in. And now he found an opportunity for applying a remedy. As the Prime Minister for Pharaoh, he made the sceptre of the king everywhere more powerful.

(J. Dickerson Davies, M. A.)

There are great changes in life. Some of our lives amount to a succession of rapid changes; and it takes a man of some moral nerve and stamina to stand the violent alternations of fortune. Some men cannot bear promotion. It is dangerous to send little boats far out into the sea. Some men are clever, sharp, natty, precise, wonderfully well informed, newspaper fed and fattened, and yet, if you were to increase their wages just a pound a week, they would lose their heads. That is a most marvellous thing, and yet nobody ever thought he would lose his head with such an increase of fortune. But it is a simple fact, that some men could not bear to step out of a dungeon into a palace: it would kill them. What helps a man to bear these changes of fortune, whether they be down or up? God-He can give a man gracefulness of mien when he has to walk down, and God can give him enhanced princely dignity when he has to walk up; a right moral condition, a right state of heart, the power of putting a proper valuation upon prisons and palaces, gold and dross. Nothing but such moral rectitude can give a man security amidst all the changes of fortune or position in life. His information will not do it; his genius will not do it. Nothing will do it but a Divine state of heart. It is beautiful to talk to a man who has such a state of heart, when great changes and wonderful surprises come upon him — when Pharaohs send for him in haste. It is always a good and stimulating thing to talk to a great man, a great nature, a man that has some completeness about him. It must be always a very ticklish, delicate, and unpleasant thing to talk to snobs and shams and well-tailored mush. rooms; but a noble thing to talk to a noble man, who knows what prison life is, who knows what hardness of life is, and that has some notion of how to behave himself even when the greatest personages require his attendance. Few men could have borne this change. None of us can bear the great changes of life with calmness, fortitude, dignity, except we be rightly established in things that are Divine and everlasting.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Asenath, Egyptians, Joseph, Manasseh, Pharaoh, Potipherah, Zaphnathpaaneah
Egypt, Nile River, On
Able, Canst, Dream, Dreamed, Dreamt, Ears, Hearest, Interpret, Interpreter, Joseph, None, Pharaoh, Saying, Sense, Understand, Understandest
1. Pharaoh has two dreams.
9. Joseph interprets them.
33. He gives Pharaoh counsel, and is highly advanced, and married.
46. The seven years of plenty.
50. He begets children.
53. The famine begins.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Genesis 41:15

     8366   wisdom, source of

Genesis 41:1-49

     8131   guidance, results

Genesis 41:10-32

     7730   explanation

Genesis 41:15-16

     1409   dream
     1424   predictions
     8308   modesty

The Covenant of Works
Q-12: I proceed to the next question, WHAT SPECIAL ACT OF PROVIDENCE DID GOD EXERCISE TOWARDS MAN IN THE ESTATE WHEREIN HE WAS CREATED? A: When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him upon condition of perfect obedience, forbidding him to eat of the tree of knowledge upon pain of death. For this, consult with Gen 2:16, 17: And the Lord commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

The Earliest Chapters in Divine Revelation
[Sidenote: The nature of inspiration] Since the days of the Greek philosophers the subject of inspiration and revelation has been fertile theme for discussion and dispute among scholars and theologians. Many different theories have been advanced, and ultimately abandoned as untenable. In its simplest meaning and use, inspiration describes the personal influence of one individual upon the mind and spirit of another. Thus we often say, "That man inspired me." What we are or do under the influence
Charles Foster Kent—The Origin & Permanent Value of the Old Testament

Man's Chief End
Q-I: WHAT IS THE CHIEF END OF MAN? A: Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever. Here are two ends of life specified. 1: The glorifying of God. 2: The enjoying of God. I. The glorifying of God, I Pet 4:4: That God in all things may be glorified.' The glory of God is a silver thread which must run through all our actions. I Cor 10:01. Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.' Everything works to some end in things natural and artificial;
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

The First Chaldaean Empire and the Hyksos in Egypt
Syria: the part played by it in the ancient world--Babylon and the first Chaldaean empire--The dominion of the Hyksos: Ahmosis. Some countries seem destined from their origin to become the battle-fields of the contending nations which environ them. Into such regions, and to their cost, neighbouring peoples come from century to century to settle their quarrels and bring to an issue the questions of supremacy which disturb their little corner of the world. The nations around are eager for the possession
G. Maspero—History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, V 4

Second Great Group of Parables.
(Probably in Peræa.) Subdivision F. Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. ^C Luke XVI. 19-31. [The parable we are about to study is a direct advance upon the thoughts in the previous section. We may say generally that if the parable of the unjust steward teaches how riches are to be used, this parable sets forth the terrible consequences of a failure to so use them. Each point of the previous discourse is covered in detail, as will be shown by the references in the discussion of the parable.]
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Roman Pilgrimage: the Miracles which were Wrought in It.
[Sidenote: 1139] 33. (20). It seemed to him, however, that one could not go on doing these things with sufficient security without the authority of the Apostolic See; and for that reason he determined to set out for Rome, and most of all because the metropolitan see still lacked, and from the beginning had lacked, the use of the pall, which is the fullness of honour.[507] And it seemed good in his eyes[508] that the church for which he had laboured so much[509] should acquire, by his zeal and labour,
H. J. Lawlor—St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Life of St. Malachy of Armagh

Appendix 2 Extracts from the Babylon Talmud
Massecheth Berachoth, or Tractate on Benedictions [76] Mishnah--From what time is the "Shema" said in the evening? From the hour that the priests entered to eat of their therumah [77] until the end of the first night watch. [78] These are the words of Rabbi Eliezer. But the sages say: Till midnight. Rabban Gamaliel says: Until the column of the morning (the dawn) rises. It happened, that his sons came back from a banquet. They said to him: "We have not said the Shema.'" He said to them, "If the column
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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