OceanSide church of Christ

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Genesis 41

Victor M. Eskew


I.           The Title of Genesis 41


A.   An Extreme Rise in Rank

B.    From Prison to Power

C.   Josephs Interprets Pharaoh’s Dreams

D.   God’s Answer of Peace to Pharaoh (Gen. 41:16)


II.         The Key Verse of Genesis 41:  Genesis 41:39-40


And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath showed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art:  thou shalt be over my house, and according to thy word shall all my people be ruled:  only in the throne will I be greater than thou.


Why this verse?  Pharaoh acknowledges God as the one that revealed the interpret-tation of his dreams to Joseph.  In addition, we learn of Joseph’s exaltation by Pharaoh to second in the kingdom.


III.       The Outline of Genesis 41


i.               TWO DREAMS (Gen. 41:1-7)

ii.              TWO INTERPRETERS (Gen. 41:8-13)

iii.            TWO PERIODS (Gen. 41:14-36)

iv.            TWO RULERS (Gen. 41:38-57)


IV.        The Lessons of Genesis 41


A.   Overall, we are again impressed with the providence of God.

1.     It takes time (Gen. 41:1).

2.     It works through others (Gen. 41:9-13).

3.     It exalts the lowly (Gen. 41:41).

4.     It sets God’s people in the right place at the right time (Gen. 41:57).


B.    God’s people must be patient and wait upon God’s timing to come to pass (Gen. 41:1).


And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed:  and, behold, he stood by the river.


1.     Psalm 37:7a


Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him…




2.     Psalm 37:34a


Wait on the Lord, and keep his way…


3.     Psalm 27:14


Wait on the Lord:  be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart:  wait, I say, on the Lord.


4.     Psalm 59:9


Because of his strength will I wait upon thee:  for God is my defense.


C.   God has used evil men to accomplish His purposes.  It was Pharaoh who dreamed these two dreams (Gen. 41:1-7).


D.   Man’s wisdom is limited in the ways of God unless God reveals Himself (Gen. 41:8).


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.


E.    The ability to remember can be a blessing (Gen. 41:9-13).


Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying, I do remember my faults this day…And there was one with us a young man, a Hebrew…


F.     There is an appropriate way to appear before royalty (Gen. 41:14).


Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon:  and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh.


G.   The faithful never cease to give credit to God for what can be done (Gen. 41:16).


And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me:  God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.


H.   If man will give heed to God’s answers, peace will be the result (Gen. 41:16b).


…God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.


I.     God is in control of this world (Gen. 41:25).


And Joseph said unto Pharoah, The dream is one:  God hath showed Pharaoh what he is about to do.


1.     God was about to bless the earth for seven years, then, bring a famine for the next seven.

2.     We are reminded when Elijah said that rain would be withheld from the earth for three years and six months (I Kings 18:1; James 5:17).

3.     Hebrews 1:3


…and upholding all things by the word of his power.


J.    God only needs to speak once for something to be truth.  When he speaks twice, “…it is because the thing is established by God” (Gen. 41:32).


K.   When hard times approach, a wise man with a wise plan is needed for survival (Gen. 41:33-36).


Now therefore let Pharaoh look 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 corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities.  And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through famine.


L.    A wise leader will recognize a wise man and set him over a work that he knows and understands (Gen. 41:38-41).


And Pharaoh said unto his servant, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?  And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath showed 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.


M.  It is possible for a man of God to occupy a high office within a nation (Gen. 41:41).


And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.


N.   All programs of work need “one man” who is in charge, calling the shots (Gen. 41:44, 55).


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.


O.   Joseph was given an Egyptian name:  Zaphnath-paaneah (Gen. 41:45).

1.     The meaning is not certain.

a.     BDB:  treasury of the glorious rest

b.    Coptic:  revealer of secrets

c.    Egyptian:  the Savior of the world



P.    Plans alone are not enough.  Plan must be effectively carried out (Gen. 41:48-49).


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:  the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same.  And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he lft numbering; of it was without number.


Q.   As we read the text, we are impressed with the accuracy of the fulfillment of Joseph’s interpretation.

1.     “…gathered corn as the sand of the sea…for it was without number” (Gen. 41:49).

2.     “And the seven years of plenteous, that was in the land of Egypt were ended” (Gen. 41:53).

3.     “And the seven years of dearth began to come…” (Gen. 49:54).

4.     …And the famine waxed sore in the land…” (Gen. 41:57).

5.     “…because the famine was sore in the land of Egypt” (Gen. 41:57).


R.    God ultimately brought comfort to the life of Joseph.  This was reflected in the names of his sons (Gen. 41:51-52).


And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh:  For God, said he, hath made me to forget all my toil, and all my father’s house.  And the name of second called he Ephraim:  For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.


S.    Plans properly executed bring reward (Gen. 41:54, 56).


…and the dearth was in all land, but in the land of Egypt there was bread….And Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians.


T.    God’s providence continues to work (Gen. 41:57).


And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to bring corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.


1.     Joseph was in a position wherein individuals were required to bow before him (See Gen. 41:43).

2.     How was his family going to be brought into his presence?  The answer lies in the famine and Egypt’s preparation for it.