Read Genesis 40:1-41:36. How are the dreams of Pharaoh related to the dreams of the officers? What is the significance of this parallel?
The providential character of the events continues. Over time, Joseph is put in charge of the prisoners, two of whom happen to be former officers of Pharaoh, a butler and a baker (Genesis 41:9-11).
They are both troubled by dreams that they cannot understand, because “there is no interpreter” (Genesis 40:8). Joseph, then, interprets their respective dreams.
In parallel to the two officers’ dreams, Pharaoh also has two dreams, which no one can interpret (Genesis 41:1-8). At that moment the butler providentially remembers Joseph and recommends him to Pharaoh (Genesis 41:9-13).
In parallel to the other dreams, Pharaoh, like the officers, is troubled, and like them reveals his dreams (Genesis 41:14-24), and Joseph interprets them. Like the officers’ dreams, Pharaoh’s dreams display parallels of symbols: the two series of seven cows (fat and gaunt) just as the two series of heads of grain (plump and thin) represent two series years, one good and one bad. The seven cows parallel the seven heads of grain, repeating the same message, an evidence of their divine origin, just like Joseph’s dreams (Genesis 41:32; compare with Genesis 37:9).
Though Joseph is the one who interpreted the dream for Pharaoh, Joseph makes certain that Pharaoh knows that it was God, Elohim, who showed the king the things that He, God, was going to do (Genesis 41:25, Genesis 41:28). It seems, too, that Pharaoh got the message because, when he decided to appoint someone to be over the land, his argument was as follows:
“Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word” (Genesis 41:39-40, , NKJV).
How fascinating: thanks to God, Joseph goes from ruler over Potiphar’s house to ruler over the prison to ruler over all of Egypt. What a powerful story about how, even amid what looks like terrible circumstances, God’s providences are revealed.
|How can we learn to trust God and cling to His promises when events don’t appear providential at all, and indeed, God seems silent?|