(Calvin, Genesis 2. part 18)

had heard his wife, and in giving the reins to his indignation, just as 
if the guilt of Joseph had been proved; for thus all equity is excluded, 
no just defense is allowed, and finally, the true and accurate 
investigation of the cause is utterly rejected. But it may be asked, How 
could the jealousy of Potiphar be excited, since Moses before has said 
that he was an eunuch? The solution of the question is easy; they were 
accustomed to be called eunuchs in the East, not only who were so 
really, but who were satraps and nobles. Wherefore, this name is of the 
same force as if Moses had said that he was one of the chief men of the 
  20. "And put him into the prison." Though Moses does not state with 
what degree of severity Joseph was afflicted at the beginning of his 
imprisonment, yet we readily gather that he was not allowed any liberty, 
but was thrust into some obscure dungeon. The authority of Potiphar was 
paramount; he had the keeper of the prison under his power, and at his 
disposal. What clemency could be hoped for from a man who was jealous 
and carried away with the vehemence of his anger? There is no doubt that 
what is related of Joseph in Psalm 105: 18, "His feet were made fast in 
fetters, and the iron entered into his soul," had been handed down by 
tradition from the fathers. What a reward of innocence! For, according 
to the flesh, he might ascribe whatever he was suffering to his 
integrity. Truly, in this temptation he must have mourned in great 
perplexity and anxiety before God. And though Moses does not record his 
prayers, yet, since it is certain that he was not crushed beneath the 
cross, and did not murmur against it, it is also probable that he was 
reposing on the hope of Divine help. And to flee unto God is the only 
stay which will support us in our afflictions, the only armour which 
renders us invincible. 
  21. "But the Lord was with Joseph." It appears, from the testimony of 
the Psalmist just cited, that Joseph's extreme sufferings were not 
immediately alleviated. The Lord purposely suffered him to be reduced to 
extremity, that he might bring him back as from the grave. We know that 
as the light of the sun is most clearly seen when we are looking from a 
dark place; so, in the darkness of our miseries, the grace of God shines 
more brightly when, beyond expectation, he succors us. Moreover, Moses 
says, the Lord was with Joseph, because he extended this grace or mercy 
towards him; whence we may learn, that God, even when he delivers us 
from unjust violence, or when he assists us in a good cause, is yet 
induced to do so by his own goodness. For since we are unworthy that he 
should grant us his help, the cause of its communication must be in 
himself; seeing that he is merciful. Certainly if merits, which should 
lay God under obligation, are to be sought for in men, they would have 
been found in Joseph; yet Moses declares that he was assisted by the 
gratuitous favour of God. This, however, is no obstacle to his leaving 
received the reward of his piety, which is perfectly consistent with the 
gratuitous kindness of God. The manner of exercising this kindness is 
also added; namely, that the Lord gave him favour with the keeper of the 
prison. There is, indeed, no doubt that Joseph was acceptable to the 
keeper for many reasons: for even virtue conciliates favour to itself; 
and Moses has before shown that the holy man was amiable in many ways; 
but because it often happens that the children of God are treated with 
as great inhumanity as if they were the worst of all men, Moses 
expressly states that the keeper of the prison, at length, became 
humane; because his mind, which was not spontaneously disposed to 
equity, had been divinely inclined to it. Therefore, that the keeper of 
the prison, having laid aside his cruelty, acted with kindness and 
gentleness, was a change which proceeded from God, who governs the 
hearts of men according to his own will. But it is a wonder that the 
keeper of the prison did not fear lest he should incur the displeasure 
of Potiphar: and even that Potiphar himself, who without difficulty 
could have interfered, should yet have suffered a man whom he mortally 
hated to be thus kindly and liberally treated. It may be answered with 
truth, that his cruelty had been divinely restrained: but it is also 
probable that he had suspected, and at length, been made acquainted with 
the subtle scheme of his wife. Although, however, he might be appeased 
towards holy Joseph, he was unwilling to acquit him to his own dishonor. 
Meanwhile the remarkable integrity of Joseph manifests itself in this, 
that when he is made the guard of the prison, and has the free 
administration of it, he nevertheless does not attempt to escape, but 
waits for the proper season of his liberation. 
Chapter XL. 
1 And it came to pass after these things, [that] the butler of the king 
of Egypt and [his] baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt. 
2 And Pharaoh was wroth against two [of] his officers, against the chief 
of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. 
3 And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into 
the prison, the place where Joseph [was] bound. 
4 And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served 
them: and they continued a season in ward. 
5 And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one 
night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler 
and the baker of the king of Egypt, which [were] bound in the prison. 
6 And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, 
and, behold, they [were] sad. 
7 And he asked Pharaoh's officers that [were] with him in the ward of 
his lord's house, saying, Wherefore look ye [so] sadly to day? 
8 And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and [there is] no 
interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, [Do] not interpretations 
[belong] to God? tell me [them], I pray you. 
9 And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my 
dream, behold, a vine [was] before me; 
10 And in the vine [were] three branches: and it [was] as though it 
budded, [and] her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought 
forth ripe grapes: 
11 And Pharaoh's cup [was] in my hand: and I took the grapes, and 
pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand. 
12 And Joseph said unto him, This [is] the interpretation of it: The 
three branches [are] three days: 
13 Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore 
thee unto thy place: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh's cup into his hand, 
after the former manner when thou wast his butler. 
14 But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I 
pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me 
out of this house: 
15 For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here 
also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon. 
16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said 
unto Joseph, I also [was] in my dream, and, behold, [I had] three white 
baskets on my head: 
17 And in the uppermost basket [there was] of all manner of bakemeats 
for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head. 
18 And Joseph answered and said, This [is] the interpretation thereof: 
The three baskets [are] three days: 
19 Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, 
and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from 
off thee. 
20 And it came to pass the third day, [which was] Pharaoh's birthday, 
that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of 
the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. 
21 And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he 
gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand: 
22 But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them. 
23 Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him. 
  1. "And it came to pass after these things." We have already seen, 
that when Joseph was in bonds, God cared for him. For whence arose the 
relaxation afforded him, but from the divine favour? Therefore, God, 
before he opened the door for his servant's deliverance, entered into 
the very prison to sustain him with his strength. But a far more 
illustrious benefit follows; for he is not only liberated from prison, 
but exalted to the highest degree of honour. In the meantime, the 
providence of God led the holy man through wonderful and most intricate 
paths. The butler and baker of the king are cast into the prison; Joseph 
expounds to them their dreams. Restoration to his office having been 
promised to the butler, some light of hope beams upon the holy captive; 
for the butler agreed, after he should have returned to his post, to 
become the advocate for Joseph's pardon. But, again, that hope was 
speedily cut off, when the butler failed to speak a word to the king on 
behalf of the miserable captive. Joseph, therefore, seemed to himself to 
be buried in perpetual oblivion, until the Lord again suddenly rekindles 
the light which had been smothered, and almost extinguished. Thus, when 
he might have delivered the holy man directly from prison, he chose to 
lead him around by circuitous paths, the better to prove his patience, 
and to manifest, by the mode of his deliverance, that he has wonderful 
methods of working, hidden from our view. He does this that we may learn 
not to measure, by our own sense, the salvation which he has promised 
us; but that we may suffer ourselves to be turned hither or thither by 
his hand, until he shall have performed his work. By the butler and the 
baker we are not to understand any common person of each rank, but those 
who presided over the rest; for, soon afterwards, they are called 
eunuchs or nobles. Ridiculous is the fiction of the trifler Gerundensis, 
who, according to his manner, asserts that they were made eunuchs for 
the sake of infamy, because Pharaoh had been enraged against them. They 
were, in short, two of the chief men of the court. Moses now more 
clearly declares that the prison was under the authority of Potiphar. 
Whence we learn what I have before said, that his anger had been 
mitigated, since without his consent, the jailer could not have acted 
with such clemency towards Joseph. Even Moses ascribes such a measure of 
humanity to Potiphar, that he committed the butler and baker to the 
charge of Joseph. Unless, perhaps, a new successor had been then 
appointed in Potiphar's place; which, however, is easily refuted from 
the context, because a little afterwards Moses says that the master of 
Joseph was the captain of the guard, (ver. 3.) When Moses says they were 
kept in prison a season, some understand by the word, a whole year; but 
in my judgment they are mistaken; it rather denotes a long but uncertain 
time, as appears from other places. 
  5. "And they dreamed a dream." What I have before alluded to 
respecting dreams must be recalled to memory; namely, that many 
frivolous things are presented to us, which pass away and are forgotten; 
some, however, have the force and significance of prophecy. Of this kind 
were these two dreams, by which God made known the hidden result of a 
future matter. For unless the mark of a celestial oracle had been 
engraven upon then, the butler and the baker would not have been in such 
consternation of mind. I acknowledge, indeed, that men are sometimes 
vehemently agitated by vain and rashly conceived dreams; yet their 
terror and anxiety gradually subsides; but God had fixed an arrow in the 
minds of the butler and the baker, which would not suffer them to rest; 
and by this means, each was rendered more attentive to the 
interpretation of his dream. Moses, therefore, expressly declares that 
it was a presage of something certain. 
  6. "And Joseph came in unto them, in the morning." As I have lately 
said, we ought here to behold, with the eyes of faith, the wonderful 
providence of God. For, although the butler and baker are certainly 
informed of their own fate; yet this was not done so much out of regard 
to them, as in favour of Joseph; whom God designed, by this method, to 
make known to the king. Therefore, by a secret instinct he had rendered 
them sad and astonished, as if he would lead them by the hand to his 
servant Joseph. It is, however, to be observed, that by a new 
inspiration of the Spirit, the gift of prophecy, which he had not before 
possessed, was imparted to him in the prison. When he had previously 
dreamed himself, he remained, for a while, in suspense and doubt 
respecting the divine revelation; but now he is a certain interpreter to 
others. And though, when he was inquiring into the cause of their 
sadness, he perhaps did not think of dreams; yet, from the next verse it 
appears that he was conscious to himself of having received the gift of 
the Spirit; and, in this confidence, he exhorts them to relate the 
dreams, of which he was about to be the interpreter. Do not 
interpretations (he says) belong to God? Certain]y he does not 
arrogantly transfer to himself what he acknowledges to be peculiar to 
God; but according to the means which his vocation supplied, he offers 
them his service. This must be noted, in order that no one may 
undesignedly usurp more to himself than he knows that God has granted 
him. For, on this account, Paul so diligently teaches that the gifts of 
the Spirit are variously distributed, (1 Cor. 12: 4,) and that God has 
assigned to each a certain post, in order that no one may act 
ambitiously, or intrude himself into another's office; but rather that 
each should keep himself within the bounds of his own calling. Unless 
this degree of moderation shall prevail, all things will necessarily be 
thrown into confusion; because the truth of God will be distorted by the 
foolish temerity of many; peace and concord will be disturbed, and, in 
short, no good order will be maintained. Let us learn, therefore, that 
Joseph confidently promised an interpretation of the dreams, because he 
knew that he was furnished and adorned with this gift by God. The same 
remark applies to his interrogation respecting the dreams. For he does 
not attempt to proceed beyond what his own power authorized him to do: 
he does not, therefore, divine what they had dreamed, but confesses it 
was hidden from him. The method pursued by Daniel was different, for he 
was enabled, by a direct revelation, to state and interpret the dream 
which had entirely escaped the memory of the king of Babylon. (Dan. 2: 
28.) He, therefore, relying upon a larger measure of the Spirit, does 
not hesitate to profess that he can both divine and interpret dreams. 
But Joseph, to whom the half only of these gifts was imparted, keeps 
himself within legitimate bounds. Besides, he not only guards himself 
against presumption; but, by declaring that whatever he has received is 
from God, he ingenuously testifies that he has nothing from himself. He 
does not, therefore, boast of his own quickness or clear-sightedness, 
but wishes only to be known as the servant of God. Let those who excel, 
follow this rule; lest, by ascribing too much to themselves, (which 
commonly happens,) they obscure the grace of God. Moreover, this vanity 
is to be restrained, not only that God alone may be glorified, and may 
not be robbed of his right; but that prophets, and teachers, and all 
others who are indued with heavenly grace, may humbly submit themselves 
to the direction of the Spirit. What Moses says is also to be observed, 
that Joseph was concerned at the sadness of those who were with him in 
prison. For thus men become softened by their own afflictions, so that 
they do not despise others who are in misery; and, in this way, common 
sufferings generate sympathy. Wherefore it is not wonderful that God 
should exercise us with various sorrows; since nothing is more becoming 
than humanity towards our brethren, who, being weighed down with trials, 
lie under contempt. This humanity, however, must be learned by 
experience; because our innate ferocity is more and more inflated by 
  12. "The three branches are three days." Joseph does not here offer 
what he thought to be probable, like some ambiguous conjecturer; but 
asserts, by the revelation of the Spirit, the meaning of the dream. For 
why does he say, that by the three branches, three days rather than 
years are signified, unless because the Spirit of God had suggested it? 
Joseph, therefore, proceeds, by a special impulse above nature, to 
expound the dream; and by immediately commending himself to the butler, 
as if he was already restored, shows how certain and indubitable was the 
truth of his interpretation: as if he had said, "Be convinced that what 
thou hast heard of me has come from God." Where also he shows how 
honorably he thinks of the oracles of God, seeing that he pronounces 
concerning the future effect with as much confidence as if it had 
already taken place. But it may be deemed absurd, that Joseph asks for a 
reward of his prophecy. I answer, that he did not speak as one who would 
set the gift of God to sale: but it came into his mind, that a method of 
deliverance was now set before him by God, which it was not lawful for 
him to reject. Indeed, I do not doubt that a hope of better fortune had 
been divinely imparted to him. For God, who, even from his childhood, 
had twice promised him dominion, did not leave him, amidst so many 
straits, entirely destitute of all consolation. Now this opportunity of 
seeking deliverance was offered to him by none but God. Wherefore, it is 
not surprising that Joseph should thus make use of it. With respect to 
the expression, "Lift up thine head;" it signifies to raise any one from 
a low and contemptible condition, to one of some reputation. Therefore, 
"Pharaoh will lift up thine head," means, he will bring thee forth from 
the darkness of the prisons, or he will raise thee who art fallen, and 
restore thee to thy former rank. For I take the word to mean simply 
place or rank, and not basis. 
  14. "Show kindness I pray thee unto me." Although the expression "show 
kindness" is used among the Hebrews to describe the common exercise of 
humanity; there is yet no doubt that Joseph spoke simply as his own sad 
and afflicted condition suggested, for the purpose of inclining the mind 
of the butler to procure him help. He insists, however, chiefly on this, 
that he had been thrust into prison for no crime, in order that the 
butler might not refuse his assistance to an innocent man. For although 
they who are most wicked find patrons; yet commendation elicited by 
importunity, which rescues a wicked man from deserved punishment, is in 
itself an odious and infamous thing. It is, however, probable that 
Joseph explained his whole cause, so that he fully convinced the butler 
of his innocence. 
  16. "When the chief baker saw." He does not care respecting the skill 
and fidelity of Joseph as an interpreter; but because Joseph had brought 
good and useful tidings to his companion, he also desires an 
interpretation, which he hopes will prove according to his mind. So, 
many, with ardor and alacrity, desire the word of God, not because they 
simply wish to be governed by the Lord, and to know what is right, but 
because they dream of mere enjoyment. When, however, the doctrine does 
not correspond with their wishes, they depart sorrowful and wounded. 
Now, although the explanation of the dream was about to prove unpleasant 
and severe; yet Joseph, by declaring, without ambiguity, what had been 
revealed unto him, executed with fidelity the office divinely committed 
to him. This freedom must be maintained by prophets and teachers, that 
they may not hesitate, by their teaching, to inflict a wound on those 
whom God has sentenced to death. All love to be flattered. Hence the 
majority of teachers, in desiring to yield to the corrupt wishes of the 
world, adulterate the word of God. Wherefore, no one is a sincere 
minister of God's word, but he, who despising reproach, and being ready, 
as often as it may be necessary, to attack various offenses, will frame 
his method of teaching according to the command of God. Joseph would, 
indeed, have preferred to augur well concerning both; but since it is 
not in his power to give a prosperous fortune to any one, nothing 
remains for him but frankly to pronounce whatever he has received from 
the Lord. So, formerly, although the people chose for themselves 
prophets who would promise them abundance of wine and oil and corn, 
while they exclaimed loudly against the holy prophets, because they let 
fall nothing but threatening, (for these complaints are related in 
Micah,) yet it was the duty of the servants of the Lord, who had been 
sent to denounce vengeance, to proceed with severity, although they 
brought upon themselves hatred and danger. 
  19. "Pharaoh shall lift up thy head from off thee." This phrase (in 
the original) is ambiguous without some addition; and may be taken in a 
good or a bad sense; just as we say, "With regard to any one," or "With 
respect to him;" here the expression is added "from thee." Yet there 
seems to be an allusion of this kind, as if Joseph had said, "Pharaoh 
will lift up thy head, that he may take it off." Now, when Moses 
relates, that what Joseph had predicted happened to both of them, he 
proves by this sign that Joseph was a true prophet of God, as it is 
written in Jeremiah. (28: 9.) For that the prophets sometimes threatened 
punishments, which God abstained from inflicting, was done for this 
reason, because to such prophecies a condition was annexed. But when the 
Lord speaks positively by his servants, it is necessary that whatever he 
predicts should be confirmed by the result. Therefore, Moses expressly 
commends in Joseph, his confidence in the heavenly oracle. With regard 
to what Moses records, that Pharaoh celebrated his birth-day by a great 
feast, we know that this custom has always been in use, not only among 
kings, but also among plebeian men. Nor is the custom to be condemned, 
if only men would keep the right end in view; namely, that of giving 
thanks unto God by whom they were created and brought up, and whom they 
have found, in innumerable ways, to be a beneficent Father. But such is 
the depravity of the world, that it greatly distorts those things which 
formerly were honestly instituted by their fathers, into contrary 
corruptions. Thus, by a vicious practice, it has become common for 
nearly all to abandon themselves to luxury and wantonness on their 
birth-day. In short, they keep up the memory of God, as the Author of 
their life, in such a manner as if it were their set purpose to forget 
  23. "Yet did not the chief butler remember." This was the most severe 
trial of Joseph's patience, as we have before intimated. For since he 
had obtained an advocate who, without trouble, was able to extricate him 
from prison, especially as the opportunity of doing so had been granted 
to him by God, he felt a certain assurance of deliverance, and earnestly 
waited for it every hour. But when he had remained to the end of the 
second year in suspense, not only did this hope vanish, but greater 
despair than ever rested upon his mind. Therefore, we are all taught, in 
his person, that nothing is more improper, than to prescribe the time in 
which God shall help us; since he purposely, for a long season, keeps 
his own people in anxious suspense, that, by this very experiment, they 
may truly know what it is to trust in Him. Besides, in this manner he 
designed openly to claim for himself the glory of Joseph's liberation. 
For, if liberty had been granted to him through the entreaty of the 
butler, it would have been generally believed that this benefit was from 
man and not from God. Moreover, when Moses says, that the butler was 
forgetful of Joseph, let it be so understood, that he did not dare to 
make any mention of him, lest he should be subjected to reproach, or 
should be troublesome to the king himself. For it is common with 
courtiers perfidiously to betray the innocent, and to deliver them to be 
slain, rather than to offend those of whom they themselves are afraid. 
Chapter XLI. 
1 And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh 
dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river. 
2 And, behold, there came up out of the river seven well favoured kine 
and fatfleshed; and they fed in a meadow. 
3 And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill 
favoured and leanfleshed; and stood by the [other] kine upon the brink 
of the river. 
4 And the ill favoured and leanfleshed kine did eat up the seven well 
favoured and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke. 
5 And he slept and dreamed the second time: and, behold, seven ears of 
corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good. 
6 And, behold, seven thin ears and blasted with the east wind sprung up 
after them. 
7 And the seven thin ears devoured the seven rank and full ears. And 
Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, [it was] a dream. 
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. 
9 Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying, I do remember my 
faults this day: 
10 Pharaoh was wroth with his servants, and put me in ward in the 
captain of the guard's house, [both] me and the chief baker: 
11 And we dreamed a dream in one night, I and he; we dreamed each man 
according to the interpretation of his dream. 
12 And [there was] there with us a young man, an Hebrew, servant to the 
captain of the guard; and we told him, and he interpreted to us our 
dreams; to each man according to his dream he did interpret. 
13 And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us, so it was; me he 
restored unto mine office, and him he hanged. 
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. 
15 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and [there is] 
none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, [that] thou 
canst understand a dream to interpret it. 
16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, [It is] not in me: God shall 
give Pharaoh an answer of peace. 
17 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the 
bank of the river: 
18 And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fatfleshed 
and well favoured; and they fed in a meadow: 
19 And, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill 
favoured and leanfleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt 
for badness: 
20 And the lean and the ill favoured kine did eat up the first seven fat 
21 And when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had 
eaten them; but they [were] still ill favoured, as at the beginning. So 
I awoke. 
22 And I saw in my dream, and, behold, seven ears came up in one stalk, 
full and good: 
23 And, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, [and] blasted with the east 
wind, sprung up after them: 
24 And the thin ears devoured the seven good ears: and I told [this] 
unto the magicians; but [there was] none that could declare [it] to me. 
25 And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh [is] one: God hath 
shewed Pharaoh what he [is] about to do. 
26 The seven good kine [are] seven years; and the seven good ears [are] 
seven years: the dream [is] one. 
27 And the seven thin and ill favoured kine that came up after them 
[are] seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind 
shall be seven years of famine. 
28 This [is] the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: What God [is] 
about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh. 
29 Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the 
land of Egypt: 
30 And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the 
plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall 
consume the land; 
31 And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that 
famine following; for it [shall be] very grievous. 
32 And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; [it is] 
because the thing [is] established by God, and God will shortly bring it 
to pass. 
33 Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set 
him over the land of Egypt. 
34 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 
35 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 
36 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 the famine. 
37 And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all 
his servants. 
38 And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find [such a one] as this 
[is], a man in whom the Spirit of God [is]? 
39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all 
this, [there is] none so discreet and wise as thou [art]: 
40 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. 
41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land 
of Egypt. 
42 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's 
hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain 
about his neck; 
43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they 
cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him [ruler] over all the 
land of Egypt. 
44 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. 
45 And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to 
wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went 
out over [all] the land of Egypt. 
46 And Joseph [was] thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king 
of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went 
throughout all the land of Egypt. 
47 And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. 
48 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. 
49 And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he 
left numbering; for [it was] without number. 
50 And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, 
which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. 
51 And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, [said 
he], hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. 
52 And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me 
to be fruitful in the land of my affliction. 
53 And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, 
were ended. 
54 And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had 
said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt 
there was bread. 
55 And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to 
Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto 
Joseph; what he saith to you, do. 
56 And the famine was over all the face of the earth: And Joseph opened 
all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed 
sore in the land of Egypt. 
57 And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy [corn]; 
because that the famine was [so] sore in all lands. 
1. "At the end of two full years." What anxiety oppressed the mind of 
the holy man during this time, each of us may conjecture from his own 
feeling; for we are so tender and effeminate, that we can scarcely bear 
to be put off for a short time. The Lord exercised his servant not only 
by a delay of long continuance, but also by another kind of temptation, 
because he took all human grounds of hope away from him: therefore Moses 
puts "years of days" for complete and full years. That we may better 
understand the invincible nature of his fortitude, we must also notice 
that winding course of divine providence, of which I have spoken, and by 
which Joseph was led about, till he rose into notice with the king. In 
the king's dream, this is worthy to be observed in the first place, that 
God sometimes deigns to present his oracles even to unbelieving and 
profane men. It was certainly a singular honour to be instructed 
concerning an event yet fourteen years future: for truly the will of God 
was manifested to Pharaoh, just as if he had been taught by the word, 
except that the interpretation of it was to be sought elsewhere. And 
although God designs his word especially for the Church, yet it ought 
not to be deemed absurd that he sometimes admits even aliens into his 
school, though for an inferior end. The doctrine which leads to the hope 
of eternal life belongs to the Church; while the children of this world 
are only taught, incidentally, concerning the state of the present life. 
If we observe this distinction, we shall not wonder that some oracles 
are common to profane and heathen men, though the Church possesses the 
spiritual doctrine of life, as the treasure of its own inheritance. That 
another dream succeeded to the former, arose from two causes; for God 
both designed to rouse the mind of Pharaoh to more diligent inquiry, and 
to add more light to a vision which was obscure. In short, he follows 
the same course in this dream which he does in his daily method of 
procedure; for he repeats a second time what he has before delivered, 
and sometimes inculcates still more frequently, not only that the 
doctrine may penetrate more deeply into men's hearts, and thus affect 
them the more; but also that he may render it more familiar to their 
minds. That by the second dream God designed to illustrate more fully 
what was obscure in the first, appears from this, that the figure used 
was more appropriate to the subject revealed. At first, Pharaoh saw fat 
cows devoured by lean ones. This did not so clearly prefigure the seven 

(continued in part 19...)

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