The focus on dreams continues. The last chapter brought us dreams by two of Pharaoh’s servants that Joseph interpreted, despite previously stating that dream interpretations belong to God. Chapter 41 brings us dreams from the Pharaoh.
“When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile, when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they grazed among the reeds. After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank. And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up. He fell asleep again and had a second dream: Seven heads of grain, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk. After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted—thin and scorched by the east wind. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up; it had been a dream.” – Genesis 41:1-7
Yes, these dreams are weird, but that’s the case with most dreams. Simply because a dream is weird and not understood does not mean the dream is a message from God. If God is truly all-powerful and trying to send a message, He would do so in a VERY clear way. Either that or God is not all-powerful and is making mistakes. I think of the number of weird dreams I have (EVERY dream). They mean nothing and they are certainly NOT a message from God. The Pharaoh wants this dream interpreted and eventually calls on Joseph to interpret the dream. The same Joseph who was thrown into prison as a result of interpreting his dreams to his brothers.
“’I cannot do it,’ Joseph replied to Pharaoh, ‘but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.’” – Genesis 41:16
Really, because you had no problem interpreting the dreams of the cupbearer and baker. Joseph responds with:
“It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.” – Genesis 41:28-32
Ah, now I get it. Joseph claims he is not interpreting the dreams, but God is interpreting the dreams through Joseph. Yeah…right. If God is all-mighty and perfect, then He should know how to give a message without some crazy dream interpretation. On top of that, God is choosing to ravage Egypt with famine. How many people will die as a result of this famine? How many people will die because God decides to give Egypt seven bad years of famine? Again, we are presented with proof that the God of the Bible is an evil God.
“And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt.” – Genesis 41:33
Now I see where this is headed!
“So Pharaoh asked them, ‘Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?’” – Genesis 41:38
Hmmm…I wonder who could possibly be this man! 🙂
“Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.’” – Genesis 41:39-40
The way I see it, this whole dream interpretation nonsense is a ploy by Joseph to gain power. It’s not really God speaking through Joseph, it’s Joseph using the fear of people as a tool to get what he wants…power. Unfortunately Christians take these passages as the literal truth of God. They look at this and conclude that God is speaking through Joseph. They look at this and say that yes, dreams really are messages from God. Simply not understanding something doesn’t mean that something is God.
“Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, to be his wife. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.” – Genesis 41:45
Another name change in the Bible and another case of misogyny. The woman is ‘given’ to Joseph to be his wife. How much choice did Asenath have? Probably very little.
“Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, ‘It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.’ The second son he named Ephraim and said, ‘It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.’ – Genesis 41:50-52
Things are going well for Joseph now, but where was God during the hard times? Is it possible, that Joseph got through his hardship by himself through hard work, determination, and a bit of manipulation? If a death row inmate is released after new evidence proves him/her innocent, was God the reason? If so, then God was also the reason the person lost years of his/her life in prison expecting to die. That’s NOT a just God. That’s not a perfect God. That’s either an evil God or a stupid God. The choice is yours.
“When the famine had spread over the whole country, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout Egypt. And all the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.” – Genesis 41:56-57
At first this sounds like a story of great planning and foresight, however, let’s look a little deeper. How were the stores of food obtained? Verse 34 tells us that a 1/5 of the harvest each year was TAKEN. Were the people paid for this? It doesn’t appear so. When it’s time to release the stores of food, the people have to PAY for the very food TAKEN from them!!! That’s not just! What about the people who couldn’t pay for the food? What did they do? Die? There’s no way seven years of famine doesn’t result in many deaths, most of which were likely the poor.
To conclude, what sounds like a nice story of Joseph being appointed and saving the people of Egypt is actually a story of manipulation and punishment of the poor. You can’t TAKE (steal) food from the workers, distribute it to only those who can pay, and be called a savior of the people. But that’s the God of the Bible!
Coming Soon: Genesis – Chapter 42: Joseph’s Brothers Go to Egypt