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Joseph’s early life was filled with tragedy. He was hated and betrayed by his brothers. He was thrown into a pit and his father made to believe he was dead. He was sold into slavery and carried down to Egypt where he was sold yet again. And just when things started looking up his master’s wife tried to seduce him. When he refused her advances she brought up false charges against him and he was thrown into prison. It so happens that Joseph found himself in Pharaoh’s dungeon alongside two former employees of the king. Both the royal cupbearer and the royal baker had been thrown into prison because they had displeased Pharaoh in some capacity. One night they both had troubling dreams and told them to Joseph who interpreted them. For the cupbearer, Joseph said that his dream was to let him know he would be restored to his position within three days. Joseph said the baker’s dream, however, signified that within three days he would be executed. Both of these dreams came to pass just as Joseph had interpreted them. When the cupbearer was released, Joseph asked him to put in a good word for him with Pharaoh. The cupbearer forgot, however, and exactly two years after Pharaoh’s cupbearer was released from prison Pharaoh woke to a disturbing dream of his own—in fact, two parallel dreams.

Pharaoh’s first dream was that he was standing near the Nile and seven plump, fat cows rose up from the river and began grazing nearby. Then, immediately, seven other cows who were emaciated looking came up out of the Nile as well. But rather than grazing alongside the first seven cows, they ate them instead. Pharaoh awoke, but fell back to sleep and had a similar dream to the first. He saw seven ears of plump, healthy grain growing on one stalk. Then immediately, he saw seven more ears of grain that were withered and diseased that sprouted up and consumed the original, healthy ears of grain.



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