After Joseph interpreted the dreams of two of Pharaoh’s officers, he sat in prison for two more years. He had been away from home for thirteen years in all.
Pharaoh had back-to-back nightmares. If I were going to turn them into movies I would call them “Cannibal Cows” and “Attack of the Killer Wheat Stalks.” Like every other dream mentioned in Genesis, these were God-given (v.25), and they had important meanings. That is why the magicians of Egypt could not interpret them — they did not know the one true God of Jacob.
The cupbearer (the one who had forgotten Joseph) suddenly remembered that Joseph, who knew the Giver of Dreams, could give an interpretation. He told Pharaoh, who had Joseph cleaned-up and brought to the palace and requested an interpretation. Joseph’s answer was priceless (v.16). When he could have taken credit for himself, he gave all the credit to God.
Joseph’s interpretation foretold a seven-year period of bumper crops followed by seven years of famine. The truth of this meaning was immediately obvious to everyone, and so they listened to Joseph’s brilliant lesson on economics (v.33-36…how cool is that?!).
Pharaoh was so impressed with Joseph’s advice that he made him the Vice Pharaoh of Egypt (that’s what I would call it), a very powerful position. Pharaoh also gave Joseph a new name, new clothes and jewelry, and a new chariot. Additionally, he started a family with his new wife, Asenath, and had two sons with meaningful names, Manasseh and Ephraim (v.50-52).
By the way, how do you think Mrs. Potiphar received the news that the young man she had falsely accused was her husband’s new boss? Now that’s some sweet justice!
Under Joseph’s God-ordained leadership the nation flourished: they were prepared for the famine and they had enough surplus to bless the world. In due time, God had exalted Joseph. I don’t know how life has knocked you down, but I know this promise is for you:
Humble yourself therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7)