God, Joseph, and Direction: Genesis 41:41-57

Read Genesis 41:41-57

In our last post on Genesis we saw how Joseph, after living faithfully through all kinds of hardships: betrayal by his family, slavery, false accusation, and ten years in a dungeon, was ultimately raised up, raised up in one day, to second in command over Egypt. In today’s post we’ll look at what happens to Joseph and Egypt, after Pharaoh’s decision to appoint him as governor. Where Joseph’s life continues to paint a picture of Jesus, I simply couldn’t help myself, I just had to insert commentary to point out those scriptures. Finally, we’ll look at Joseph’s process for choosing direction as it relates to God’s Spirit and Joseph’s abilities.

Genesis 41:41-57

So after Pharaoh hears what the cupbearer says about how the Lord used Joseph to accurately interpret dreams, and after Pharaoh hears Joseph’s interpretation of his own dreams, he sees God’s Spirit is in Joseph. (Genesis 41:38) Just as soon as Pharaoh recognizes Joseph is led by God’s Spirit, he makes a command decision.

I’m putting you in charge, of the whole country, Pharaoh says to Joseph. Then he takes off his signet ring and puts it on Joseph’s finger. He orders up some clothes fitting for a man who’s second in command and has Joseph put them on. He gives Joseph a gold chain to wear around his neck. And he has him ride in a chariot, as his right hand man, and the people shout out before him, Make way!

And that’s how it went down when Joseph was appointed as the governor of Egypt, only with respect to the throne, was Pharaoh greater than Joseph. (Genesis 41:40)

After all the ceremony, Pharaoh says to Joseph, Yes I’m Pharaoh, but nobody will lift a finger in all of Egypt without your word. Pharaoh renames Joseph, he calls him Zaphenath-Paneah. And he gives him a wife named Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, priest of On.

Pharaoh says to Joseph, “,,,without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.” (Genesis 41:44) Even as Jesus said in John 15:5, “…apart from me you can do nothing.”

Joseph is given a Gentile bride. Even as Jesus is given His Gentile bride, us, you and me, the church. (Revelation 21:9)

Then Joseph travels all over Egypt to learn about the land he’s governing.

He’s thirty years old when he enters into public service.

I can’t help but notice Joseph is thirty years old when he enters into serving the public, even as Jesus was thirty when he entered into public ministry. (Luke 3:23)

So he’s traveling throughout Egypt, and during the seven years of prosperity the land produces bountifully, just as God, through Joseph, said it would. And Joseph collects all the food produced in those seven years and stores it in the cities. Each city has it’s storage from the food produced in the fields around it. The quantities of grain Joseph collects and stores are like the sand of the sea; there’s so much that he can’t keep track of it so he stops keeping records. The crop production is so great, it’s beyond measure.

During these first seven years Joseph has two sons with his wife Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. Joseph names his first son Manasseh (which means causing to forget). He says he named him that, “…because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” The second son he names Ephraim (which means I shall be doubly fruitful), “…because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

Well, just as God’s Spirit predicted, the seven years of abundance come to an end, and the seven years of famine begin. All around people are hurting for food. But Egypt is prepared for the shortage. When Egypt begins to feel the famine, the people cry out to Pharaoh, who tells all the Egyptians, Just go see Joseph and do whatever he tells you.

When the people cry out to be saved, from starvation, Pharaoh directs them to Joseph. “…do what he tells you,” Pharaoh says to the Egyptians. (Genesis 41:55) Even as God, when the people cry out to be saved, from their own sin, directs them to Jesus. Speaking of Jesus on the mount of transfiguration God said, “…listen to Him.” (Luke 9:35)

When the famine is effecting the whole of Egypt, Joseph opens the storehouses and sells grain to the Egyptians. The famine is terrible, and everyone both inside and outside of Egypt comes to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine is so severe, everywhere.

Through Joseph, God saves the nations from starvation. Through Jesus, God saves the world from their sin.

God, Joseph, and Decisions:

It’s obvious Joseph was one in whom is the Spirit of God. (Genesis 41:38) And God’s Spirit in him resulted in his prospering and in an ability to make great decisions.

But maybe you’ve read about Joseph and you’re asking yourself, How does that work? Does Joseph use reason and wisdom? Or does he use the leading of God’s Spirit to make decisions?

I believe the answer is both. To gain insight, I think it’s important to see how Joseph had God’s Spirit two distinct ways.

1) First, he had God’s Spirit in the same way some of the craftsmen who built the tabernacle had God’s Spirit: …he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills, Moses said of the man chosen to lead the building of the tabernacle. (Exodus 35:30-35)

Joseph had skills born of God’s Spirit. Joseph was faithful to his duty, even in the beginning, in the day of small things. He was industrious and he had great integrity. Based on his rapid rise to prominence in Potipher’s household, and in prison, and in Pharaoh’s administration, I believe Jospeh also had great skills as a communicator, as an organizer, and as a problem solver. (see previous post Joseph’s 4 Steps to Success)

No doubt Joseph used all these skills in his decision making and problem solving wherever he worked. And I don’t think there’s any doubt these skills served him well.

But there’s a danger here. Sometimes the more skills God blesses you with, the more you tend to rely on those skills — at the exclusion of seeking God’s direction. Which brings us to the second way in which Joseph experienced God’s Spirit.

2) The second way in which Joseph had God’s Spirit was through connection. Joseph was connected to God in a way that opened communication with God’s Spirit. I believe Joseph was someone who was constantly seeking God’s direction. He was seeking God’s will in his life. He was sensitive to God’s Spirit.

Can you imagine the consequences, had Joseph relied solely on his gifts and skills, without tapping into the leading of the Spirit? Egypt’s economy would have gone into deep depression. The recovery from such devastation would have taken decades, if there even was a recovery. And most importantly, millions in Egypt and in the surrounding nations would have died of starvation.

I’m reminded of Joshua, another man gifted with great administrative abilities. When the Gibeonites came and requested of Joshua that Israel enter into an alliance with them, they told him they were from a far away country. Joshua, relying on his powers of deduction, saw they had worn clothes, and old wineskins, and moldy bread. What a seemingly simple decision. It’s so obvious. They’re from a far away country.

We’re not to ally ourselves with anyone local, Joshua told them, but an alliance with you? No problem. It’s easy to figure out, you’re not from around here.

Joshua 9:14 says, they checked out their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord. (see Joshua Chapter 9)

Three days later the Israeli people find out the truth about the Gibeonites. And they’re protesting against Joshua and the others leading Israel, because they were duped.

Not long after that, Israel has to march all night, and risk lives in battle, to honor their alliance with the Gibeonites.

Like Joshua, Joseph was blessed with brains and abilities, but he recognized the value in seeking God’s direction. And like Joseph, like Joshua, and like anyone, you and I can’t see one single second into the future. Right now you can’t see beyond the four walls of the room you’re in, or if you’re outside, you’re limited to the strength of your eyesight. You can’t see into the past except for what others have recorded and what you remember. Even with television and the internet, your awareness of the time-space continuum is just the tiniest fraction of what God sees, which is everything.

Joseph recognized this. “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.” He said to the cupbearer and to the baker. (Genesis 40:8) When Pharaoh asked Joseph to interpret his dreams he immediately said,

“I can’t do it…”


“…God will give the answer…”

God had the answer. He saved millions of lives from death by starvation.

God has the answers still. For you and for me.

Thank God for the skills, gifts, and abilities He’s blessed you with. But don’t rely on your gifts exclusively. Don’t neglect seeking His direction.

Pray through life decisions.

Seek His direction constantly.

Pray for Him to direct your steps.

Pray for sensitivity to His Holy Spirit.

If you do you could be blessed like Joseph was.

If you do you could be led down a path that will save you and your people from disaster.

I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.

Psalm 143:8


Bible Gateway

Blue Letter Bible

J.B. Jackson, A Dictionary of Scripture Proper Names1908

Matthew Henry

Walton, Matthews, Chavalas, (2000) IVP Bible Background Commentary, Old Testament

Jon Courson

4 Comments on “God, Joseph, and Direction: Genesis 41:41-57

  1. Israel became a nation reborn on May 14, 1948

    Four red moons followed. (1) April 13, 1949 Passover blood red moon (2)October 7, 1949 Sukkot blood red moon (3)April 2, 1950 Passover blood red moon (4)September 26, 1950 blood red moon.

    June 6 Day War in 1967. (1)April 24, 1967 Passover blood red moon (2) October 18, 1967 Sukkot blood red moon(3)April 13, 1968 Passover blood red moon (4)October 6, 1968 Sukkot blood red moon. (One red moon before the 6 Day War followed by three more red moons)

    What will happen in 2013 since Four blood red moons will follow? OR will April 15,2014 pass with one red moon like what happened in the Six Day War followed by three red moons meaning the Sunni Arabs will go to war against Israel sometime after April 15,2014 and before October 8,2014?

    (1)April 15,2014 Passover blood red moon (2)October 8,2014 Sukkot blood red moon (3)April 4,2015 Passover blood red moon (4)September 28,2015 Sukkot blood red moon.

    Will 2013 A.D. be the year when Israel crushes the Sunni Arab terrorists living along all her borders in fulfillment of the Psalms 83 prophecy? Or will this prophecy fulfillment take place after April 2014 & before October 8,2014?

    Syrian president Assad has told his generals should he die he wants his generals to launch their rockets upon Israel’s cities. Should the Syrian commanders follow Assad’s advice Damascus will be destroyed (Isaiah 17:1) in one night. (Isaiah 17:14)

    God used the sun to help Joshua destroy Israel’s ancient enemies. (Joshua 10:12-14) Today, God uses the four red moons to warn the Israelites their enemies plans of attack.

  2. Yemen and China both confirm a seven year (Genesis 41:30) worldwide famine. (Genesis 41:57)

    Archaeologist in Yemen uncovered a marble tablet revealing a seven year famine dated to Joseph’s lifetime.

    Shang Dynasty emperor Cheng Tang (Ching Tang) had a seven year famine at the beginning of his reign as revealed in the Chinese annals. Cheng Tang’s famine occured in the time Joseph lived.

    Yemen and China confirm: (1) The worldwide famine. (2) Some proof Joseph actually existed. (3) Some proof the Hebrews were in Egypt at the time Yemen and China were experiencing the seven year famine.

  3. Joseph’s global famine (Genesis 41:57) now has been verified! Spread the news! Educate the world to ancient world history.
    Shang Dynasty emperor Ching Tang some Chinese historians stated his reign began in 1747 B.C. There are others who believe his reign began in 1675 B.C. Chinese emperor Ching Tang was recorded having a seven year famine verifying Joseph’s seven year famine in Genesis 41:30. This seven year famine occurred 1704-1697 B.C. Emperor Ching Tang must have been reigning during this time in world history.


    Joseph lived for 110 years 1741-1631 B.C. (Genesis 50:26) Joseph age 30 (Genesis 41:40-46) became governor of Egypt in 1711 B.C. There was 7 years of great harvest and the second year of famine Joseph age 39 in 1702 B.C. met his father Jacob age 130 (Genesis 47:9) in Egypt. Global famine 1704-1697 B.C. (Genesis 41:57)


    (1) Jacob brought the starving Hebrew people into Egypt settling near Biblical On (Genesis 41:45) Heliopolis, Egypt in 1702 B.C.
    (2) Starving Hyksos Canaanite chieftain Sheshi lead his people into Avaris, Egypt trading their horses for bread (Genesis 47:13-17) in 1702 B.C. during the world famine. (Genesis 41:57)
    (3) Some Minoans from Crete also settle in Egypt’s delta in 1700 B.C. as archaeologist have found Minoan artifacts in Egypt’s delta.
    (4) The Kushite kingdom in eastern Africa arises in 1700 B.C. as Africans fleeing famine come together living in close knit community along the Nile river south of Egypt.
    (5) Some Black tribes migrate from central Africa and settle in southern Africa fleeing from famine. These people left their prescience known. Archaeologist dated their artifacts to 1700 B.C.


    (6) Other Minoans from the island of Crete migrate to mainland Greece in 1700 B.C. spreading their culture there.
    (7) Nordic Bronze culture in northern Europe becomes established in 1700 B.C. where bronze weapons are produced used in hunting wild game.
    (8) Starving Indo-Europeans from western Russia migrate to central Europe and produce bronze weapons to hunt wild game in 1700 B.C.


    (9) People from central Asia-Minor migrate to the coast and build defensive walls around Troy VI to keep the starving barbarians out of the city.
    (10) Some starving Hittites move into western Assyria and adopt the Assyrian cuneiform style of writing in 1700 B.C.
    (11) Starving Indo-European Sealanders invade Amorite Babylon king Abi-Eshuh 1710-1684 B.C. settling in southern Babylonia in 1700 B.C. Abi-Eshuh dams up the Tigris river trying to starve the Sealanders out.
    (12) Starving Indo-European tribes invade Dravidan dominated India in 1700 B.C. Indo-Europeans destroy the Dravidan Mohenjo-Daro civilization in 1700 B.C.
    (13) Starving Indo-European tribes invade western China in 1700 B.C. Chinese archaeologist discovered Indo-European mummies in western China. The Indo-Europeans introduced the Chinese to the horse driven chariot. NOTE: Indo-European Kassites were first to use the horse driven chariot attacking Babylon in the reign of Amorite Babylon king Samsu-iluna 1750-1711 B.C. in his 9th year in 1741 B.C. NOTE: Joseph age 30 was given the Egyptian pharaoh’s 2nd chariot in 1711 B.C. (Genesis 41:43)
    (14) Chinese Shang Dynasty very early in the dynasty recorded a 7 year famine verifying Joseph’s account of the 7 year global famine in Egypt. (Genesis 41:57) It was Shang Dynasty emperor Ching Tang in Chinese annals these record his seven year famine which matches Joseph’s famine. (Genesis 41:30)


    (15) The American agricultural Indians establish the Poverty Point Mound Culture in Louisiana in 1700 B.C. building their first city in North America during the world famine.
    (16) Olmecs migrate into the Yucatan Peninsula in 1700 B.C. Archaeologist state the Olmecs invented plumbing and the Olmecs were interested in water conservation at this time in world history.


    (17) South American Indians establish their kingdom in Bolivia during the global famine 1704-1697 B.C. according to archaeologist discoveries there at Tiahuanacu.

    Joseph’s account of the world famine (Genesis 41:57) is supported by archaeology and the migrations of ancient people’s in 1700 B.C. Why not pass this information along to people who are interested in ancient history confirming Joseph’s 7 year famine? (Genesis 41:30)

  4. Pingback: Help in Times of Famine: Genesis 42:1-2 | bennett's blog

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