1Two full years later, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing on the bank of the Nile River.
2In his dream he saw seven fat, healthy cows come up out of the river and begin grazing in the marsh grass.
3Then he saw seven more cows come up behind them from the Nile, but these were scrawny and thin. These cows stood beside the fat cows on the riverbank.
4Then the scrawny, thin cows ate the seven healthy, fat cows! At this point in the dream, Pharaoh woke up.
5But he fell asleep again and had a second dream. This time he saw seven heads of grain, plump and beautiful, growing on a single stalk.
6Then seven more heads of grain appeared, but these were shriveled and withered by the east wind.
7And these thin heads swallowed up the seven plump, well-formed heads! Then Pharaoh woke up again and realized it was a dream.
8The next morning Pharaoh was very disturbed by the dreams. So he called for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. When Pharaoh told them his dreams, not one of them could tell him what they meant.
9Finally, the king's chief cup-bearer spoke up. "Today I have been reminded of my failure," he told Pharaoh.
10"Some time ago, you were angry with the chief baker and me, and you imprisoned us in the palace of the captain of the guard.
11One night the chief baker and I each had a dream, and each dream had its own meaning.
12There was a young Hebrew man with us in the prison who was a slave of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he told us what each of our dreams meant.
13And everything happened just as he had predicted. I was restored to my position as cup-bearer, and the chief baker was executed and impaled on a pole."
14Pharaoh sent for Joseph at once, and he was quickly brought from the prison. After he shaved and changed his clothes, he went in and stood before Pharaoh.
15Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I had a dream last night, and no one here can tell me what it means. But I have heard that when you hear about a dream you can interpret it."
16"It is beyond my power to do this," Joseph replied. "But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease."
17So Pharaoh told Joseph his dream. "In my dream," he said, "I was standing on the bank of the Nile River,
18and I saw seven fat, healthy cows come up out of the river and begin grazing in the marsh grass.
19But then I saw seven sick-looking cows, scrawny and thin, come up after them. I've never seen such sorry-looking animals in all the land of Egypt.
20These thin, scrawny cows ate the seven fat cows.
21But afterward you wouldn't have known it, for they were still as thin and scrawny as before! Then I woke up.
22"Then I fell asleep again, and I had another dream. This time I saw seven heads of grain, full and beautiful, growing on a single stalk.
23Then seven more heads of grain appeared, but these were blighted, shriveled, and withered by the east wind.
24And the shriveled heads swallowed the seven healthy heads. I told these dreams to the magicians, but no one could tell me what they mean."
25Joseph responded, "Both of Pharaoh's dreams mean the same thing. God is telling Pharaoh in advance what he is about to do.
26The seven healthy cows and the seven healthy heads of grain both represent seven years of prosperity.
27The seven thin, scrawny cows that came up later and the seven thin heads of grain, withered by the east wind, represent seven years of famine.
28"This will happen just as I have described it, for God has revealed to Pharaoh in advance what he is about to do.
29The next seven years will be a period of great prosperity throughout the land of Egypt.
30But afterward there will be seven years of famine so great that all the prosperity will be forgotten in Egypt. Famine will destroy the land.
31This famine will be so severe that even the memory of the good years will be erased.
32As for having two similar dreams, it means that these events have been decreed by God, and he will soon make them happen.
33"Therefore, Pharaoh should find an intelligent and wise man and put him in charge of the entire land of Egypt.
34Then Pharaoh should appoint supervisors over the land and let them collect one-fifth of all the crops during the seven good years.
35Have them gather all the food produced in the good years that are just ahead and bring it to Pharaoh's storehouses. Store it away, and guard it so there will be food in the cities.
36That way there will be enough to eat when the seven years of famine come to the land of Egypt. Otherwise this famine will destroy the land."
37Joseph's suggestions were well received by Pharaoh and his officials.
38So Pharaoh asked his officials, "Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?"
39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are.
40You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne, will have a rank higher than yours."
41Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt."
42Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and placed it on Joseph's finger. He dressed him in fine linen clothing and hung a gold chain around his neck.
43Then he had Joseph ride in the chariot reserved for his second-in-command. And wherever Joseph went, the command was shouted, "Kneel down!" So Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all Egypt.
44And Pharaoh said to him, "I am Pharaoh, but no one will lift a hand or foot in the entire land of Egypt without your approval."
45Then Pharaoh gave Joseph a new Egyptian name, Zaphenath-paneah.* He also gave him a wife, whose name was Asenath. She was the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On.* So Joseph took charge of the entire land of Egypt.
46He was thirty years old when he began serving in the court of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. And when Joseph left Pharaoh's presence, he inspected the entire land of Egypt.
47As predicted, for seven years the land produced bumper crops.
48During those years, Joseph gathered all the crops grown in Egypt and stored the grain from the surrounding fields in the cities.
49He piled up huge amounts of grain like sand on the seashore. Finally, he stopped keeping records because there was too much to measure.
50During this time, before the first of the famine years, two sons were born to Joseph and his wife, Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On.
51Joseph named his older son Manasseh,* for he said, "God has made me forget all my troubles and everyone in my father's family."
52Joseph named his second son Ephraim,* for he said, "God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief."
53At last the seven years of bumper crops throughout the land of Egypt came to an end.
54Then the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had predicted. The famine also struck all the surrounding countries, but throughout Egypt there was plenty of food.
55Eventually, however, the famine spread throughout the land of Egypt as well. And when the people cried out to Pharaoh for food, he told them, "Go to Joseph, and do whatever he tells you."
56So with severe famine everywhere, Joseph opened up the storehouses and distributed grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout the land of Egypt.
57And people from all around came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph because the famine was severe throughout the world.
1At about that time Jesus was walking through some grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, so they began breaking off some heads of grain and eating them.
2But some Pharisees saw them do it and protested, "Look, your disciples are breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath."
3Jesus said to them, "Haven't you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry?
4He went into the house of God, and he and his companions broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests are allowed to eat.
5And haven't you read in the law of Moses that the priests on duty in the Temple may work on the Sabbath?
6I tell you, there is one here who is even greater than the Temple!
7But you would not have condemned my innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: `I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.'*
8For the Son of Man* is Lord, even over the Sabbath!"
9Then Jesus went over to their synagogue,
10where he noticed a man with a deformed hand. The Pharisees asked Jesus, "Does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath?" (They were hoping he would say yes, so they could bring charges against him.)
11And he answered, "If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn't you work to pull it out? Of course you would.
12And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath."
13Then he said to the man, "Hold out your hand." So the man held out his hand, and it was restored, just like the other one!
14Then the Pharisees called a meeting to plot how to kill Jesus.
15But Jesus knew what they were planning. So he left that area, and many people followed him. He healed all the sick among them,
16but he warned them not to reveal who he was.
17This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah concerning him:
18"Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen.
He is my Beloved, who pleases me.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19He will not fight or shout
or raise his voice in public.
20He will not crush the weakest reed
or put out a flickering candle.
Finally he will cause justice to be victorious.
21And his name will be the hope
of all the world."*
22Then a demon-possessed man, who was blind and couldn't speak, was brought to Jesus. He healed the man so that he could both speak and see.
23The crowd was amazed and asked, "Could it be that Jesus is the Son of David, the Messiah?"
24But when the Pharisees heard about the miracle, they said, "No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan,* the prince of demons."
25Jesus knew their thoughts and replied, "Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A town or family splintered by feuding will fall apart.
26And if Satan is casting out Satan, he is divided and fighting against himself. His own kingdom will not survive.
27And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists? They cast out demons, too, so they will condemn you for what you have said.
28But if I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you.
29For who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man like Satan and plunder his goods? Only someone even stronger—someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house.
30"Anyone who isn't with me opposes me, and anyone who isn't working with me is actually working against me.
31"So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven—except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven.
32Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to come.
33"A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad.
34You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.
35A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.
36And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.
37The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you."
38One day some teachers of religious law and Pharisees came to Jesus and said, "Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign to prove your authority."
39But Jesus replied, "Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.
40For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.
41"The people of Nineveh will stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for they repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Now someone greater than Jonah is here—but you refuse to repent.
42The queen of Sheba* will also stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for she came from a distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Now someone greater than Solomon is here—but you refuse to listen.
43"When an evil* spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none.
44Then it says, `I will return to the person I came from.' So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept, and in order.
45Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before. That will be the experience of this evil generation."
46As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him.
47Someone told Jesus, "Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to speak to you."*
48Jesus asked, "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?"
49Then he pointed to his disciples and said, "Look, these are my mother and brothers.
50Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!"