1 Two years later, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing on the bank of the Nile River.
2 In his dream, seven fat, healthy-looking cows suddenly came up out of the river and began grazing along its bank.
3 Then seven other cows came up from the river, but these were very ugly and gaunt. These cows went over and stood beside the fat cows.
4 Then the thin, ugly cows ate the fat ones! At this point in the dream, Pharaoh woke up.
5 Soon he fell asleep again and had a second dream. This time he saw seven heads of grain on one stalk, with every kernel well formed and plump.
6 Then suddenly, seven more heads appeared on the stalk, but these were shriveled and withered by the east wind.
7 And these thin heads swallowed up the seven plump, well-formed heads! Then Pharaoh woke up again and realized it was a dream.
8 The next morning, as he thought about it, Pharaoh became very concerned as to what the dreams might mean. So he called for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt and told them about his dreams, but not one of them could suggest what they meant.
9 Then the king's cup-bearer spoke up. "Today I have been reminded of my failure," he said.
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.
11 One night the chief baker and I each had a dream, and each dream had a meaning.
12 We told the dreams to a young Hebrew man who was a servant of the captain of the guard. He told us what each of our dreams meant,
13 and everything happened just as he said it would. I was restored to my position as cup-bearer, and the chief baker was executed and impaled on a pole."
14 Pharaoh sent for Joseph at once, and he was brought hastily from the dungeon. After a quick shave and change of clothes, he went in and stood in Pharaoh's presence.
15 "I had a dream last night," Pharaoh told him, "and none of these men can tell me what it means. But I have heard that you can interpret dreams, and that is why I have called for you."
16 "It is beyond my power to do this," Joseph replied. "But God will tell you what it means and will set you at ease."
17 So Pharaoh told him the dream. "I was standing on the bank of the Nile River," he said.
18 "Suddenly, seven fat, healthy-looking cows came up out of the river and began grazing along its bank.
19 But then seven other cows came up from the river. They were very thin and gaunt--in fact, I've never seen such ugly animals in all the land of Egypt.
20 These thin, ugly cows ate up the seven fat ones that had come out of the river first,
21 but afterward they were still as ugly and gaunt as before! Then I woke up.
22 "A little later I had another dream. This time there were seven heads of grain on one stalk, and all seven heads were plump and full.
23 Then out of the same stalk came seven withered heads, shriveled by the east wind.
24 And the withered heads swallowed up the plump ones! I told these dreams to my magicians, but not one of them could tell me what they mean."
25 "Both dreams mean the same thing," Joseph told Pharaoh. "God was telling you what he is about to do.
26 The seven fat cows and the seven plump heads of grain both represent seven years of prosperity.
27 The seven thin, ugly cows and the seven withered heads of grain represent seven years of famine.
28 This will happen just as I have described it, for God has shown you what he is about to do.
29 The next seven years will be a period of great prosperity throughout the land of Egypt.
30 But afterward there will be seven years of famine so great that all the prosperity will be forgotten and wiped out. Famine will destroy the land.
31 This famine will be so terrible that even the memory of the good years will be erased.
32 As for having the dream twice, it means that the matter has been decreed by God and that he will make these events happen soon.