“Cow-towing To Pharaoh” – One Year Bible Reading – January 20

Old Testament:   Genesis 41:17-42:17

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Genesis 41:17-42:17  Cow-towing To Pharaoh


Joseph told Pharaoh that both his dreams meant the same thing:  there would be seven years of plenty in Egypt but seven years of famine would follow. Pharaoh was so taken with Joseph that he chose him to be in charge of the kingdom and to charge a 20% tax to prepare for the famine.  Pharaoh gave him a wife and some great bling and another coat.

Joseph proceeded to have two sons Manasseh and Ephraim.  The plan gave to Joseph resulted in Egypt not only having enough food during the famine but also allowed the nation to gain superiority over its neighbors by supplying them grain. After the famine came, Eygypt sold the grain to people coming from all around the world.

Jacob sent the boys to Egypt to get some grain minus Benjamin so nothing could happen to him.  The ten boys had to ask Egypt’s top official for some grain and bowed down to him not realizing it was their brother Joseph.  Joseph accused them of being spies and they defended themselves saying they were all brothers from Canaan.  Joe threw them in jail for three days and then sent them home to retrieve their remaining brother to prove they were innocent.


In Chapter 41:17 -57Pharaoh reiterated his dream to Joseph (vv. 17-24). Joseph said that both dreams said the same thing: there was going to be seven years of plenty in Egypt but all that was gained would be eaten up by seven years of famine (vv. 25-37). Pharaoh was simply wowed by Joseph and gave him his signet ring and new clothes (what is it with this guy and haberdashery?) and some really cool neck bling (vv. 38-42). Pharaoh chose Joseph to be in charge of everything and to carry out his advice to tax all the produce at 20% to prepare for the famine (vv. 43-49). Pharaoh also gave him a really hot wife (v. 45). Well, the text doesn’t say that but I’m just guessing. He was thirty at the time (v. 46, he was 17 when he first was put into slavery so he had been captive for 13 years). He was in charge of all Egypt with no official higher than him except Pharaoh (v. 40).

Joseph had two sons by his hot wife, Asenath (v. 50). One son was named Manasseh, which means “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household” (v. 51). The other son was named Ephraim, which means, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction” (v. 52). (Asenath means, “hot.” JK. It literally means, she who belongs to the goddess Neith.” So we’re basically back to “hot,” right?)

Things turned out just like Joseph said.  He stockpiled more grain during the years of prosperity than anyone could measure (v. 49).  The famine followed the years of plenty (vv. 53-54).  Joseph had stockpiled more grain for more bread than anyone could ever want – even before the rush when a snowstorm is forecast in Indiana  (vv. 55-56). Then the famine came and he sold the grain to people coming from all around the world (v. 57).

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, in Chapter 42:1-17, Jacob’s sons’ stomachs must have been rumbling due to the famine so he said to them, “what are you looking at each other for?  Why don’t you go buy something to eat down in Egypt where they’ve stockpiled some grain?”  So they did but Jacob held back Benjamin so nothing could happen to him (vv. 1-5).

The ten sons appeared before Joseph as head official of Egypt and bowed down before him. They didn’t recognize him (v. 8).   He recognized them, though, and  he also remembered his dreams.  So he messed with them a little bit (vv. 9-17).  Don’t judge.  Really, could you trust these guys?

Joseph asked them where they were from (like he didn’t know) and they said they were from Canaan.  He accused them of being spies.  They told him they were all brothers, their youngest brother was at home and one had died (vv. 13-14).  He threw them all in jail for three days (v. 17) but after that time he said he would allow one of them to return home to fetch their youngest brother to prove they weren’t spies (v. 16).

New Testament:  Matthew 13:24-46

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Jesus told a parable to explain how saved and unsaved would be co-existing in the church.  Eventually, in the end, the weeds will be incinerated while the wheat will remain.

Before that happens, the kingdom of heaven will grow in the same way leaven causes bread to grow and rise.

Jesus then describes how He would buy the nation of Israel, a “treasure” in a field. He will also purchase a pearl representing the church.

Matthew 13:24-46    Leaven Heaven

Are there non-saved in the churches today?  Jesus told a parable about wheat and weeds growing together to explain the kingdom of heaven.  An enemy planted the weeds.  Not funny.  The enemy is sowing weeds in my yard every year.  Anyway, at the end of time reapers, the angels, will separate out the weeds from the wheat and take the wheat to heaven.  The weeds will be burned . . .  you know, like in Hell.  In the meantime, the weeds grow along with the wheat.  (vv. 24-30, drop down to v. 36-43 in the text where Jesus explains all this.)

Jesus also said the kingdom of heaven would also be like a mustard seed, the smallest seed (vv. 31-32).  (The mustard seed, in context, was the smallest known seed in the area, not necessarily in the world — it doesn’t say “in the world!”  There are smaller seeds like the orchard seed in the world.)  Though small it would bloom to be huge and birds would nest in its branches.  Christianity would grow to huge proportions and bless all the nations, saved or not.

The kingdom of heaven is like leaven as well (vv. 33-35).  Leaven or yeast gets its work done.  It spreads through dough and causes it to get larger.  The kingdom of heaven will likewise grow.  And, actually, it did and does.

Jesus tells us more about the kingdom of heaven (vv. 36-43).  The kingdom of heaven is like a man who finds treasure in a field.  So being pretty smart, he sells everything he has to buy the field and get the treasure that’s buried in it! Jesus is the One who purchases the nation Israel, His “treasure,” for Himself (cf. Exod. 19:5; Ps. 135:4).

A perfect pearl would have the same effect on a merchant (vv. 43-46).  He’d sell all he has to buy a really great pearl that he finds.  A pearl continues to grow from within like the church grows, organically.  Jesus gave His life to purchase the church.

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