Joseph's Rise to Power
Joseph continued speaking to the leader of Egypt:
"Now therefore, let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years. And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming, and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. Then that food shall be a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine'" (Gen. 41:33-36).

In addition to interpreting the dreams, Joseph gave excellent advice to Pharaoh. Only a fool would be informed of a terrible future famine and do nothing to prepare for it, and Pharaoh is no fool!

"So the advice was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants. And Pharaoh said to his servants, 'Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?' Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.' And Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.' Then Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Joseph's hand; and he clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. And he had him ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried out before him, 'Bow the knee!' So he set him over all the land of Egypt. Pharaoh also said to Joseph, 'I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no man may lift his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt'" (Gen. 41:37-44).

It is incredible how quickly Joseph rose in power. That morning he woke up as a prisoner but by evening he was the prime minister of all of Egypt, exceeded in authority only by Pharaoh himself! Could he handle the transition and power he suddenly acquired? Indeed he could. At 30 years of age he is ready for the great work God had in store for him (i.e., saving many people from a terrible famine and relocating the people of Israel away from Canaan temporarily). He was a humble and righteous man and would not be corrupted by power. During the 7 years of plenty, Joseph collected 20% of the crops and stored them throughout the land of Egypt. He kept track of how much there was at first but eventually stopped counting because it was "immeasurable" (41:49).

"And to Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, whom Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On, bore to him. Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: 'For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father's house.' And the name of the second he called Ephraim: 'For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction'" (Gen. 41:50-52). After his rapid ascension, Joseph married and was blessed with sons. He is happy and is not harboring any grudges against his brothers. Though he had been afflicted for 13 years, he is very blessed now.

When the famine hit, Egypt was very well prepared. "So when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. Then Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, 'Go to Joseph; whatever he says to you, do.' The famine was over all the face of the earth, and Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians. And the famine became severe in the land of Egypt. So all countries came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, because the famine was severe in all lands" (Gen. 41:55-57).