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    No one to explain – Mikketz

    Joseph interprets Pharaoh's dream, by James Tissot

    Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dream, by James Tissot

    Pharaoh’s dreams about fat and thin cows and fat and thin ears of corn aren’t really so hard to explain, so how is it possible that in the whole of Egypt, with all its wise men, magicians and soothsayers, there was apparently no-one who could interpret them to the king (Gen. 41:15)?

    Reason dictates that somebody must have been sufficiently perspicacious.

    The real problem is not whether anyone could explain the dreams, but whether they could explain them to the king’s satisfaction. If this is the case, the king comes out of the story better than we might have expected.

    What did the unsuccessful exponents of the dreams do wrong?

    They read the dreams too narrowly. They took them too literally. They applied them to real cows and real corn. They utilised a great deal of learning about the habits of cows and the characteristics of corn.

    Joseph, who was blessed with a wider kind of vision (verse 16 tells us that God blessed him with ability to hear, understand and explain), looked at the dreams more broadly and applied them to the overall circumstances of the kingdom.

    That’s why he was a success. He was talking to a king who really believed in his kingdom and sought its wellbeing.

    One is tempted to ask about some of our own generation’s leaders who seem more concerned with their own personal benefit and possible immortality than with the overall interest of the nation.

    If they were really good leaders they would long since have stepped down and eased themselves out of national life and allowed their place to be taken by someone who had faith in the land and could serve the nation more than their own advantage.

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