Genesis 41

The Lord Gives Pharaoh a Dream

A Royal Bed

Now after two full years, Pharaoh had a dream (Genesis 41:1).

This gilded royal bed was recovered from the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings. It is the best-preserved royal bed that has been recovered from Egypt. It was photographed at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Fattened Cows

Seven cows came up out of the Nile, good-looking and fat (Genesis 41:2).

There are a number of ancient Egyptian depictions of cows being force-fed in order to fatten them up. The relief shown here is one of them. This relief was photographed at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City.

Pharaoh's Interpreters

Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them for Pharaoh (Genesis 41:8).

This 25th-dynasty stele was photographed at the Nubian Museum in Aswan. In it, King Tanutamun is said to have seen a portenteous dream which was interpreted by his advisors.

Egyptian Palaces

Then he came in before Pharaoh (Genesis 41:14).

One Egyptian palace that has been excavated is the palace of Merneptah (r. 1213–1203 BC) at Memphis. Almost nothing is left at the site, but various architectural components that were discovered have been fitted together in this display to give some idea of its original layout. This display was photographed at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.


The seven lean and ugly cows and the seven thin ears will be seven years of famine (Genesis 41:27)

The seven lean cows signified the hunger that the Egyptians would soon endure. Famine in the ancient world was usually the result of drought. Because Egypt relied on the Nile River both for drinking water and for crops, a drought at the headwaters of the Nile would result in famine in Egypt. This lean cow was photographed at a canal at Tell Dafana, biblical Tahpanhes, in Egypt.

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