Bible study 41 – Genesis 41

After two years, Pharaoh has a weird dream that he wants interpreted. Alas, none of his own priests can do it (I thought that was basically the job of ancient Egyptian priests?). Luckily, his cupbearer remembers a dream-interpreter he met in the dungeons! Joseph is quickly brought up, gets to shave and freshen up, and interprets Pharaoh’s dream: There will be seven years with lots of harvest, followed by seven years of famine. Pharaoh is amazed at this prediction, and without any evidence whatsoever of it being true he makes Joseph the de facto leader of Egypt to make sure Egypt weathers the coming crisis.

So Joseph introduces a grain tax, and forcibly collects grain from the peasants for seven years. Then when the famine starts, he opens the storehouses and… sells the grain back to the peasants. (Are the Jews that wrote this thing trying to make their own people look greedy and miserly??)

(Note: The text doesn’t explicitly say that Joseph introduced a tax, but there is no hint of the peasants being remunerated for their grain. There are also some passages in later chapters that suggest this is a compulsory tax.)

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