Two full years after Joseph interpreted the dreams of the butler and the baker, Pharaoh dreamed.
In his dream, he stood by the river. And seven well-favored and fat-fleshed cows came up out of the river and fed in a meadow. Seven other cows came up out of the river after them. These cows were ill-favored and lean-fleshed. They stood by the other cows on the bank of the river.
Then the ill-favored and lean-fleshed cows ate up the seven well-favored and fat cows.
So Pharaoh awoke.
Pharaoh slept and dreamed the second time.
In this dream, seven ears of corn came up on one stalk, plump and good. Seven thin ears and blasted with the east wind sprung up after them. And the seven thin ears devoured the seven plump and full ears.
And Pharaoh awoke, and it was a dream.
In the morning his spirit was troubled. He sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all the wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but none could interpret them for Pharaoh.
Then the chief butler spoke to Pharaoh.
The chief butler: I do remember my faults this day. Pharaoh was angry with his servants and put me in ward in the captain of the guard’s house, both me and the chief baker. We dreamed a dream in one night, I and he. we each dreamed according to the interpretation of his dream. There was in the prison with us a young man, an Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted our dreams for us. As he interpreted to us, so it was. I was restored to my office, and the baker was hanged.
Pharaoh sent and called Joseph. His servants brought Joseph hastily out of the dungeon. Joseph shaved himself and changed his clothes and came in to Pharaoh.
Pharaoh (to Joseph): I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it. I have heard it said that you can understand a dream to interpret it.
Joseph: It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.
Pharaoh described the first dream.
Pharaoh added: The ill-favored and lean-fleshed cows were such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness. And when they had eaten the well-favored and fat-fleshed cows, it could not be known that they had eaten them; but they were still ill-favored, as at the beginning.
Pharaoh told Joseph of the second dream.
Pharaoh: I told this to the magicians; but there was none that could declare it to me.
Joseph: The two dreams of Pharaoh have one interpretation. God has shown you what he is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are seven years; the dream is one. And the seven thin and ill-favored cows that came up after them are seven years. The seven empty ears of corn, blasted with the east wind, shall be seven years of famine. God shows to Pharaoh what he is about to do. There come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt. And after them there shall arise seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land. And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous. Since the dream was shown to Pharaoh twice, the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.