Joseph Divines Pharaoh's Dream

But there came a day when Pharaoh the king himself dreamed a dream, and was profoundly troubled in spirit.

It seemed he stood beside a river, and there came up out of its waters seven kine or cows, which fed together at the river’s brink. And as his eyes watched them in his dream, they were followed by another seven kine, different in shape and appearance, which, browsing nearer, suddenly fell upon and devoured the seven that he had first seen. And he awoke.

When at length the drowsiness of sleep stole over his senses, he dreamed again. He saw, as it were, flourishing upon one stalk or stem seven full ears of corn. But as he looked and wondered, there sprouted out on the same stem another seven, black and mildewed, which so utterly destroyed and defaced the full ears that nothing of them remained. Again he awoke, shaken and cold with dismay.

Sleep returned to him no more that night. He lay weary and restless, pondering on these dreams, which unfolded themselves again and again before his waking eyes as vividly as in sleep. But however intently he considered them and compared them one with another, he could draw out of them no semblance of a meaning for the reality of day. Yet he was assured in his heart that these dreams were no mere idle shows of the night, but had been sent to warn him and held a meaning as yet hidden from him.

Even when the fair beams of morning lit up his great chamber windows and the day had begun, his mind was no less disquieted and dark with foreboding. So he summoned his diviners and magicians—men who were wise in the interpretation of dreams and of omens. With heads shaven, and in their white mantles, they came into his presence, made obeisance, chaunted his praises, and stood awaiting his pleasure.

But when he had told them his dreams, they were one and all at a loss to expound them. And though they debated long together, and each of them did his utmost by every means of magic and sorcery that he knew to discover a meaning, there was none of his diviners that satisfied Pharaoh or in whom he could put his trust. He dismissed them from his presence with displeasure. And when the chief butler, who was waiting upon him, saw in what disquietude of mind the king was, and how even the most cunning of his soothsayers had been unable to interpret his dreams, there sprang up in his mind memory of the long heavy weeks that he had shared in captivity in the prison-house with the chief baker, now long dead, and how their cares had ended.

That evening, as Pharaoh sat at table, he asked leave to speak to the king. ‘Thy servant,’ he said, ‘hath this day been reminded of the past and of a promise that he made but that until now he has failed to keep, for which he is greatly to blame. Pharaoh may of his grace remember that some time ago he was offended with his servant, and also with his servant who was at that time the chief baker in Pharaoh’s palace. And we were both of us put under ward of the governor of the prison, both myself and the chief baker. One night—after many weary days of banishment from Pharaoh’s presence—we dreamed a dream, both I myself and he, and were greatly troubled. For our dreams seemed to have some meaning, though we knew not what it was. Next morning we told one another our dreams, which were of a likeness one with the other, and we were sorely perplexed by them. And there came in as was usual, a young man, a Hebrew, the servant of the governor of the prison, who waited upon us. We had spoken with him before, and thought well of him and of his understanding and courtesy. And each in turn we told him—the chief baker and myself—our dreams. And behold, even as he expounded them to us, so everything came to pass. My lord the king, of his mercy, restored me into his favour, and made me his cupbearer again, even as I am to this day. But the chief baker did not find favour in Pharaoh’s eyes, and was hanged.’

‘What manner of man,’ said Pharaoh, ‘was this young Hebrew?’

‘He was a young man of a rare wisdom and of a beautiful countenance. The governor of the prison- house thought well of him, and it grieves me that I have forgotten him so long.’

  By PanEris using Melati.

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