One night, Pharaoh had a dream.
In his dream he was standing by the Nile River, when all of a sudden he saw seven cows come up from the river. These were seven big, fat cows, and they began to munch on the reeds on the river bank.
But then, he saw seven different cows come up from the river. These cows were all thin and ugly. They looked REALLY hungry - like they could eat a cow.
And that's just what they did.
The seven thin and ugly cows ate the seven fat cows!
Pharaoh sat up in his bed. "Whoa! That's freaky!" he said. (Okay, he really didn't say that! He probably said something in Pharaoh-ese - but that's probably what he was thinking!)
And then he fell back in his bed and went back to sleep.
He had another dream.
In this one, he saw seven heads of grain. They all grew from the same stem, and they were all healthy and full.
But then he saw seven new heads of grain grow up from the same stalk. These were all thin and scorched by the east wind.
And then the seven thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy ones.
Pharaoh sprang up in his bed again.
"What was that all about?!!!!" he said out loud.
The next morning, he couldn't get the strange dreams out of his head. "They must mean something," he thought.
And so Pharaoh sent for all the magicians and wisemen of Egypt.
Tell me what my dreams mean! Pharaoh demanded.
Oh, oh! How could they do that?! The magicians and wisemen of Egypt all huddled together in the great hall of that magnificent palace, scratching their heads, trying to figure out what to say. If they didn't come up with something quick, they might not have any heads left to scratch!
"Oops!" the Butler thought just then.
It wasnt because he had spilled wine on the Pharaoh again, but because he just remembered Joseph.
"Your majesty, please forgive me," he said, "I should have told you this a long time ago. But back when you had the Baker and me thrown into prison, there was a Hebrew slave there. We had strange dreams too, and this Hebrew slave told us what our dreams meant. And everything came to pass just as he said it would."
"Bring me this Hebrew!" Pharaoh shouted.
At once Pharaoh's servants grabbed Joseph and dragged him from his cell.
Now you can't exactly go and stand before the king of all of Egypt wearing filthy rags and smelling like you haven't had a bath in two years - the stink would knock the Pharaoh right off his throne!
And then you would be in BIG trouble!
And so they let Joseph shave and shower and they gave him a new set of rags to wear.
And then they brought him to stand before the great and mighty Pharaoh.
"I am told that you can tell the meaning of dreams. Is this true?"
"No it is not," Joseph said.
"WHAT?!!!" Pharaoh screamed. The Butler gulped.
Pharaoh was about to REALLY lose his temper. But then Joseph added,
"I cannot tell the meaning of another mans dreams - but God can. Tell me your dreams, and maybe God will tell me the meaning for you."
And so Pharaoh told Joseph his dreams.
When he was finished, Joseph said, "Both of your dreams mean the same thing. God is telling you what he is about to do.
"The seven fat cows, and the seven fat heads of grain stand for seven good years. For seven years there will be lots of rain, your crops will overflow, and there will be more than enough food for everyone.
"But the seven skinny cows, and the seven thin heads of grain scorched by the east wind stand for seven years of a great famine.
"The land will dry up, your crops will wither and die, and your people will cry out for food. It will be so bad, everyone will forget the seven good years that came before.
"That is what God is going to do," Joseph said. "And he gave you two dreams to make sure you got the message! God has sent you this warning, so you can be prepared.
"This is what you must do. You must find a wise and able man, a man who is filled with the Spirit of God.
"Put this wise and able man in charge of all of Egypt. His job will be to see that enough food is saved up during the seven good years to feed your people during the seven years of famine that will come after."
"Where can I find such a wise and spirit-filled man?" Pharaoh asked.
Everyone looked at Joseph.