In my distress I called upon the Lord
and cried out to my God.
He heard my voice from his temple.
My cry came before him, into his ears. Psalm 18:6

Genesis 41-42

Genesis 41

The Dreams of Pharaoh

1 At the end of two full years, Pharaoh had a dream, and in it he was standing by the river. 2 Seven cattle came up out of the river. They were fat and good looking, and they fed in the marsh grass. 3 Seven other cattle came up after them out of the river, ugly and thin, and stood by the other cattle on the brink of the river. 4 The ugly and thin cattle devoured the seven fat, good looking cattle. Then Pharaoh awoke.

5 He slept and dreamed a second time, and seven heads of grain came up on one stalk, healthy and good. 6 Seven heads of grain, thin and scorched with the east wind, sprung up after them. 7 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy and full ears. Pharaoh awoke and realized it was a dream.

8 In the morning, his spirit was troubled, and he sent for all of Egypt’s magicians and wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them to Pharaoh.

9 Then the chief cup bearer spoke to Pharaoh, saying, “I remember my faults today. 10 Pharaoh was angry with his servants and put me in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, with the chief baker. 11 We both had a dream on the same night, he and I, each having a dream with its own meaning. 12 There was with us there a young man, a Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard, and we told him, and he interpreted our dreams for us. He interpreted for each man according to his dream. 13 As he interpreted to us, so it was: I was restored to my office, and he was hanged.”

Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s Dreams

14 Then Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon. He shaved, changed his clothing, and came in to Pharaoh. 15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have dreamt a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you, that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”

16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not I, but God who will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”

17 Pharaoh spoke to Joseph, “In my dream, I stood on the brink of the river, 18 and there came up out of the river, seven fat and good looking cattle. They fed in the marsh grass, 19 and seven other cattle came up after them, poor and very ugly and thin. Such ugliness I had never seen in all the land of Egypt. 20 The thin and ugly cattle ate the first seven fat cattle, 21 and when they had devoured them, no one could tell that they had eaten them, and they were still as ugly as before. Then I awoke.

22 I saw in my dream that seven heads of grain came up on one stalk, full and good, 23 and seven heads of grain, withered, thin, and scorched with the east wind, sprung up after them. 24 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads of grain. I told this to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me.”

25 Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The meaning of Pharaoh’s dreams are the same. What God is about to do he has declared to Pharaoh. 26 The seven good cattle are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years. It is one dream. 27 The seven thin and ugly cattle that came up after them are seven years and also the seven empty heads of grain scorched with the east wind, they will be seven years of famine. 28 That is what I have said to Pharaoh. God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do.

29 Seven years of great plenty throughout the whole land of Egypt are coming. 30 Seven years of famine will come after them, and all the abundance will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will consume the land, 31 and the abundance will not be known in the land because of the famine which follows it, for it will be very grievous. 32 The dream was doubled to Pharaoh because it has been established by God, and God will soon bring it to pass.

33 Now therefore let Pharaoh look for a discreet and wise man and set him over the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh do this and let him appoint overseers over the land and store up twenty percent of the produce from the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years. 35 Let them gather all the food from these good years that come and store grain under Pharaoh’s hand for food in the cities and let them keep it. 36 The food will be to supply the land against the seven years of famine in the land of Egypt so that the land will not perish through the famine.”

Joseph Given Charge of Egypt

37 This revelation seemed good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants.

38 Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a one as this, a man who has the Spirit of God in him?” 39 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Because God has shown you all of this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be over my house. All my people will be ruled according to your word. Only on the throne I will be greater than you.” 41 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have set you over the whole land of Egypt.”

42 Pharaoh took his signet ring off of his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand and arrayed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 He made him ride in the second chariot which he had. They cried before him, “Bow the knee!” He set him over all the land of Egypt.

44 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh. Without you, no man shall lift up his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt.” 45 Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On as a wife. Joseph went out over the land of Egypt.

The Seven Years of Plenty

46 Joseph was 30 years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went throughout the whole land of Egypt. 47 In the seven plentiful years the earth produced abundantly. 48 He gathered up all the food from the seven years which were in the land of Egypt and stored up the food in the cities. He stored food in each city from the fields around that city. 49 Joseph stored up grain like the sand of the sea, so much that he stopped counting, for it was without number.

The Sons of Joseph

50 Before the year of famine, two sons were borne to Joseph, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore to him. 51 Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house.” 52 To the second, he gave the name Ephraim: “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”

The Famine Begins

53 The seven years of plenty that were in the land of Egypt came to an end. 54 The seven years of famine began to come, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all lands, but throughout Egypt, there was bread. 55 When the entire land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, and Pharaoh said to all of the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. What he says to you, do.” 56 The famine was over the whole face of the earth. Joseph opened all the store houses and sold to the Egyptians. The famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57 All the countries came into Egypt, to Joseph, to buy grain, because the famine was severe throughout the earth.

Genesis 42

Joseph’s Brothers Sent to Egypt

1 Now Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, and Jacob said to his sons, “Why are you looking at one another?” 2 He said, “I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us from there, so that we may live and not die.” 3 Joseph’s ten brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4 But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with his brothers; for he said, “Lest harm might happen to him.” 5 The sons of Israel came to buy, among others who came, for the famine was in the land of Canaan.

6 Joseph was the governor over the land. It was he who sold to all the people of the land. Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down to him with their faces to the earth. 7 Joseph saw his brothers, and he recognized them but acted like a stranger to them and spoke roughly with them. He said to them, “Where did you come from?”

They said, “From the land of Canaan, to buy food.”

8 Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. 9 Joseph remembered the dreams which he had dreamt about them and said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see the vulnerability of the land.”

10 They said to him, “No, my lord, but your servants have come to buy food. 11 We are all one man’s sons. We are honest men. Your servants are not spies.”

12 He said to them, “No, but you have come to see the vulnerability of the land!”

13 They said, “We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and the youngest is today with our father, and one is no more.”

14 Joseph said to them, “It is like I told you, saying, ‘You are spies!’ 15 By this you shall be tested. By the life of Pharaoh, you shall not go out from here unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 Send one of you and let him get your brother, and you shall be bound, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you, or else by the life of Pharaoh surely you are spies.” 17 He put them all together into custody for three days.

18 Joseph said to them on the third day, “Do this and live, for I fear God. 19 If you are honest men, then let one of your brothers be bound in prison, but you go, carry grain for the famine in your houses. 20 Bring your youngest brother to me, so will your words be verified, and you will not die.” They did so.

21 They said to one another, “We are certainly guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw his distress when he begged us, and we wouldn’t listen. Therefore this distress has come upon us.”

22 Reuben answered them, saying, “Didn’t I tell you, saying, ‘Don’t sin against the child,’ and you wouldn’t listen? Therefore also, there is a requirement for his blood.”

23 They did not know that Joseph understood them, for there was an interpreter between them. 24 He turned away from them and wept. Then he returned to them and spoke to them and took Simeon from among them and bound him before their eyes.

Joseph’s Brothers Return to Canaan

25 Then Joseph gave a command to fill their bags with grain and to restore each man’s money into his sack and to give them food for the way. So it was done to them.

26 They loaded their donkeys with their grain and departed from there. 27 As one of them opened his sack to give his donkey food in the lodging place, he saw his money. It was in the mouth of his sack. 28 He said to his brothers, “My money is restored! It is in my sack!” Their hearts failed them, and they turned trembling to one another, saying, “What is this that God has done to us?”

29 They came to Jacob their father, to the land of Canaan and told him all that had happened to them, saying, 30 “The man, the lord of the land, spoke roughly with us and took us for spies of the country. 31 We said to him, ‘We are honest men. We are no spies. 32 We are twelve brothers, sons of our father. One is no more, and the youngest is today with our father in the land of Canaan.’ 33 The man, the lord of the land, said to us, ‘By this I will know that you are honest men: leave one of your brothers with me and take grain for the famine of your houses and go your way.

34 Bring your youngest brother to me. Then I will know that you are not spies but that you are honest men. So I will deliver your brother to you, and you shall trade in the land.’ ”

35 As they emptied their sacks, each man’s bundle of money was in his sack. When they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were afraid.

36 Jacob, their father, said to them, “You have bereaved me of my children! Joseph is no more, Simeon is no more, and you want to take Benjamin away. All these things are against me.”

37 Reuben spoke to his father, saying, “Kill my two sons if I don’t bring him to you. Entrust him to my care, and I will bring him back to you.”

38 He said, “My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and only he is left. If harm happens to him along the way in which you go, then you will bring down my gray hairs to the pit with sorrow.”

Matthew 13:24-46

The Parable of the Weeds

24 Jesus set another parable before them, saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while people slept, his enemy came and sowed weeds also among the wheat and went away. 26 But when the blade of wheat sprang up and produced fruit, then the weeds appeared also.

27 The servants of the homeowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where did these weeds come from?’

28 “He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’

The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and gather them up?’

29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the weeds, you root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the harvest time I will tell the harvesters: First, gather up the weeds and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.’ ”

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

31 He set another parable before them, saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, 32 which indeed is smaller than all seeds. But when it is grown, it is greater than any garden plant and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”

The Parable of the Leaven

33 He spoke another parable to them. “The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast, which a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”

34 Jesus spoke all these things in parables to the multitudes, and without a parable, he did not speak to them, 35 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophet, saying,

“I will open my mouth in parables.
I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world.” a

The Parable of the Weeds Explained

36 Then Jesus sent the multitudes away and went into the house. His disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.”

37 He answered them, “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38 the field is the world; and the good seed, these are the children of the Kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 As therefore the weeds are gathered up and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather out of his Kingdom, all things that cause sin and those who do iniquity. 42 They will cast them into the furnace of fire where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

The Parables of the Treasure and Pearl

44 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid. In his joy, he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

45 Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who is a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46 who, having found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

a Psalm 78:2

Psalm 18:1-15

The Lord is My Rock

For the Chief Musician. By David the servant of the Lord, who spoke to the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said,

1 I love you, Lord, my strength.

2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower.
3 I call on the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.

4 The cords of death surrounded me.
The floods of ungodliness made me afraid.
5 The cords of Sheol were around me.
The snares of death came on me.
6 In my distress I called upon the Lord
and cried out to my God.
He heard my voice from his temple.
My cry came before him, into his ears.

7 Then the earth shook and trembled.
The foundations also of the mountains quaked and were shaken,
because he was angry.
8 Smoke went out of his nostrils.
Consuming fire came out of his mouth.
Coals were kindled by it.
9 He bowed the heavens also, and came down.
Thick darkness was under his feet.
10 He rode on a cherub, and flew.
Yes, he soared on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his hiding place, his pavilion around him,
darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.
12 At the brightness before him his thick clouds passed,
hailstones and coals of fire.

13 The Lord also thundered in the sky.
The Most High uttered his voice:
hailstones and coals of fire.
14 He sent out his arrows, and scattered them.
Yes, great lightning bolts, and routed them.
15 Then the channels of waters appeared.
The foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, Lord,
at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.

Proverbs 4:1-6

1 Listen, sons, to a father’s instruction.
Pay attention and know understanding,
2 for I give you sound learning.
Do not forsake my law.
3 For I was a son to my father,
tender and an only child in the sight of my mother.
4 He taught me and said to me:
“Let your heart retain my words.
Keep my commandments, and live.
5 Get wisdom.
Get understanding.
Do not forget, and do not deviate from the words of my mouth.
6 Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you.
Love her, and she will keep you.

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