God is in this chapter, silently, but he is working.
First, we have Joseph’s gift of dream interpretation. Throughout Mesopotamian history, dreams were always held to be extremely important for divination and Mesopotamian kings paid close attention to them.
In ancient Egypt, priests acted as dream interpreters. Hieroglyphics depicting dreams and their interpretations are evident. Dreams have been held in considerable importance through history by most cultures.
Then we have a prophetic dream by Pharaoh… one that turns out to be true and has huge ramifications.
The Nile was extremely reliable. It’s annual inundation is fed by the snow melt from the mountains in central Africa and the Nile delta was the bread basket of the ancient world. Whenever there was famine in the middle east or the Mediterranean, people went to the Egypt for food. A seven-year drought, blight or other climate or ecological disaster was a big deal. The fact that Pharaoh dreamed about it seven years in advance was supernatural. The fact that the great grandson of Abraham was sitting in an Egyptian prison, had the gift of divination from dreams, had used it before on Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker was arranged by God.
This is a silent miracle, but God’s fingers are all over this.
What we can learn about God’s nature and how he operates is the scale of the impact and the timelines.
Joseph was thirty years old at this point. He had been in prison for two year. He was sold into slavery when he was seventeen or eighteen. He had been Potiphar’s attendant for almost ten years.
It took seven years for the drought to hit Egypt after Joseph was released and made, essentially Prime Minister or Secretary of the Interior of Egypt. Joseph sets up the administration for famine relief. It is shocking that Pharaoh would do this but this could be the importance they put on dreams and divination.
There was not a Hebrew population in Egypt at this time. When Joseph claims that God interprets dreams, he is still talking about a family and tribal protector God that his great grandfather Terah took out of Ur.