“Pharaoh’s Dream,” by Owen Jones
1. “A Goodly Person”
Young Joseph was naive to a fault: sharing dreams with his brothers which were bound to infuriate them and even drawing his father’s rebuke on one occasion. He seems to have been singularly focused on doing what was right and baffled that others didn’t share his enthusiasm (Genesis 37:1-10).
But this singular focus would serve Joseph well in a different setting: as a slave in Potiphar’s house. Potiphar recognized that “the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand” (Genesis 39:3). Over time, he earned Potiphar’s trust to the degree that Potiphar “left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat” (Genesis 39:6). This description doesn’t make Potiphar sound like a particularly effective manager, but it does illustrate the level of trust Joseph had earned.
And when Joseph was subsequently falsely accused and thrown into prison, the story repeated itself: “The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the Lord was with [Joseph], and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper” (Genesis 39:23).
The first author in the Book of Mormon, Nephi, had a lot in common with Joseph. His first priority was to obey God’s commandments (1 Nephi 3:7, 1 Nephi 17:3, 2 Nephi 33:15), and he often clashed with his brothers as a result, to his own sorrow. But he eventually established a colony with like-minded people, where they prospered and lived “after the manner of happiness.” (See 2 Nephi 5.)
Here’s the message I get from these two stories: We seek for peace, not for appeasement. As we strive to do what is right, others won’t always agree with us; they may not even be kind to us. But if we continue to do God’s will to the best of our ability, He will bless us and we will prosper over time.
Here are a couple of blog posts on this topic:
2. Giving the Glory to God
When Pharaoh asked if Joseph could interpret his dreams, Joseph replied, “It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace” (Genesis 41:16).
This statement reminds me of Ammon’s response to King Lamoni when asked if he was sent from God. “I am a man,” he said, “…and a portion of [God’s] Spirit dwelleth in me, which giveth me knowledge, and also power according to my faith and desires which are in God” (Alma 18:34-35).
If we exercise faith in God, miracles will come, but we need to acknowledge that He is the source of those miracles.
Here is a blog post on the topic:
Here are a few other blog posts which reference this week’s reading:
- Why does the Lord use stars as a metaphor for people? (Genesis 37:9-11): The Star
- Potiphar made Joseph an “overseer,” which could also be translated a “numberer” (Genesis 39:4-5): “I Know My Sheep, and They Are Numbered” – 3 Nephi 18:31.
- Potiphar saw Joseph as “a goodly person.” What does it mean to be goodly? (Genesis 39:6): What Are “Goodly Parents?”
- In Pharaoh’s dream, the seven thin ears of corn were blasted with the “east wind.” What is the symbolic meaning of that phrase? (Genesis 41:6): Limhi and the Law of the Harvest – Mosiah 7:30-31.