Genesis 41:16 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 41:16, NIV: "I cannot do it,' Joseph replied to Pharaoh, 'but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.'"

Genesis 41:16, ESV: "Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”"

Genesis 41:16, KJV: "And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace."

Genesis 41:16, NASB: "Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, 'It has nothing to do with me; God will give Pharaoh an answer for his own good.'"

Genesis 41:16, NLT: "'It is beyond my power to do this,' Joseph replied. 'But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease.'"

Genesis 41:16, CSB: ""I am not able to," Joseph answered Pharaoh. "It is God who will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.""

What does Genesis 41:16 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

These words are humble, yet they are also bold. Joseph has been summoned before the ruler of Egypt, known by the title Pharaoh. Prior to this, Joseph was in prison on a false charge (Genesis 40:14–15). He has been summoned for a single reason: to interpret the king's dreams (Genesis 41:1–7). None of the court magicians or wise men have understood them; one of Joseph's fellow prisoners recalled his uncanny abilities (Genesis 41:9–13). As soon as he was made presentable, the Pharaoh asked Joseph if he can interpret dreams.

Joseph's boldness, in this case, comes in correcting the Pharaoh. He makes a point of insisting that it is God, not Joseph himself, who has the required knowledge. At the same time, he confidently says God will provide a truthful understanding of those dreams, through Joseph. This pattern of not taking credit for God's actions was part of Joseph's reputation as a man of honor (Genesis 40:8). Honestly admitting what one does or does not know, and what they can or cannot control, is a sign of integrity. People grew to know that Joseph was trustworthy, in part, because of decisions such as these.

Pharaoh will describe his dreams, to which Joseph will give both an interpretation and advice (Genesis 41:17–36).