Genesis 41:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 41:20, NIV: The lean, ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first.

Genesis 41:20, ESV: And the thin, ugly cows ate up the first seven plump cows,

Genesis 41:20, KJV: And the lean and the ill favoured kine did eat up the first seven fat kine:

Genesis 41:20, NASB: and the thin and ugly cows ate the first seven fat cows.

Genesis 41:20, NLT: These thin, scrawny cows ate the seven fat cows.

Genesis 41:20, CSB: Then the thin, sickly cows ate the first seven well-fed cows.

What does Genesis 41:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Joseph is listening to the king of Egypt, known by the title Pharaoh, as he describes his disturbing dreams. No one else has been able to explain these (Genesis 41:8), so Joseph has been taken from prison after a court official remembered his interpreting ability (Genesis 41:9–16). The first dream began with seven healthy cows grazing by the Nile, followed by the arrival of seven terrible, evil-looking cows (Genesis 41:17–19).

At this point, Pharaoh's dream turns horrific. The seven gaunt, thin cows consume the healthy ones. This follows the description given earlier in this chapter (Genesis 41:1–7). However, Pharaoh will go on to point out that the sickly cows did not seem affected by eating the healthy ones; they were just as ragged and skeletal as they'd been before (Genesis 41:21). That addition will complete the first dream, and Pharaoh will go on to describe his second (Genesis 41:22).