Genesis 41:33 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 41:33, NIV: And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt.

Genesis 41:33, ESV: Now therefore let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt.

Genesis 41:33, KJV: Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt.

Genesis 41:33, NASB: So now let Pharaoh look for a man discerning and wise, and appoint him over the land of Egypt.

Genesis 41:33, NLT: 'Therefore, Pharaoh should find an intelligent and wise man and put him in charge of the entire land of Egypt.

Genesis 41:33, CSB: "So now, let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and set him over the land of Egypt.

What does Genesis 41:33 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In the ancient world, rulers were often treated as deities. Even when the king was not considered an actual god, those around him had to maintain a level of reverence and respect. One would expect advice to come only from those specifically appointed by the ruler, and only when requested. In this verse, however, the king of Egypt—Pharaoh—is receiving advice, unrequested, from a literal slave: Joseph.

Joseph was summoned to interpret dreams (Genesis 41:14–15). He has done so, but not before correcting the Pharaoh by indicating that God is the one with the required knowledge (Genesis 41:16). His interpretation was complete when he explained the impending years of prosperity and starvation (Genesis 41:28–32). And yet, Joseph now continues, presuming to tell the master of all Egypt how he should govern his own nation. If Joseph is afraid as he speaks these words, no indication is given. He likely recognizes this as a unique position, provided by God, and he intends to use his influence for the greatest good.

The advice itself is bold, as well. Pharaoh is, already, ruling over all of Egypt himself. Joseph's suggestion to select a wise and discerning man to manage the coming crisis could be seen as a suggestion that Pharaoh was not up to the task (Genesis 41:34–36). Fortunately for Joseph, the king and his advisors respond well (Genesis 41:37).