Genesis 41:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 41:4, NIV: And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.

Genesis 41:4, ESV: And the ugly, thin cows ate up the seven attractive, plump cows. And Pharaoh awoke.

Genesis 41:4, KJV: And the ill favoured and leanfleshed kine did eat up the seven well favoured and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke.

Genesis 41:4, NASB: Then the ugly and thin cows ate the seven fine-looking and fat cows. Then Pharaoh awoke.

Genesis 41:4, NLT: Then the scrawny, thin cows ate the seven healthy, fat cows! At this point in the dream, Pharaoh woke up.

Genesis 41:4, CSB: The sickly, thin cows ate the healthy, well-fed cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.

What does Genesis 41:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This concludes a disturbing dream which appeared to Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt. As he stands by the Nile River, he has seen seven healthy-looking cows come up out of the water, followed by seven sickly-looking cows (Genesis 41:1–3). Now the dream concludes with a startling sight: The thin cows devour the healthy cows right before Pharaoh's eyes. Then he wakes up.

Egyptian culture placed great importance on the meaning of dreams. It's likely Pharaoh immediately assumed this vision was prophetic. Even if he did not, what happens next will make that certain. After falling back asleep, Pharaoh will see another dream, with a similar outcome, involving ears of grain. This will lead him to seek answers. His magicians and scholars will be stumped (Genesis 41:5–8). This quest soon finds Joseph—still languishing in prison (Genesis 40:23)—and his God-given ability to interpret dreams (Genesis 41:9–13).