Genesis 41:4

ESV And the ugly, thin cows ate up the seven attractive, plump cows. And Pharaoh awoke.
NIV And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.
NASB Then the ugly and thin cows ate the seven fine-looking and fat cows. Then Pharaoh awoke.
CSB The sickly, thin cows ate the healthy, well-fed cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.
NLT Then the scrawny, thin cows ate the seven healthy, fat cows! At this point in the dream, Pharaoh woke up.
KJV And the ill favored and leanfleshed kine did eat up the seven well favored and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke.
NKJV And the ugly and gaunt cows ate up the seven fine looking and fat cows. So Pharaoh awoke.

What does Genesis 41:4 mean?

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).
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