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Genesis 41

  1. And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river. ב וְהִנֵּה מִן-הַיְאֹר, עֹלֹת שֶׁבַע פָּרוֹת, יְפוֹת מַרְאֶה, וּבְרִיאֹת בָּשָׂר; וַתִּרְעֶינָה, בָּאָחוּ. 2 And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, well-favoured and fat-fleshed; and they fed in the reed-grass. ג וְהִנֵּה שֶׁבַע פָּרוֹת אֲחֵרוֹת, עֹלוֹת אַחֲרֵיהֶן מִן-הַיְאֹר, רָעוֹת מַרְאֶה, וְדַקּוֹת בָּשָׂר; וַתַּעֲמֹדְנָה אֵצֶל הַפָּרוֹת, עַל-שְׂפַת הַיְאֹר. 3 And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill favoured and lean-fleshed; and stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river. ד וַתֹּאכַלְנָה הַפָּרוֹת, רָעוֹת הַמַּרְאֶה וְדַקֹּת הַבָּשָׂר, אֵת שֶׁבַע הַפָּרוֹת, יְפֹת הַמַּרְאֶה וְהַבְּרִיאֹת; וַיִּיקַץ, פַּרְעֹה. 4 And the ill-favoured and lean-fleshed kine did eat up the seven well-favoured and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke. ה וַיִּישָׁן, וַיַּחֲלֹם שֵׁנִית; וְהִנֵּה שֶׁבַע שִׁבֳּלִים, עֹלוֹת בְּקָנֶה אֶחָד--בְּרִיאוֹת וְטֹבוֹת. 5 And he slept and dreamed a second time: and, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good. ו וְהִנֵּה שֶׁבַע שִׁבֳּלִים, דַּקּוֹת וּשְׁדוּפֹת קָדִים--צֹמְחוֹת, אַחֲרֵיהֶן. 6 And, behold, seven ears, thin and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them. ז וַתִּבְלַעְנָה, הַשִּׁבֳּלִים הַדַּקּוֹת, אֵת שֶׁבַע הַשִּׁבֳּלִים, הַבְּרִיאוֹת וְהַמְּלֵאוֹת; וַיִּיקַץ פַּרְעֹה, וְהִנֵּה חֲלוֹם. 7 And the thin ears swallowed up the seven rank and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream. ח וַיְהִי בַבֹּקֶר, וַתִּפָּעֶם רוּחוֹ, וַיִּשְׁלַח וַיִּקְרָא אֶת-כָּל-חַרְטֻמֵּי מִצְרַיִם, וְאֶת-כָּל-חֲכָמֶיהָ; וַיְסַפֵּר פַּרְעֹה לָהֶם אֶת-חֲלֹמוֹ, וְאֵין-פּוֹתֵר אוֹתָם לְפַרְעֹה. 8 And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof; and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh.

It appears that Pharaoh is having a prophetic dream from God. At least, that's what Joseph says is happening.

כח הוּא הַדָּבָר, אֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתִּי אֶל-פַּרְעֹה: אֲשֶׁר הָאֱלֹהִים עֹשֶׂה, הֶרְאָה אֶת-פַּרְעֹה. 28 That is the thing which I spoke unto Pharaoh: what God is about to do He hath shown unto Pharaoh.

So does this make Pharaoh a prophet? If you tell me no because he is unable to interpret his own dream, then that would mean that Joseph wasn't a prophet when he had his first dream. Because he seems unable to interpret it and resorts to telling his family who try and interpret it.

Genesis 37

ה וַיַּחֲלֹם יוֹסֵף חֲלוֹם, וַיַּגֵּד לְאֶחָיו; וַיּוֹסִפוּ עוֹד, שְׂנֹא אֹתוֹ. 5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brethren; and they hated him yet the more. ו וַיֹּאמֶר, אֲלֵיהֶם: שִׁמְעוּ-נָא, הַחֲלוֹם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר חָלָמְתִּי. 6 And he said unto them: 'Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: ז וְהִנֵּה אֲנַחְנוּ מְאַלְּמִים אֲלֻמִּים, בְּתוֹךְ הַשָּׂדֶה, וְהִנֵּה קָמָה אֲלֻמָּתִי, וְגַם-נִצָּבָה; וְהִנֵּה תְסֻבֶּינָה אֲלֻמֹּתֵיכֶם, וַתִּשְׁתַּחֲוֶיןָ לַאֲלֻמָּתִי. 7 for, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves came round about, and bowed down to my sheaf.' ח וַיֹּאמְרוּ לוֹ, אֶחָיו, הֲמָלֹךְ תִּמְלֹךְ עָלֵינוּ, אִם-מָשׁוֹל תִּמְשֹׁל בָּנוּ; וַיּוֹסִפוּ עוֹד שְׂנֹא אֹתוֹ, עַל-חֲלֹמֹתָיו וְעַל-דְּבָרָיו. 8 And his brethren said to him: 'Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us?' And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words. ט וַיַּחֲלֹם עוֹד חֲלוֹם אַחֵר, וַיְסַפֵּר אֹתוֹ לְאֶחָיו; וַיֹּאמֶר, הִנֵּה חָלַמְתִּי חֲלוֹם עוֹד, וְהִנֵּה הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וְהַיָּרֵחַ וְאַחַד עָשָׂר כּוֹכָבִים, מִשְׁתַּחֲוִים לִי. 9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it to his brethren, and said: 'Behold, I have dreamed yet a dream: and, behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars bowed down to me.' י וַיְסַפֵּר אֶל-אָבִיו, וְאֶל-אֶחָיו, וַיִּגְעַר-בּוֹ אָבִיו, וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ מָה הַחֲלוֹם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר חָלָמְתָּ: הֲבוֹא נָבוֹא, אֲנִי וְאִמְּךָ וְאַחֶיךָ, לְהִשְׁתַּחֲו‍ֹת לְךָ, אָרְצָה. 10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren; and his father rebuked him, and said unto him: 'What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down to thee to the earth?'

So was Pharaoh a prophet?

  • See judaism.stackexchange.com/q/41006 – msh210 Dec 14 '15 at 22:20
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    Why do you think Yosef didn't know the meaning of his own dreams when he told them to his family? I don't see anything there that he's asking them to interpret. – Monica Cellio Dec 14 '15 at 22:22
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    This sounds like a word game. For some sense of the word "prophet" we may be able to reasonably construe it as applying to Pharaoh. But that's not the same sense of the word we use when referring to the righteous group of God's messengers which is often spoken highly of in traditional Jewish literature, ie the "Neviim". – Double AA Dec 14 '15 at 22:31
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    Would you please define prophet? Or write what criteria you are looking for in an answer? – LN6595 Dec 15 '15 at 20:33
5

Pharaoh is not the first one in the Torah to get a dream. Avimelech and Lavan both had clear. lucid dreams in which it was a clear message from God to them. Nevertheless they aren't considered prophets for that.

But in Pharaoh's case it was much less than that. In the Talmud we find a concept of the Baal Hachalomos, which is a sort-of angel or demon who gives dreams, and can't even be relied upon as giving the whole truth.

Prophecy is when God speaks with someone and sends him to speak in His name. Clairvoyance, getting signs or even having premonitions and lucid dreams are not prophecy.

  • So when did Yosef become a prophet? – Aaron Dec 14 '15 at 18:02
  • @Aaron He is not in this list. – HaLeiVi Dec 14 '15 at 18:31
  • Fair enough. +1 for you – Aaron Dec 14 '15 at 18:36
  • But i'm not accepting your answer because according to this source he was called a prophet: Joseph is extolled by the Rabbis for being well versed in the Torah, for being a prophet, and for supporting his brothers (Tan., Wayesheb, 20) jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/8803-joseph – Aaron Dec 14 '15 at 18:38
  • The Tanchuma being referenced there says that Yosef knew what Pharaoh dreamt although Pharaoh repeated it inaccurately. – HaLeiVi Dec 14 '15 at 18:48

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