The British Library, R97/E2039

Joseph was a slave serving prison time in Egypt when he was summoned to interpret the dreams that troubled Pharaoh’s sleep. As depicted in the Golden Haggadah, a 14th-century Jewish book of Passover prayers, Pharaoh dreamed of seven fat cows being swallowed by seven scrawny cows (shown here). Pharaoh also saw seven fat heads of grain being swallowed by seven withered ones. Joseph predicted that seven years of famine would follow seven years of plenty and suggested a strategy for surviving the shortage. As a result, Pharaoh placed him in charge of all Egypt. When Joseph’s brothers, driven by famine, went to Egypt to buy food, they knelt before him, not recognizing him. Joseph saved the Israelite nation by giving his brothers grain. His dreams of everlasting reverence had come true.