42 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; 43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. 44 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. 45 And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnath-paaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Poti-pherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.
Pharaoh had declared that Joseph would be second only to him, that he would have power over all of Egypt, to execute things according to his will. And then, to make his declaration more than mere words, Pharaoh began to publish this assignment to all the country.
He did this by dressing Joseph in fine clothes, so he would look the part of the ruler. He put his own ring on Joseph’s hand and had Joseph ride in his second chariot beside him, so that Joseph would be directly associated with Pharaoh. He sent criers before Joseph, so that people would know to reverence him. He gave Joseph a royal woman for his wife, so that he would have legal claim on nobility. He sent Joseph “over all the land of Egypt” so that his name and face would be known.
What a great deal of effort! And frankly it goes to show the imaginary nature of human power. Pharaoh could have verbally granted any status to any person private, but if he did nothing to publicize it afterward, then the person would still have no power. They could go out and try to command others, but without Pharaoh’s nod of approval the order would only be laughed at. Pharaoh’s power was not some actual thing that could be handed over. It was only an idea, and it had to be cultivated in the minds of the people before it would actually start to work.
Contrast that to the power of God, which God sustains by Himself, in Himself, and of Himself. God is God because He requires no other person to pronounce Him God in order to be so. He may enact his will on whomever and whatever He pleases, with no outer approval. His power is self-evident and self-sufficient. Furthermore, whomever God sees fit to bestow His power, His power will be there, whether it is publicized or not. God had declared that Joseph would be a ruler over his brethren. God had seen fit to give Joseph the gift of interpreting dreams. And no man, not even Pharaoh, could ever take those powers and callings away from him.