The seven good cows are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one.
Read Chapter 41
Ambrose of Milan
And yet I judge that this dream was not revealed only to one or two but was set out before all men for this reason: because the seven years of this world that are fat and sleek with worldly plenty are swallowed up by those ages to come in which there will be everlasting rest and the observance of the spiritual law. Among the fathers, that tribe of Ephraim, rich in God, keeps such observance like a good heifer, not taut in the udder of the body but abundant in spiritual milk and grace. God says that he sits upon her beautiful neck, as is written, “Ephraim is a heifer taught to love victory, but I passed over upon her beautiful neck.” Accordingly let not the oil of the sinner anoint our head, and false fruits ought not to delight us; else it may be said also of us, “You have planted wickedness and gathered in its iniquities. You have eaten false fruit because you have trusted in your chariots.” And it does not trouble me that such a one has lean ears and ears destroyed by the wind, because David also was a better man at the time when he was wasting away like a spider, and a sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit. Those people turn out better whom the wicked spirit has tried in this world with severe wrongs.