Joseph interprets the dreams of Pharaoh’s household (Gen 40:1-40:23)

“Some time after this, the cupbearer of the king of Egypt and his baker offended their lord the king of Egypt.  Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the cupbearer and the chief baker, and he put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prison where Joseph was confined.  The captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he waited on them.  They continued for some time in custody.”

The cupbearer and the baker for the king offended the king and both were sent to the same prison where Joseph was.  Joseph was then in charge of them and took care of them because the jailer liked him.

“One night they both had dreams, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison, each his own dream, and each dream with its own meaning.  When Joseph came to them in the morning and saw them, he saw that they were troubled.  So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in custody in his master’s house, ‘Why are your faces downcast today?’  They said to him, ‘We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them. Joseph said to them, ‘Do not interpretations belong to God?  Please, tell them to me.’”

These two prisoners had separate dreams that they were troubled about them, since they had no one to interpret their dreams.  Joseph asked to interpret their dreams since he said that only God can interpret dreams.  However, he believes that he is a messenger of God.

“So the cupbearer told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, ‘In my dream there was a vine before me, and on the vine there were three branches.  As soon as it budded, its blossoms came out and the clusters ripened into grapes.  Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand.  I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.’ Then Joseph said to him, ‘This is its interpretation.  The three branches are three days.  Within three days, Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office.  You shall place Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer.  But remember me, when it is well with you.  Please do me the kindness to make mention of me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this place.  For in fact, I was stolen out of the land of the Hebrews.  Here also I have done nothing that they should have put me into the dungeon.’”

The cupbearer told his dream about the vine with three branches that blossomed and ripened into grapes. Joseph said that in three days, Pharaoh would restore him to his position as the Pharaoh’s cupbearer.  Joseph also asked him to speak to Pharaoh about himself, because he had done nothing to deserve his imprisonment.

“When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was favorable, he said to Joseph, ‘I also had a dream. There were three cake baskets on my head, and in the uppermost basket there were all sorts of baked food for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating it out of the basket on my head.’ Joseph answered, ‘This is its interpretation. The three baskets are three days.  Within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head from you!   He will hang you on a pole.  The birds will eat the flesh from you.’”

The chief baker liked that interpretation about the cupbearer so he told Joseph about his dream.  There were three baskets with cake on his head, but the birds ate out of the basket on his head. Joseph said that in three days, he would be released but he would be hung on a pole so that the birds would eat his flesh.

“On the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, he made a feast for all his servants, and lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants.  He restored the chief cupbearer to his cup bearing, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.  But he hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had interpreted to them.  Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.”

The third day was Pharaoh’s birthday. He made a feast for all his servants and released the two men. The cupbearer took his place with Pharaoh but the baker was hung.  However, the cupbearer did not remember Joseph’s wishes. Joseph the dreamer was vindicated again.

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