Interpreter of Dreams
1Now it was after these things that the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their master, the king of Egypt.
2Pharaoh was angry with his two officials, with the chief of the cupbearers and with the chief of the bakers.
3So he put them in custody of the house of the commander of the bodyguards—in the prison, the place where Joseph was confined.
4The commander of the bodyguards assigned Joseph to be with them and served them as their personal servant. They were in custody for some time.
5Then the two of them each dreamed a dream on the same night. The dream of each man—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison—each had its own interpretation.
6When Joseph came to them in the morning, he observed them, and there they were, looking miserable.
7So he asked Pharaoh’s officials who were with him in the custody of the house of his master saying, “Why are your faces so sad today?”
8They said to him, “We dreamed a dream and there is no one to interpret it.” Then Joseph said to them, “Don’t interpretations belong to God? Please tell me.”
9So the chief of the cupbearers told his dream to Joseph, saying to him, “In my dream, suddenly, there was a vine in front of me.
10On the vine were three branches, and as it was budding, its blossoms came out, its clusters ripened into grapes.
11Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand and I took the grapes, pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup and put the cup in Pharaoh’s palm.”
12“This is its interpretation,” Joseph said to him. “The three branches: they are three days.
13In another three days, Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position. Then you’ll put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand just as you used to do before when you were his cupbearer.
14But if you remember me, that I was with you, when it goes well with you, please show me kindness and mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this house.
15For I was forcibly kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing at all that they should put me in this pit.”
16When the chief of the bakers saw that the interpretation was good, he said to Joseph, “I also was in my dream. Expectantly, there were three baskets of white bread on my head.
17In the top basket was food for Pharaoh—all kinds of baked goods. But the birds were eating them from the basket on my head.”
18Then Joseph answered and said, “This is its interpretation. The three baskets: they are three days.
19In another three days Pharaoh will lift up your head—off of you—and will hang you on a tree. Then the birds will eat your flesh off of you.”
20Then it happened on the third day—Pharaoh’s birthday—that he held a banquet for all his servants. He lifted up the head of the chief of the cupbearers and the head of the chief of the bakers among his servants.
21He restored the chief of the cupbearers as his cupbearer, and he put the cup on the palm of Pharaoh’s hand.
22But the chief of the bakers he hung. It was just as Joseph had interpreted for them.
23Yet the chief of the cupbearers did not remember Joseph—indeed, he forgot him.
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The Cupbearer and the Baker and Their Dreams
1Some time later, # 40:1 Eleven years had passed since the time Joseph was sold into slavery. He was about twenty-eight at this time. both Pharaoh’s chief steward # 40:1 Or “cupbearer” (lit. “drink-giver”). He was the king’s trusted official and had a position to influence Pharaoh. and chief baker deeply offended their master, the king of Egypt. # 40:1 Jewish tradition states that a fly had fallen into Pharaoh’s cup of wine, and a pebble was found in his bread, thus causing this “offense.” See Midrash: by Rashi. 2Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief steward and the chief baker, 3so he incarcerated them in the palace of Potiphar, the captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was bound. 4The captain of the guard placed them under Joseph’s charge, and they remained in custody for some time. # 40:4 Jesus was falsely accused, maligned, and crucified between two thieves. At Calvary, the one thief was released (to enter paradise), and the other killed. So it was with the two men imprisoned with Joseph, three days after they were released! Christ was rejected by his brothers (see John 7:5), sold by one of his own (see Matt. 26:14–15), and eventually cast into the prison of death (see 1 Peter 3:18–19). Psalm 105:18 gives us additional information about Joseph’s time in prison: “His feet were bruised by strong shackles and his soul was held by iron.” The last phrase can be translated “his soul entered into iron.” The inner strength of loving and serving in painful circumstances made Joseph’s soul as strong as iron. He learned to serve and to rule over himself first, before God released him to rule over others.
5Then one night, they both dreamed—the steward and the baker, officials of the king of Egypt. They each had a prophetic dream with different interpretations.
6When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw they looked miserable, 7so he asked Pharaoh’s two officials who were under his custody, “What’s wrong? Why the sad faces?”
8“We had dreams last night,” they answered, “and we have no one to interpret them.”
And Joseph said to them, “God can interpret your dreams! Please, tell them to me.”
9-10So the chief steward shared his dream with Joseph first. He said, “In my dream, I saw a vine with three branches in front of me. I watched as it budded, then immediately it blossomed, and its clusters ripened into grapes. 11I was holding Pharaoh’s cup, so I took the grapes, squeezed them into his cup, and handed the cup to the king.”
12Joseph said to him, “God has given me the interpretation of your dream: The three branches are three days. 13In three days, Pharaoh will pardon you and restore you to your post. You will once again hand Pharaoh’s cup to him as you used to do as his steward. 14When things start to go well for you, remember me, and please be kind and mention me to Pharaoh so that he might release me from here. # 40:14 Joseph could prophesy the release of another, but not his own. Often, prophetic gifts and words of revelation over other people simply do not come for the prophet. They are gifts to be used to bless others, not for self-consumption. We need others to come with a word for our need. This keeps us dependent not only upon God but also upon others. 15For I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and I have done nothing here to deserve being thrown into this dungeon.” # 40:15 Joseph felt forgotten. He had been forgotten a long, long time. He became a slave when he was seventeen years old, and soon afterward, Potiphar cast him into prison. Not until he was thirty did Pharaoh release him from prison. Thirteen years is a long time to be forgotten. His faith in God and the fulfillment of his dreams kept Joseph faithfully waiting for his day of promotion. Perhaps, like Joseph, you have been let down by others who promised to be a help to you but did not follow through on their pledge. Don’t despair, for God will never forget the plans he has for his children (see Jer. 29:11–13). Even if others let us down, God is always faithful and will bring his plans to pass at the appointed time.
16When the chief baker saw how favorably Joseph interpreted the dream, he said to him, “Let me tell you my dream. I saw three wicker breadbaskets stacked on my head one above the other. 17In the top basket, I saw all kinds of bread and pastries for Pharaoh to enjoy, but the birds came and ate out of the basket above my head.”
18Joseph said, “God has given me the interpretation of your dream: The three baskets are three days. 19In three days, Pharaoh will behead you and impale you on a pole, and birds will eat the flesh off your corpse.”
20Three days later, it was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he threw a huge feast for all his household. He singled out among his servants the chief steward and the chief baker. 21He pardoned the chief steward and restored him to his post, and the steward handed Pharaoh his drink. 22But he had the chief baker beheaded and impaled on a pole. So, Joseph had accurately interpreted both their dreams, 23but the chief steward completely forgot about Joseph and never remembered him.
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