Joseph Interprets Two Prisoners Dreams

A number of years ago, the terrible earthquake that shook Japan was called “the greatest disaster in recorded time.” Every building in Yokohama was destroyed; three-fourths of Tokyo burned. Nearly three hundred thousand were dead, and two-and-a-half million were lost an … More


We do not know for sure how old Joseph was when he entered prison. He was eighteen when he was sold to Potiphar and it is estimated that he would have spent 10 long years behind prison walls where the jailer came to appreciate and trust him. However, this is the first time Joseph displays unbelief when he put his trust in what man can do instead of depending on what God can do by getting impatient and asking the cupbearer to speak a good word for him. 

Joseph interprets the  dreams of the two servants of Pharaoh. The chief butler said that in his dream he saw a grape vine  and there were three branches on it (v. 9). It seemed to have buds and blossoms and then ripe grapes (v. 10). He took the grapes and squeezed the juice into the king’s cup and gave it to him (v. 11). Joseph tells him that the three branches meant that within three days Pharaoh would  free him and restore him to his old job. He then asked the butler to mention him to Pharaoh and remind him how he had done nothing wrong and should be released from prison (vv 12-15). 

The chief baker said that in his dream he saw himself carrying three white baskets on his head. The top basket was filled with all kinds of baked things for the king. But suddenly some birds flew down and ate the food (vv. 16-17). Joseph tells him that in three days Pharaoh will send for him, that he will be hanged on a tree, and the birds will come and eat of his flesh (vv. 18-19). Three days later Pharaoh had a birthday and he sent to the prison for his two servants. Their dreams came true just as Joseph had said. The chief baker was hanged and the chief butler again served the king as he had done before. However, the butler forgot all about mentioning Joseph to the king (vv. 20-23).


Have you ever promised to do something for someone, who maybe has done a favor for you, and then you forgot to do it? It is important that I do what I promise if it is within my power to do so.    


Genesis 40:9-23 (English Standard Version)

So the chief 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 shot forth, and the clusters ripened into grapes. Pharaoh's cup was in my hand, and 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. In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office, and you shall place Pharaoh's cup in his hand as formerly, when you were his cupbearer. Only remember me, when it is well with you, and please do me the kindness to mention me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house. For I was indeed stolen out of the land of the Hebrews, and here also I have done nothing that they should put me into the pit." 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." And Joseph answered and said, "This is its interpretation: the three baskets are three days. In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head--from you!-- and hang you on a tree. And the birds will eat the flesh from you." 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 position, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh's hand. But he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.

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