Genesis 40: Joseph Interprets Two Dreams Correctly 

baked goods bread assortment whole wheat white wallah baguette jelly cream

Hebrew-English Text

I. Summary

Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker are sent to prison, where they each have a dream. Joseph interprets their dreams, telling the cupbearer he will be restored to his position in three days and telling the baker he will be hanged in three days. Three days later, Pharaoh has a birthday party and does exactly as Joseph predicted.

II. Photo

The baker has a dream: “In the uppermost basket were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh and the birds were eating it out of the basket above my head.” (v. 17)

III. Outline

1-19. Joseph interprets two dreams

1-4. Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker are sent to prison and placed under Joseph’s command

5. The two have dreams on the same night

6-8. Joseph offers to interpret the dreams in the name of God

9-11. The cupbearer’s dream: pressing wine for Pharaoh from a three branched vine

12-13. Joseph’s interpretation: in three days the cupbearer will be returned to his position

14-15. Joseph asks the cupbearer to mention him to Pharaoh and states his innocence

16-17. The baker’s dream: three baskets of bread on his head for Pharaoh with a bird eating the contents of the top

18-19. Joseph’s interpretation: in three days Pharaoh will hang the baker and the birds will eat his flesh

20-23. Joseph’s predictions come true

20. Pharaoh hosts a birthday party three days later and summons the cupbearer and baker

21. The cupbearer is restored to his position

22. The baker is hanged

23. The cupbearer forgets to mention Joseph to Pharaoh

IV. Select Verses

7-8: He asked Pharaoh’s courtiers, who were with him in custody in his master’s house, saying, “Why do you appear downcast today?” And they said to him, “We had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.” So Joseph said to them, “Surely God can interpret! Tell me [your dreams].”

9-13: Then the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph. He said to him, “In my dream, there was a vine in front of me. On the vine were three branches. It had barely budded, when out came its blossoms and its clusters ripened into grapes. Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.” Joseph said to him, “This is its interpretation: The three branches are three days. In three days Pharaoh will pardon you and restore you to your post; you will place Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, as was your custom formerly when you were his cupbearer.

14-15: But think of me when all is well with you again, and do me the kindness of mentioning me to Pharaoh, so as to free me from this place.  For in truth, I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews; nor have I done anything here that they should have put me in the dungeon.”

19: In three days Pharaoh will lift off your head and impale you upon a pole; and the birds will pick off your flesh.”

20-22: On the third day — his birthday — Pharaoh made a banquet for all his officials, and he singled out his chief cupbearer and his chief baker from among his officials. He restored the chief cupbearer to his cupbearing, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand; but the chief baker he impaled — just as Joseph had interpreted to them.

23: Yet the chief cupbearer did not think of Joseph; he forgot him.

V. Comment

No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)

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