Genesis Chapter 40
Verse 01. And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt.
Key Phrase: And it came to pass after these things; So a period of time has passed again. Some believe it to be from 4 to 5 years. It also is a reference to all the things Joseph has endured. Key Phrase: that the butler of the king of Egypt: So in the Hebrew language butler means “one who one who gives to drink, cupbearer”. This person would have been in charge of not just the wine the Egyptian king would have drank but also the vineyards and the process of making the wine. Key Phrase: and his baker; This person would have been in charge of not just the bread but all of the food that was prepared for the kings table. Again the word baker would be like our word Chief Chef today. Note: The butler and baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt; committed some fault, at least were accused of one, which raised his displeasure at them. The Targum of Jonathan says, that they consulted to put poison into his drink and food; which, it is not improbable, considering their business and office, that they might be charged with.
Verse 02. And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers.
Key Phrase: And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers; Pharaoh was not just mad he was accusatory and very angry at these two individuals. Key Phrase: against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers; There were several butlers and bakers that belonged unto him, who were employed in providing wine and food for him. Pharaoh had assigned here one of each who was over the rest. Note: It was their business was to see that those under them did their work well. When they were faulty the principal officers were answerable for it. If in this case they had not been guilty of anything criminal themselves personally. All it would take is if they had neglected to look after those that were under them. So they were responsible which and drew upon them the wrath and resentment of their lord and sovereign.
Verse 03. And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound.
Key Phrase; And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard; Who is as we generally know to be Potiphar, since this was the office as we see in Genesis 39:1. Key Phrase: into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound; That is, where he had been bound, and where he was still a prisoner, though not chained and or in close confinement that he had been in.
Verse 04. And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward.
Key Phrase: And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them; Committed them to his care and custody, he being very probably recommended to him by the keeper of the prison for his prudence and fidelity. Key Phrase: and he served them; He ministered unto them and brought them everything they needed or could have in prison.
Key Phrase: and they continued a season in ward; Some believe it was only a few "days"; And others believe it was some certain days or a select time period, many days, Even a year, as Jarchi and Ben Gersom interpret it, and which is sometimes the use of the word. Note: Again the term or word used “a season”. The ancient Egyptian calendar - a civil calendar - was a solar calendar with a 365-day year. The year consisted of three seasons of 120 days each, plus an intercalary month of five epagomenal days treated as outside of the year proper. Each season was divided into four months of 30 days.
Verse 05. And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison.
Key Phrase; And they dreamed a dream both of them; Not one and the same dream. Key Phrase: each man his dream in one night; Which made it the more remarkable and the more impressed on their minds. Concluding from that there must be something of importance in their dreams. Key Phrase: each man according to the interpretation of his dream; They dreamed each what was suitable to his office and character. Which caused them to wonder what should hereafter befall them. The interpretation of them by Joseph afterwards, and the events showed that it was not a vain idle dream, but divine and certain. Note: The butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison. This is added for explanation's sake. Thus showing who were the persons spoken of that dreamed the dreams.
Verse 06. And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and, behold, they were sad.
Key Phrase: And Joseph came in unto them in the morning; For though Joseph and they were in the same prison, yet not in the same ward. Aben Ezra thinks that Joseph lodged in the dungeon in the night and was let out in the morning to wait on these prisoners. The great interest he had in the keeper of the prison, and the favor shown him by the captain of the guard, in putting such prisoners under his care, will easily make one conclude, that Joseph now had a better lodging than that. Note: Though it had been his case, he was now provided with a better apartment in the prison. So when he arose in the morning, like a careful and faithful servant, he came to the ward where the prisoners under his care were, to see that they were safe and what they wanted or needed of anything. Key Phrase; and looked upon them, and, behold, they were sad; They looked sorrowful, dejected, and uneasy.
Verse 07. And he asked Pharaoh's officers that were with him in the ward of his lord's house, saying, Wherefore look ye so sadly to day?
Key Phase: And he asked Pharaoh's officers that were with him; The chief butler and baker that were committed to his care, and with whom he now was: Key Phrase: in the ward of the lord's house; This confirms what is before observed that the captain of the guard that charged Joseph with them was Potiphar his master. though indeed the keeper of the prison that was under Potiphar, the captain of the guard, might be called Joseph's lord or master. But the term used “the lord’s house” could not be called his only Potiphar home would be thus called. Key Phrase: saying, wherefore look ye so sadly today?; As they were officers, who had been in lucrative places, they lived well and merrily, and expected very probably they should be released in a short time, nothing appearing against them. Yet now there was a strange change in them, which was very visible to Joseph. For which he expresses a concern, being of a kind, tender, and he puts to them this question out of real concern.
Verse 08. And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.
Key Phrase: And they said unto him, we have dreamed a dream; Just to clarify it was each of them that responded. Key Phrase: and there is no interpreter of it; In the place in which they were, the prison. Otherwise there were persons enough in the land that pretended to or believed they could interpret dreams. But they could not come to them being in prison as such. Key Phrase: and Joseph said unto them, do not interpretations belong to God?; That is are not your dreams Gods and belong to Him and to him only, Note: Joseph is stating that the true God whom he worshipped was the originator for the dreams themselves. Dreams are of importance and predict things to come so they are of God. No one can foretell future events but He and such to whom he imparts the gift of Prophecy. So none can interpret dreams with any certainty but God himself and those to whom he gives the faculty of interpretation of them; Note: Joseph said this to take their minds from the magicians and wise men and interpreters of dreams among the Egyptians, these officers were desirous of and wished they had them with them to interpret their dreams to them. Key Phrase: tell me them, I pray you; Or "now" directly, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan; signifying, that he would immediately interpret them to them; In no doubt Joseph said this under a divine impulse.
Verse 09. And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me;
Key Phase; And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph; He listened to what Joseph said, and paid a regard to it. He began to think he might be able to interpret his dream, and therefore was forward, the first to tell him it at once. Whereas the chief baker did not seem disposed to do it, until he observed the good interpretation given of the butler's dream. Key Phase; and said unto him, in my dream, behold, a vine was before me; It appeared to him in his dream, as if a vine sprung up at once, and stood before him. Which was very suitable to his office as a butler, wine being the fruit of the vine, which he provided for the king his master and presented to him at his table.
Verse 10. And in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes:
Key Phrase: And in the vine were three branches; Which shot out from the root or body of it. Key Phrase: and it was as though it budded; the branches seemed to sprout out of it. Key Phrase: and her blossoms shot forth; It matured and the flowers of the vine appeared. Key Phrase: and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes; All which is agreeably to the order of nature observed. From the first putting forth of the vine, to its producing ripe fruit. Which in this dream immediately followed one another.
Verse 11. And Pharaoh's cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand.Key Phrase: And Pharaoh's cup was in his hand; So it seemed to him in his dream as it often had been when in his office.
Key Phrase: and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup; That the grapes were first pressed into another vessel so it made wine of and then poured into Pharaoh's cup.
Verse 12. And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days:
Verse 13. Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh's cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler.
Key Phrase: Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head; The Targum of Jonathan adds, with glory; and the sense is, either that Pharaoh would raise him up from the low estate in which he now was, to the same exalted station in which he had been before. Note: This phrase is used of taking the sum of persons, or the number of them, and is so rendered in Exodus 30:12; the allusion is thought to be to a custom used by great personages, to have the names of their servants called over on a certain day, as Pharaoh perhaps used to do on his birthday. Pharaoh would pull out of the list or put into it whom He pleased, and pardoned or punished such as had offended. This sense is the rather inclined to, because Pharaoh is said to lift up the head of both the butler and the baker. Key Phase; and restore thee unto thy place; To his office in ministering to Pharaoh as his cup bearer. Key Phrase: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh's cup into his hand; In the former manner when you were his butler. Which was signified in the dream, by squeezing the grapes into Pharaoh's cup he had in his hand and gave unto him.
Verse 14. But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house.
Key Phrase: But think on me, when it shall be well with thee; He desires no reward for the interpretation of his dream, only that he would remember him in adversity. When he should be in prosperity in Pharaoh's court and speak a good word for him. This which was the least he could do. Key Phrase: and show kindness, I pray thee, unto me; He pleads no merit for what he had done in interpreting his dream, but puts the good office he desires him to do for him upon the foot of kindness to a man in distress and asks it as a favor by way of entreaty and request: Key Phrase: and make mention of me and bring me out of this house; The prison in which he was. Though he had much favor shown him and had more liberty granted him than other prisoners had. Yet a prisoner he was and a prison he dwelt in so deliverance from it was desirable. Freedom from it could be had and this was a likely way to obtain it. If the butler would speak a good word for him to Pharaoh, which he would have an opportunity to do, being often in his presence and frequently when cheerful.
Verse 15. For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.
Key Phrase: For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews; Not the whole land of Canaan so called. But either from the Hebrews sojourning in it or from its being given unto them by God. Neither of which could be a reason why Joseph when talking with an Egyptian should give it this name. Which, it must be supposed was known to him. That part of the land of Canaan where the Hebrews had sojourned for three generations, where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had lived even at or near Hebron. And being persons of great note, and having done great exploits and their names were well known in the country where they lived, particularly among the Egyptians. Note: Joseph does not expose the sin of his brethren in selling him to the Ishmaelites, by whom he was brought into Egypt and sold there. Only relates that he was stolen out of his native country and being taken from it without his own or his father's consent. Key Phrase: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon; Since he had been in the land of Egypt, he had not been guilty of any criminal action wherefore he should be put into a prison and especially into a dungeon. He makes no mention of the wickedness of his mistress and of her false accusation of him. Nor of the injustice of his master in putting him into prison without hearing him. Joseph wanted the butler to not think he was some loose fellow that was committed to prison for some capital crime. It would have, been a disgrace to him the butler to have spoken for him under other circumstances.
Verse 16. When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three white baskets on my head. Key Phrase: When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good; Meaning not that it was right and just, though it was. But that it was agreeable and pleasing and it portended good in the event. Therefore. hoped a like interpretation would be given of his dream and this encouraged him to tell it. Which perhaps otherwise he would not have done or even considered. Key Phrase; he said unto Joseph, I also was in a dream; Or had a dream and in it things were represented to his mind as follows. Key Phrase: and, behold, I had three white baskets on my head; Which were made of wicker and of rods that had the bark pulled off so were white. The Targum of Jonathan suggests that these were baskets of most pure bread. The Targum of Jerusalem suggests that it was baskets of hot bread. So this dream was very agreeable to his office and business as a baker. Verse 17. And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head. Key Phrase: And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh; All sorts of pastry, as tarts, pies, &c. Josephus says, two of the baskets were full of bread, and the third had various sorts of food such as is usually, prepared for kings. Key Phrase: and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head; All three baskets were upon his head, but this seems to be the uppermost, which the birds could more easily come at; though if the baskets were full of holes, they might through them peck the bread with their bills. Note: bakemeats or what we call mincemeat pies. What nursery rhyme is from England that talks about the black birds baked into the kings pie. (Sing a Song of Sixpence) Verse 18. And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: The three baskets are three days: Verse 19. Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee. Key Phrase: Yet within three days sha ll Pharaoh lift up thine head from off thee; Pharaoh had ordered for him to be beheaded. As an example of plotting against him. Key Phase: and shall hang thee on a tree; His body after his head was severed from it would be hung up with the head fastened above it. This would be hung upon a gallow’s or gibbet which is a gallows tree. Key Phrase: and the birds shall eat the flesh from off thee; As they usually do if bodies are then hung up and was observed by the people. This was signified by the birds eating the bakemeats out of the uppermost basket when upon his head, As it had seemed to him in his dream. Verse 20. And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. Key Phrase: And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday; The third day from the time the dreams were told, and the interpretation of them given was the birthday of Pharaoh. Now it could have been either the day in which a son of his was born, or in which he himself was born, as Ben Melech observes. Note: It is more probable his birthday since the former could not with proper ceremony be called Pharaoh's birthday. Now it might be either the day of his natural birth or of his political birth, the time of his accession to the throne. Key Phrase: that he made a feast unto all his servants; It was to have his ministers of state, his courtiers, and all in his palace celebrate for him and with him. Key Phrase: and he lifted up the head of his chief butler and of his chief baker, among his servants; That is, among his servants, when their names were called over or an- nouced at this festival that these two were taken notice of. Being charged with crimes their cases were looked into and examined. Their heads or titles were lifted up in a different sense before Pharaoh. They were both taken out of prison though perhaps this lifting of them both may only signify the trial of them, when they were set on high to be seen by the judge and all the court, see 1 Kings 21:9. Verse 21. And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand: Key Phase: And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; Put him into the same office he was in before: Key Phase: and he gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand; Ministered to him in his office the same day, according to his dream and the interpretation of it. The Targum of Jonathan adds this as a reason of his being restored," because he found that he was not in that counsel'' in which it was consulted to poison Pharaoh. Note: This was exactly as Joseph had interpreted it with God’s divine guidance. Verse 22. But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them. Verse 23. Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him. Key Phrase: Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph; To speak of him to Pharaoh, neither on that day in which he was restored and not for a long time after. It seems to be for the space of two years, as seems from the following chapter. Key Phase: but forgot him; He thought no more of him or the favor he had done him in interpreting his dream. Or of the request he made to him and of the promise which he had probably given him. Which was an instance of great ingratitude and is frequently the case and character of courtiers. Who being in high places themselves often neglect others and their petitions to them to do all they can for them.