Joseph Interprets a Dream
40 Now some time later, the cupbearer (butler) and the baker for the king of Egypt offended their lord, Egypt’s king. 2 Pharaoh ([a]Sesostris II) was extremely angry with his two officials, the chief of the cupbearers and the chief of the bakers. 3 He put them in confinement in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was confined. 4 The captain of the guard put Joseph in charge of them, and he served them; and they continued to be in custody for some time. 5 Then the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison, both dreamed a dream in the same night, each man with his [own significant] dream and each dream with its [personal] interpretation. 6 When Joseph came to them in the morning and looked at them, [he saw that] they were sad and depressed. 7 So he asked Pharaoh’s officials who were in confinement with him in his master’s house, “Why do you look so down-hearted today?” 8 And they said to him, “We have [each] dreamed [distinct] dreams and there is no one to interpret them.” So Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell me [your dreams].”
9 So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, “In my dream there was a grapevine in front of me; 10 and on the vine were three branches. Then as soon as it budded, its blossoms burst open, and its clusters produced ripe grapes [in rapid succession]. 11 Now Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes and squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup; then I placed the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.” 12 Then Joseph said to him, “This is the interpretation of it: the three branches represent three days; 13 within three more days Pharaoh will lift up your head (present you in public) and restore you to your position; and you will [again] put Pharaoh’s cup into his hand just as [you did] when you were his cupbearer. 14 Only think of me when it goes well with you, and please show me kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh and get me out of this house. 15 For in fact I was [b]taken (stolen) from the land of the Hebrews by [unlawful] force, and even here I have done nothing for which they should put me in the dungeon.”
16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation [of the dream] was good, he said to Joseph, “I also dreamed, and [in my dream] there were three cake baskets on my head; 17 and in the top basket there were some of all sorts of baked food for Pharaoh, but the birds [of prey] were eating [these foods] out of the basket on my head.” 18 Joseph answered, “This is the interpretation of it: the three baskets represent three days; 19 within three more days Pharaoh will [c]lift up your head and will hang you on a tree (gallows, pole), and [you will not so much as be given a burial, but] the birds will eat your flesh.”
20 Now on the third day, [which was] the Pharaoh’s birthday, he [released the two men from prison and] made a feast for all his servants; and he lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker [that is, presented them in public] among his servants. 21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his office, and the cupbearer [once again] put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand; 22 but Pharaoh hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had interpreted [the meaning of the dreams] to them. 23 Yet [even after all that] the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot [all about] him.
- Genesis 40:2 Also called Senusret II, 1894-1878 b.c.
- Genesis 40:15 The word here is much less personal than “kidnap.” Joseph was considered a “thing”—not a person.
- Genesis 40:19 Notice the totally different usage of the words “lift up your head.” In v 13, it is used idiomatically as “present you in public,” but in v 19, it is used literally, “lift your head up off of your body.”