Gen. 40:1 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. 

Gen. 40:2 And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. 

Gen. 40:3 And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound. 

Gen. 40:4 And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward. 

Gen. 40:5 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. 

Gen. 40:6 And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and, behold, they were sad. 

Gen. 40:7 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? 

Gen. 40:8 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.

One day the King of Egypt, the Pharaoh, became angry with two of his officials—the chief butler and the chief baker.  He sent them to the captain of the guard who put them in the prison under Joseph’s supervision.  After being in custody for quite some time, they each had a dream on the same night; and each dream had a specific meaning.  When Joseph saw them the next morning, he could tell that they were dejected; so he asked them what was making them so sad. They told him that they had both had dreams, but they had no one to interpret them.  Joseph told them that interpretations belonged to God, and then asked them what their dreams were.

This is very intriguing to me.  It just makes me think that:  1) Jacob had really laid a strong foundation for Joseph’s trust in God.  2) Joseph recognized all that God was doing in his life in spite of the fact that he was in prison.  3) Joseph had every confidence that God would provide the interpretation.  One possible reason Joseph was so confident was that God had given him the interpretation of his own dreams as a boy at home, and he was confidently waiting their fulfillment in God’s timing.  Joseph seems to have the simple, confident, unwavering faith that I so desire.

Gen. 40:9 And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me; 

Gen. 40:10 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: 

Gen. 40:11 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. 

Gen. 40:12 And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days: 

Gen. 40:13 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. 

Gen. 40:14 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: 

Gen. 40:15 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.


The chief butler decided to go first.  He related that in his dream that there was a vine in front of him with three branches.  As soon as it budded, it blossomed, and its clusters ripened into grapes.  Pharaoh’s cup was in his hand, and he took the grapes, squeezed them in the cup and gave it to Pharaoh.  Joseph explained that the branches were three days and within three days Pharaoh would restore him to his position.  Joseph then asked the butler to remember him and show him kindness by mentioning him to Pharaoh to get him out of prison.  He told the butler that he had been taken from his home by force and had done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.

Gen. 40:16 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: 

Gen. 40:17 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. 

Gen. 40:18 And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: The three baskets are three days: 

Gen. 40:19 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. 

The baker was pretty eager to tell his dream after hearing the interpretation for the butler.  In his dream there were three baskets of bread on his head.  The top basket was full of baked goods for the Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them out of the basket on his head.  Though the interpretation was not good, Joseph didn’t hesitate.  He told him that the three baskets were three days.  Within three days Pharaoh would lift up his head and hang him on a tree, and the birds would eat his flesh.

Gen. 40:20 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. 

Gen. 40:21 And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand: 

Gen. 40:22 But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them. 

Gen. 40:23 Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.

Three days later it was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he gave a feast for all of his officials.  He lifted up the heads of the chief butler and baker in front of all his officials.  He restored the chief butler to his position and hanged the baker—just as Joseph had said would happen.  But the chief butler did not remember Joseph.

Thought – You would have thought that the butler would have been so grateful and so in awe that he would have shared his story.  Maybe he just wanted to erase the entire prison episode from his brain.  Whatever, I can’t fault him that much.  The times I’m most diligent in my communication with the LORD have always been the times of my biggest need.  It seems like no matter how many times He answers in a wonderful or even miraculous way, as soon as circumstances are “back to normal,” I’m not quite as diligent to share my heart with Him.  It’s a constant struggle to develop and maintain the relationship with the LORD that I wish to have. I say this to my shame.