Genesis 40

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Read Genesis 40

The Cupbearer and the Baker

Some time later, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their master, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was angry with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was confined. The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he attended them.

After they had been in custody for some time, each of the two men—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were being held in prison—had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own.

When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were dejected. So he asked Pharaoh’s officials who were in custody with him in his master’s house, “Why do you look so sad today?”

“We both had dreams,” they answered, “but there is no one to interpret them.”

Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.”

So the chief cupbearer told Joseph his dream. He said to him, “In my dream I saw a vine in front of me, 10 and on the vine were three branches. As soon as it budded, it blossomed, and its clusters ripened into grapes.11 Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup and put the cup in his hand.”

12 “This is what it means,” Joseph said to him. “The three branches are three days. 13 Within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position, and you will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer. 14 But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. 15 I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews,and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.”

16 When the chief baker saw that Joseph had given a favorable interpretation, he said to Joseph, “I too had a dream: On my head were three baskets of bread. 17 In the top basket were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.”

18 “This is what it means,” Joseph said. “The three baskets are three days.19 Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head and impale your body on a pole. And the birds will eat away your flesh.”

20 Now the third day was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker in the presence of his officials: 21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand— 22 but he impaled the chief baker, just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation.

23 The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.

Go Deeper

Dreams and detours. That could be the title of Joseph’s autobiography. We love a good comeback story, but we don’t want to live the good comeback story. The detours, delays, and disappointments defer our hope at best and develop our doubts at worst. Just when we think we are free to dream again and believe release is coming, life takes a sharp left turn and joy and hope skid to a hard stop. 

Genesis 40 ends with these words: “The chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.” Twice, the narrator of Genesis (Moses) tells us Joseph was forgotten. We are meant to feel the weight of it. The pain of it. Joseph even asks the cupbearer, “When it goes well with you, remember me. Mention me to Pharaoh.” Yet, nothing. No mention of his name. Joseph will spend two more years in prison until he is remembered. 

Feeling forgotten makes us feel invisible. Especially if we spent time listening and caring for someone, if we helped someone, if we ministered to someone while we overlooked our own suffering. Yet, they forget us. How could they forget? 

God knows how we feel. Over and over in Scripture, He speaks of being forgotten by His people. Yet, over and over again, He reminds us He will never leave us or forsake us. He is the God who is an ever-present help to us. He orders our steps and He orders our stops. He’s taking us on a route to bring us to a place He has for us, which is exactly the place He wants us to be. 

Others may forget us, not giving us the time or recognition we want, but God will never leave us, forget us, or forsake us. He will not waste the delays and the detours. He intends to use all experiences and suffering for His glory and the benefit of others. Think about it, God made the dreamer of dreams the interpreter of dreams. Who better than Joseph to understand what could happen as a result of dreams?!

God is working in our waiting. He is with us in our waiting. He has not forgotten us.

  1. What do you learn from Joseph in this passage? 

  2. Is there a Joseph in your life you need to call and thank for caring and ministering to you in a season of pain? What is your plan to thank them and remember them? 

  3. What are you learning about the character of God through reading the book of Genesis?

Did You Know?

Egyptians and Babylonians both placed a high emphasis on the meaning of dreams and considered them to be predictions of what was to come. Joseph’s unique ability from God to interpret dreams would not only be beneficial to him here, but also a couple of years later when Pharoah needed help, which we’ll read about tomorrow. 

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