Genesis 40:1-23 and Genesis 41:1-13. Joseph told the butler, or cupbearer, what his dream meant.
He would be restored to his position as cupbearer for the King.
The cupbearer’s job was to taste any drink that was given to the King to show that it was not poisoned.
Like a lot of people who have made promises, the cupbearer did not keep this one.
Pharaoh’s Two Servants – The Cupbearer and the Head Chef
40:1 Some time later, both the senior security advisor to the king of Egypt and his head chef offended their master, Egypt’s king. 2 Pharaoh was so angry with his two officers—his senior security advisor and his head chef— 3 that he locked them up in the prison dungeon operated by the captain of the guard, the very place where Joseph was imprisoned. 4 The captain of the guard entrusted them to Joseph’s custody, who took care of them, since they were to remain there in custody for a number of days.
5 Then the two of them each had a dream. They both had their dreams the same night, and there were separate interpretations for each dream—the senior security advisor and the head chef to the king of Egypt, who had confined them in prison. 6 When Joseph came to see them in the morning, he noticed how downcast they looked! They were both very sad. 7 So he asked Pharaoh’s officers, who were with him in prison in his master’s house, “Why are you so sad today?”
8 “We had a dream,” they replied, “but there’s no one to interpret it.”
“Interpretations belong to God,” Joseph told them, “so please tell me your stories.”
The Security Advisor’s Dream
9 So the senior security advisor related his dream to Joseph. “In my dream,” he said, “all of a sudden there was a vine in front of me! 10 On the vine were three branches that budded. Blossoms shot out, and clusters grew up that produced ripe grapes. 11 Then, with Pharaoh’s cup in my hand, I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup, then handed the cup directly to Pharaoh.”
12 Then Joseph told him, “This is what your dream means: The three branches are three days. 13 Within three days, Pharaoh will encourage you and return you to your responsibilities. You’ll attend to Pharaoh’s personal wine cup, just as you did when you were his senior security advisor. 14 But keep me in mind when things go well for you. Be sure to extend kindness to me by remembering me to Pharaoh. Bring me out of this prison, 15 because I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews. Not only that, I haven’t done anything that deserves me being confined to this pit.”
The Head Chef’s Dream
16 When the head chef heard that the interpretation was good, he told Joseph, “I was also in my dream. All of a sudden, there were three baskets with white bread stacked on top of my head. 17 There was all kinds of food in the basket that was on top, including baked food for Pharaoh. The birds were eating them from the basket on my head.”
18 Joseph replied, “This is what your dream means: The three baskets are also three days. 19Within three more days, Pharaoh will behead you and hang you on gallows, where birds will eat your flesh from you.”
The Dreams are Fulfilled
20 On the third day, which just happened to be Pharaoh’s birthday, he threw a party for all his servants. He lifted the head of both his senior security advisor and of his head chef in front of his servants— 21 that is, he restored his senior security advisor to his former responsibilities, including attending to Pharaoh’s personal wine cup, 22 but he beheaded and hanged the head chef, just as Joseph had interpreted for them. 23 Despite all of this, the senior security advisor not only didn’t remember Joseph, he deliberately forgot him.
41:1 Two years later—to the day—Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing by the Nile River, 2 when all of a sudden seven healthy, plump cows emerged from the Nile to graze in the grass that grew in the reeds that lined the bank. 3 Right after that, seven more cows came up out of the Nile. Ugly and gaunt, they stood next to the other cows on the bank of the Nile River. 4 But all of a sudden they ate up the seven healthy, plump cows! Then Pharaoh woke up.
1 After he had fallen back to sleep, he had a second dream, in which seven ears of plump, fruit-filled grain grew up on a single stalk. 6 Suddenly seven thin ears of grain that had been scorched by an east wind sprouted up right after them 7 and ate up the seven plump, fruit-filled ears. Then Pharaoh woke up a second time, and it had been a very vivid dream!
Pharaoh Seeks an Interpretation
8 The very next morning, he was frustrated about the dream, so he sent word to summon all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them what he had dreamed, but no one could interpret them.
9 Then Pharaoh’s senior security advisor spoke up. “Maybe I should make a confession. 10 When Pharaoh was angry with some of his servants, he incarcerated me in custody of the captain of the bodyguard, along with Pharaoh’s head chef. 11 We each had a dream on the same night, and each dream had its own meaning. 12 There was a Hebrew young man incarcerated with us, who was also working as a servant to the captain of the bodyguard.
“We each related our dreams, and then he interpreted them for us. He provided specific meanings for each of our dreams. 13 And what he interpreted for each of us came true! Pharaoh restored me to my responsibilities, but he executed the other man.”
Other modules in this unit:
- Jacob steals Isaac’s blessing
- Jacob dreams about a ladder and angels at Bethel
- Laban meets Jacob
- Jacob marries Rachel the daughter of Laban
- Leah the older sister of Rachel
- Bilhah, the servant of Rachel
- Zilpah, servant of Leah
- Jacob had twelve sons
- Reuben finds some mandrakes for Leah
- Jacob flees with his family from Laban
- Esau’s descendants
- Joseph’s Dreams
- Joseph is put down a well
- Tamar and Judah
- Joseph runs from Potiphar’s Wife
- The Cup that held the wine for the King of Egypt
- The head chef to the King of Egypt
- Joseph’s brothers’ first trip to Egypt for food
- The Second Journey to Egypt
- A silver cup belonging to Joseph was put in a Sack
- Jacob moves to Egypt in a cart
- Two Sons of Joseph, Genesis
- Manasseh, Joseph’s older son
- Ephraim, Joseph’s younger son
- 12 sons of Jacob whom he blesses before he dies
- Death of Jacob at one hundred and forty-seven years old
- Death of Joseph at one hundred and ten years old
- Questions and Answers 1-28
- 300-year gap between Joseph and Moses
- Life of Moses » »
- Timeline for the book of Genesis parts one and two »
- Resources – Genesis Part Two