Genesis 40: Two Prisoners’ Dreams

What could both the butler and the baker have done to offend Pharaoh?

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Genesis 40:1–3 One day, Pharaoh’s butler and baker offended him. He was angry with these top-ranking officials in his service, the chief butler and the chief baker, so he put them in the custody of Potiphar, captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was.
King James
Genesis 40:1–3 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. And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound.

Why were the butler and baker put under Potiphar and not sent to a prison for criminals?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 40:1–3 One day, Pharaoh’s butler and baker offended him. He was angry with these top-ranking officials in his service, the chief butler and the chief baker, so he put them in the custody of Potiphar, captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was.
King James
Genesis 40:1–3 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. And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound.

Why did Potiphar put the butler under Joseph’s care and not someone else?

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Genesis 40:4 Potiphar put the two men under Joseph’s care for the time they would be in prison.
King James
Genesis 40:4 And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward.

What made the butler’s and baker’s dreams especially troubling? What did they think about the similarities in their dreams?

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Genesis 40:5–6 One night while in prison, Pharaoh’s butler and the baker had different, vivid dreams.
When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were upset about something.
King James
Genesis 40:5–6 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. And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and, behold, they were sad.

Why was Joseph interested in his prisoners’ troubles?

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Genesis 40:6–7 When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were upset about something. So he asked Pharaoh’s officers what was bothering them.
King James
Genesis 40:6–7 And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and, behold, they were sad. 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?

Before hearing their dreams, why did Joseph think he might interpret them?

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Genesis 40:8 “We’ve had a dream,” they said, “but we have no one who can tell us what the dreams mean.”
King James
Genesis 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.

Why couldn’t the chief butler speculate on the meaning of his dream and be satisfied? What was so disturbing that it demanded an explanation?

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Genesis 40:9–11 “In my dream,” the chief butler said, “I saw a grapevine in front of me. The vine had three branches that budded, blossomed, and brought forth clusters of ripe grapes. Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand. I pressed the grapes into the cup and placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.”
King James
Genesis 40:9–11 And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me; 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: 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.

How much confidence did the butler have in Joseph’s interpretation?

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Genesis 40:12–13 “This is the meaning of your dream,” Joseph said. “The three branches are three days. Three days from now, Pharaoh will free you from prison and restore you to his service. You will place his cup in his hand like you did before, when you were his butler.”
King James
Genesis 40:12–13 And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days: 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.

How confident was Joseph in his interpretation? Why?

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Genesis 40:14 When all is well with you, please remember me and mention me to Pharaoh so I can get out of prison.
King James
Genesis 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:

If Joseph had done nothing to deserve imprisonment, why was he there? Did that fact bother Joseph? Why? Or why not?

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Genesis 40:15 I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews and have done nothing to deserve imprisonment.
King James
Genesis 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.

What did the baker think the interpretation of his dream would be?

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Genesis 40:16–17 After hearing how good the meaning of the butler’s dream was, the chief baker said, “I had a dream too. I was carrying three baskets of bread on my head. The top basket was filled with pastries for Pharaoh, and the birds were eating them while the basket was on my head.”
King James
Genesis 40:16–17 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: 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.

How much confidence did the baker have in Joseph’s interpretation?

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Genesis 40:18–19 “This is the meaning of your dream,” Joseph said. “The three baskets are three days. Three days from now, Pharaoh will free you from prison and hang your body on a tree. The birds will eat your flesh.”
King James
Genesis 40:18–19 And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: The three baskets are three days: 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.

How did the butler and baker feel as they were being freed from prison three days later?

Author’s Thoughts
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Genesis 40:20 Pharaoh’s birthday was three days later. He gave a feast for all his servants and had the butler and baker freed from prison.
King James
Genesis 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.

In what ways do the death burial, and resurrection of Christ, and his body and blood that were sacrificed, compare to what happened to the butler and baker after three days?

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Genesis 40:21–22 He restored the chief butler to his previous service, and the butler once again placed Pharaoh’s cup in his hand. The chief baker was hanged, just as Joseph had interpreted.
King James
Genesis 40:21–22 And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand: But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them.

How could the butler have forgotten about Joseph?

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Genesis 40:23 The chief butler forgot about Joseph and said nothing to Pharaoh.
King James
Genesis 40:23 Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.