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Genesis - Chapter 40

Bible Study Notes

Genesis 40:1-4 Pharaoh threw his cupbearer and baker in the same prison as Joseph. Potiphar, his former master, gave Joseph charge over them to see to their needs.

Notes: The primary duties of the cupbearer and baker, as their titles suggest, were to provide the king with drink and food, respectively; as royal attendants they had unique access to him, and they were trusted to keep him from being poisoned.

Genesis 40:5-8 Joseph recognized that dreams, especially those that are divinely sent as these, could only be interpreted properly by God. Joseph believed that God would give him the wisdom to interpret the dreams and ease their sorrow.

Notes: Because of their imprisonment, the cupbearer and baker no longer had access to the “magicians” and “wise men” who might have been able to provide an interpretation. The science or practice of interpreting dreams, flourished in ancient Egypt because dreams were thought to determine the future. Both Egypt and Babylon developed a professional class of dream interpreters. Deuteronomy 13:1–5 shows that such dream interpreters were part of ancient false religion and to be avoided by God’s people. By some 500 years later, a detailed manual of dream interpretation had been compiled. Unlike Joseph, neither cupbearer nor baker understood the significance of their dreams (cf. Gen. 37:5–11).

Genesis 40:9-11 The dream the cupbearer had related to his occupation of being a cupbearer.

Genesis 40:12:15 After giving the answer to the cupbearer’s dream, that in 3 days he would be restored to Pharaoh’s service, Joseph asked as a payment to remember him before Pharaoh in the hopes of finding favor and getting out of the prison. Joseph pleads he came to Egypt in the first place unjustly and then put in prison unjustly. He may have considered the possibility of having the chance to plead his case before Pharaoh.

Genesis 40:16-17 The dream the baker had related to his occupation of being a baker.

Genesis 40:18-19 Joseph interpreted that the baker would be executed for his crime in 3 days.

Genesis 40:20-23 On his birthday celebration, Pharaoh released out of prison the cupbearer and the baker and presented before his guests. He passed his judgment, restoring the cupbearer to his job and executing the baker. Sadly, the cupbearer did not remember Joseph before Pharaoh and simply forgot all about him.

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