1 “And it came to pass after these things, that the
butler of the king of
his baker had offended their lord the king of
and it was) after these things (literally, words, i.e. after the transactions just recorded),
that the butler - מָשְׁקֶה, the hiph. part. of שָׁקָה, to drink, signifies one who causes to
hence cupbearer (compare v. 11) - of the king of
אֹפֶה (part. of אָפָה, to cook or bake) was the officer who prepared the king's food.
The monuments show that the Egyptians had carried the arts of the confectioner
to a high degree of perfection (see Hengstenberg, '
of Moses,' p. 27; Wilkinson, 'Ancient Egyptians,' 2:33-39, ed. 1878) - had offended
(or sinned against) their lord (literally, against, the preposition being repeated)
though this of course is only a conjecture in the absence of specific information.
2 “And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the
butlers, and against the chief of the bakers.” And Pharaoh was wroth - literally,
broke forth (into anger) - against two of his officers (see 37:36) against the chief –
sar: the word occurs in one of the oldest historical
documents of ancient
('Inscription of Una,' line 4, sixth dynasty), meaning chief or eunuch (vide ' Records
of the Past,' 2:3) - of the butlers, - an office once filled by Nehemiah in the Court of
the Court of Assyria (II Kings 18:17) - and against the chief of the bakers. Oriental
monarchs generally had a multitude of butlers and bakers, or cupbearers and Court
purveyors, the chiefs in both departments being invested with high honor, and
regarded with much trust (Herod., 3:34; Xenoph., 'Cyrop.,' 1:3, 8).
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.” And he put them in ward
(or in custody) in the house of the captain of the guard, - i.e. Potiphar (see
ch. 37:36) - into the prison, - literally, house of enclosure (see ch. 39:20) –
the place where Joseph was bound. The word אָסור from אָסַר - to make fast
by binding, seems to corroborate the Psalmist's assertion (Psalm 105:18) that
Joseph had been laid in iron and his feet hurt with fetters; but this could only
have been temporarily (see vs. 4, 6).
4 “And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he
served them: and they continued a season in ward.” And the captain of
the guard charged Joseph with them (literally, set Joseph with them, i.e.
as a companion or servant; to wait upon them, since they were high officers
of State, not to keep watch over them as criminals), and he served them
(i.e. acted as their attendant): and they continued a season in ward (literally,
and they were days, i.e. an indefinite period, in prison).
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
And they dreamed a dream both of them (on dreams see ch. 20:3), each
man his dream in one night (this was the first remarkable circumstance
connected with these dreams - they both happened the same night), each
man according to the interpretation of his dream (i.e. each dream
corresponded exactly, as the event proved, to the interpretation put on
it by Joseph, which was a second remarkable circumstance, inasmuch as it
showed the dreams to be no vain hallucinations of the mind, but
Divinely-sent foreshadowings of the future fortunes of the dreamers),
the butler and the baker of the king
6 “And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them,
and, behold, they were sad. 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?” And Joseph came in unto them in the morning (a proof
that Joseph at this time enjoyed comparative freedom from corporeal
restraint in the prison), and looked upon them, and, behold, they were sad.
The word זֹעֲפִים from זָעַפ, to be angry, originally signifying irate, wrathful,
τεταραγμένοι – tetaragmenoi – they were sad (Septuagint), is obviously
intended rather to convey the idea of dejection, tristes (Vulgate). And he
asked Pharaoh's officers that were with him in the ward of his lord's
house, saying, Wherefore look ye so sadly today? - literally, knowing
what (־ מַדּוּעַ מָה יָדוּעַ - τί μαθών – ti mathon - ) are your faces evil, or
bad (πρόσωπα σκυθρωπὰ - prosopa skuthropa - Septuagint; tristier solito,
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.” And they said unto him, We have
dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it - literally, a dream have we
dreamt, and interpreting it there is none. This must be noted as a third peculiarity
connected with these dreams, that both of their recipients were similarly affected
by them, though there was much in the butler s dream to inspire hope rather than
dejection. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? –
literally, Are not interpretations to Elohim? i.e. the Supreme Being (compare
ch. 41:16; Daniel 2:11, 28, 47). The Egyptians believed ὅτι ἀνθρώπων μὲν
οὐδενὶ προσκέεται ἡ τέχνη μαντικὴ τῶν δὲ θεῶν μετεξετέροισε (Herod., 2:83).
Tell me them, I pray you. Joseph's request implies that the consciousness of
his Divine calling to be a prophet had begun to dawn upon him, and that he
was now speaking from an inward conviction, doubtless produced within his
mind by Elohim, that he could unfold the true significance of the dreams.
The Interpreter of God’s Message (v. 8)
We cannot but notice the importance often assigned in the Bible to dreams,
as channels of revelation from God. The dreams of Jacob and of Pharaoh,
and passages such as Deuteronomy 13:1 and Joel 2:28, show this.
It may be that in the absence of the written word, which in its completeness
is our heritage, God’s message was thus given to them in portions.
Applying this thought to the circumstances of the text, we see men who
had received a message from God which they believed was of importance;
but they could not understand it, and they are sad because there is no
questions does life present! What and where are we? Whither going? What
lies beyond the present? I see that all things decay; yet on all sides life from
death. Is there such revival for me? Can the active, thinking spirit be as
though it had never been — passed from existence ere the frail body began
to decay? And if there be a life beyond the present, what is its nature? and
what the preparation for it? Vainly does human wisdom try to answer these
questions. He who made all things alone can explain His works (Psalm
94:9-12), and the Bible is His answer to our questions, wherein He tells us
what we are, for what created, and how to fulfill the object of our being
Bible is open. Its words are such as any one can understand. This is true, as
far as regards facts, and precepts, and doctrines. There is a knowledge of
the word which the natural man can attain to; but the Holy Spirit alone can
so open it as to make it “the power of God.” It is one thing to know the
doctrines of sin and of salvation, and quite another to know ourselves as
sinners, and Christ as the Savior. The one puffs up with pride of
knowledge, the other leads to the one Foundation. There is no more
dangerous snare than of ignoring this work of the Holy Spirit. Too often
men do not believe their need of it, and do not believe in his help. And thus
the Bible is found dull, and its teaching departed from in daily life.
our Lord watching His disciples in the boat. So He watches over thee, ready
to help. Hast thou found it so? Has the light of God’s love entered thy
heart? It is the special work of the Holy Spirit to guide into all truth
(John 16:13); not in solving mysteries and hard questions, but in
revealing Christ to the heart. Have you sought this; sought with
expectation the full gift; sought to know Christ (Philippians 3:10), and
the transforming power of belief in His love? Will you seek? There lies the
difficulty — the lack of earnestness. Men seem afraid of being earnest. But
it is the earnest (Matthew 11:12, βιασταὶ - biastai – violent; forceful ones)
who enter the kingdom of heaven.
9 “And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream,
behold, a vine was before me;” - literally, in my dream (I was), and behold a vine
(gephen, from the unused root gaphan, to be bent, a twig, hence a plant which has
twigs, especially a vine; compare Judges 9:13; Isaiah 7:43; 24:7) before me. The
introduction of the vine into the narrative, which has been pronounced (Bohlen)
an important factor in proof of its recent composition, since, according to
Herodotus (2:77), the vine was not cultivated in
Plutarch ('De Is. et Osir.,' 6), it was not till after Psammetichus, i.e. about the
time of Josiah, that the Egyptians began to drink wine, has now by more accurate
study been ascertained to be in exact accordance, not only with Biblical statements
(Numbers 20:5; Psalm 78:47; 105:33), but likewise with the testimony of Herodotus,
who affirms (2:37) that wine (οϊνος ἀμπέλενος) was a privilege of the priestly order,
and with the representations on the monuments of vines and grapes, and of the
entire process of wine-making (see Havernick's 'Introduction,' § 21; Wilkinson's '
Ancient Egyptians,' 1:379, et seqq. 430, 431, ed. 1878; Hengstenberg,
p. 13; Rawlinson, 'Hist. Illus.,' p. 49; Thornley Smith, 'Joseph and his Times,' p. 58).
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:”
And in the vine were three branches: - sarigim, tendrils of a vine, from sarag, to
intertwine (v. 12; Joel 1:7) - and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms
shot forth; - literally, as it budded (Murphy); or, as though blossoming (Rosenmüller,
Keil, Kalisch); it shot forth its blossom (Keil); or, its blossoms shot forth (Rosenmüller,
Kalisch, Murphy) - and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes: - more correctly,
its stems caused to ripen, or matured, clusters, the אֶשְׁכֹּל being the stalk of a cluster,
as distinguished from the עֲגָבִים, or clusters themselves (Gesenius, 'Lex.,' p. 85),
though interpreters generally (Kalisch, Keil, Murphy) regard the first as the
unripe, and the second as the ripe, cluster -
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.” And
Pharaoh's cup - כּזֹס, a receptacle or vessel, either contracted from כֵּגֶס, like אִישׁ
for אֵגֶשׁ (Gesenius), or derived from כּוּא, to conceal, to receive, to keep, connected
with the idea of bringing together, collecting into a thing (Furst) - was in my hand:
and I took the grapes, and pressed them - ἐξέθλιψα (Septuagint), expressi (Vulgate),
a translation adopted by the most competent authorities (Gesenius, Furst, Rosenmüller,
Keil, Kalisch, et alii), though the sense of diluting with water is advocated by Dathe,
Havernick ('Introd.,' § 21), and others as the most appropriate signification of שָׁחַט,
which occurs only here. That Pharaoh is represented as drinking the expressed juice
of grapes is no proof that the Egyptians were not acquainted with fermentation,
and did not drink fermented liquors. In numerous frescoes the process of
fermentation is distinctly represented, and Herodotus testifies that though the
use of grape wine was comparatively limited, the common people drank a wine
made from barley: οἵνῳ δ ἐκ κριθέων πεποιημένῳ (2:77) - into Pharaoh's cup,
and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand - literally, I placed the cup upon
Pharaoh's palm, כַּפ, used of Jacob's thigh-socket (ch. 32:25), meaning
something hollowed out.
12 “And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: The three
branches are three days: 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.
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: 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.” And Joseph (acting no doubt under a Divine impulse) said unto him,
This is the interpretation of it (compare vs. 18; 41:12, 25; Judges 7:14; Daniel 2:36;
4:19): The three branches (see above, v. 10) are three days: - literally, three days
these (compare ch. 41:26) - Yet within three days (literally, in yet three days, i.e.
within three more days, before the third day is over) shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, -
not μνησθήσεται τῆς ἀρχῆς σου – mnaesthaesetai taes archaes sou – will lift up your\
head (Septuagint), record-abitur ministerii tui (Vulgate), a rendering which has the
sanction of Onkelos, Samaritan, Jarchi, Rosenmüller, and others; but shall promote
thee from the depths of thy humiliation (Gesenius, Furst, Keil, Kalisch, &c.), to which
there is an assonance, and upon which there is an intentional play, in the opposite
phrase employed to depict the fortunes of the baker (see v. 19) and restore thee
unto thy place: - epexegetic of the preceding clause, the כֵּן (or pedestal, from כָּגַן,
unused, to stand upright, or stand fast as a base) upon which the butler was to be
set being his former dignity and office, as is next explained - and thou shalt deliver
Pharaoh's cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler.
After which Joseph adds a request for himself. But think on me when it shall be
well with thee (literally, but, or only, thou shalt remember me with thee, according
as, or when, it goes well with thee), and show kindness, I pray thee, unto me (compare
Joshua 2:12; I Samuel 20:14-15; II Samuel 9:1; I Kings 2:7), and make mention of me
unto Pharaoh, - literally, bring me to remembrance before Pharaoh (compare I Kings
17:18; Jeremiah 4:16; Ezekiel 21:28) - and bring me out of this house: for indeed
I was stolen (literally, for stolen I was stolen, i.e. I was furtively abducted, without
my knowledge or consent, and did not voluntarily abscond in consequence of having
perpetrated any crime) away out (literally, from) of the land of the Hebrews: - i.e.
the land where the Ibrum live (Keil); an expression which Joseph never could have
used, since the Hebrews were strangers and sojourners in the land, and had no settled
possession in it, and therefore a certain index of the lateness of the composition of
this portion of the narrative (Block, 'Introd.,' § 80); but if Abram, nearly two centuries
earlier, was recognized as a Hebrew (ch. 14:13), and if Potiphar's wife could, in
speaking to her Egyptian husband and domestics, describe Joseph as an Hebrew
(ch. 39:14, 17), there does not appear sufficient reason why Joseph should not be
able to characterize his country as the land of the Hebrews. The Hebrews had
through Abraham become known at least to Pharaoh and his Court as belonging
Joseph s time "the land of the Hebrews" was a phrase quite intelligible to an
Egyptian, as signifying not perhaps the entire extent of
as suggesting that the Hebrews had possession of the land prior to the Canaanites
(Murphy). And here also have I done nothing (i.e. committed no crime) that they
should (literally, that they have) put me into the dungeon. The term בּור is here
used to describe Joseph's place of confinement, because pits or cisterns or cesspools,
when empty, were frequently employed in primitive times for the incarceration of
offenders (compare Jeremiah 38:6; Zechariah 9:11).
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: 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.”
When (literally, and) the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he
(literally, and he, encouraged by the good fortune predicted to his fellow-prisoner)
said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three (literally, and
behold three) white baskets - literally, baskets of white bread; Septuagint, κανᾶ
χονδριτῶν – kana chondriton - ; Vulgate, canistra farince;
kophinoi gureos (Onkolos, Pererius, Gesenius, Furst, Keil, Kalisch, Murphy, et alii);
though the rendering "baskets of holes," i.e. wicker baskets, is preferred by some
(Symmachus Datbius, Rosenmüller, and others), and accords with the evidence of
the monuments, which frequently exhibit baskets of wickerwork (see Wilkinson's '
Ancient Egyptians,' 2:34, ed. 1878) - on my head. According to Herodotus (2:35),
Egyptian men commonly carried on their heads, and Egyptian women, like Hagar
(ch. 21:14), on their shoulders. And in the uppermost basket (whose contents alone
are described, since it alone was exposed to the depredations of the birds) there
was of all manner of bake-meats for Pharaoh - literally, all kinds of food for
Pharaoh, the work of a baker. The monuments show that the variety of confectionery
literally, the bird; a collective, as in ch. 1:21, 30 (compare v. 19) - did eat them
out of the basket upon my head.
18 “And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: The
three baskets are three days: Genesis 40 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” And Joseph answered and said (with what reluctance
and pathos may be imagined), This is the interpretation thereof (the exposition was
supplied by God, and, however willing or anxious Joseph might be to soften its
meaning to his auditor, he could not deviate a hair's-breadth from what he knew to
be the mind of God): The three baskets are three days: yet within three days –
literally, in three days more (as above - v. 13) - shall Pharaoh lift up thy head
from off thee (i.e. deprive thee of life, the phrase containing a resemblance to
that employed in v. 13, and finding its explanation in the words that follow),
and shall hang thee on a tree - i.e. after decapitation (compare Deuteronomy
21:22-23; Joshua 10:26; II Samuel 4:12), which was probably the mode of
execution at that time practiced in
Inglis, Bush), though some regard the clause as a description of the way in which
the baker s life was to be taken from him, viz., either by crucifixion (Onkelos,
Rosenmüller, Ainsworth) or by hanging (Willst, Patrick, T. Lewis), and others
view it as simply pointing to capital punishment, without indicating the instrument
or method (Piscator, Lapide, Mercerus, 'Speaker's Commentary'). And the birds
shall eat thy flesh from off thee. "The terror of approaching death would be
aggravated to the poor man by the prospect of the indignity with which his
body was to be treated" (Lawson).
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.” And it came to pass (literally, and it
was, as Joseph had predicted) the third day (literally, in, or on, the third day), which
was Pharaoh's birthday, - literally, the day of Pharaoh's being born, the inf. hophal
being construed with an accusative (SEe Gesenius, 'Grammar,' 143) - that he made
a feast - a mishteh, i.e. a drinking or banquet (SEe ch.19:3) - unto all his servants.
"The birthdays of the kings of
with great joy and rejoicing. All business was suspended, and the people generally
took part in the festivities' (Thoruley Smith, 'Joseph and his Times,' p. 62; see
Herod., 1:133: Ἡμέρην δὲ ἀπασέΩν μάλιστα ἐκείνην τιμᾶν νομίζουσι τῇ ἕκαστος
ἐγένετο; and compare Matthew 14:6; Mark 6:21). And he lifted up the head - here
the one phrase applies equally, though in different senses, to both. A similar
expression occurs in the annals of Assur-nasir-pal (Sardanapalus), column 2.
line 43: "Their heads on the high places of the mountain I lifted up" ('Records
of the Past,' vol. 3. p. 54) - of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his
servants - literally, in their midst, as a public example.
21“And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the
cup into Pharaoh's hand: 22 But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had
interpreted to them.”
23 “Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgot him.”
Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph (as Joseph had desired, and as
he doubtless had promised), but forgot him - as Joseph might almost have
expected (compare Ecclesiastes 9:15-16).
Joseph in the Round House at
Ø The prisoners.
o Their rank. They were high officers of state — the chief of the butlers
and the chief of the bakers, i.e. the principal cupbearer and Court
Their offense. They had sinned against their lord the
what way it is of no importance to inquire, since “we would have heard
nothing about them had their story not been connected with that of
Joseph” (Lawson), though the Rabbis allege that they had been
detected in an attempt at poisoning their master.
o Their punishment. “The king’s wrath is as the roaring of a lion,” and
“as messengers of death” (Proverbs 19:12; 16:14); and the two
offenders were immediately arrested and thrown into prison, committed
to the keeping of the captain of the round house, where Joseph was
o Their privilege. Their punishment was tempered with clemency. In
consideration of their official rank, the governor of the tower
appointed Joseph to wait upon them and act as their servant.
Ø Their attendant. In this new capacity Joseph behaved himself wisely and
with discretion. With regard to his illustrious companions in misfortune,
o Served them faithfully. “Joseph had been unjustly enslaved, unjustly
imprisoned, unjustly detained in his prison, and yet he declined not the
work enjoined by his master” (Lawson). Joseph appears to have always
acted on the principle commended by the royal preacher “Whatsoever
thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10), and
on that recommended by Christ “For whosoever exalteth himself
shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
(Luke 14:11). “Joseph was a better man than the men whom he served.
He was sprung from noble ancestors, and knew that he would one day
be exalted above them; but at this time he cheerfully performed to
them every service in his power” (Lawson).
o Sympathized with them sincerely. Though bearing his own
misfortunes with unmurmuring resignation and manly fortitude,
because sustained by God’s grace and the possession of truly religious
principles, the amiability of Joseph’s nature led him to commiserate
his fellow-prisoners who had no such inward supports and consolations
as were enjoyed by him. In particular on one occasion mentioned in
the text he was so struck with their dejected countenances that he
feelingly inquired the cause of their sadness.
o Directed them wisely. Learning that they were troubled on account of
dreams which they had dreamed overnight, and of which they could
not find the explanation, he piously exhorted them to look to God for
the desired interpretations.
Ø The dreams:
o Agreed in the time when they occurred, happening on the same night;
in the impressions they produced, filling the hearts of both dreamers
with forebodings; in the person by whom they were explained, Joseph
giving equally the key to both; and in the interval required for their
fulfillment, only three days being allowed for the accomplishment of
o Differed in the imagery of which they were composed — that of the
butler consisting of a tableaux in which himself and his royal master
appeared beneath the shadow of a blooming vine, Pharaoh sitting on
his throne, and himself pressing fine ripe clusters into Pharaoh’s cup
and setting it on Pharaoh’s hand; and that of the baker representing
himself also engaged in the performance of his official duties, bearing
into Pharaoh’s presence three wicker baskets of pastries and
confections, out of the uppermost of which the birds came to eat;
in the character of the events which they foreshadowed — the butler’s
dream prognosticating speedy restoration to his butlership, and the
baker’s dream most ominously pointing to early execution.
Ø Their interpretations. These were:
o Revealed by God. Joseph did not claim to be able of himself to interpret
the significance of either of the dreams, but explicitly affirmed that to
do so was exclusively the prerogative of Elohim.
o Declared by Joseph. Thus Joseph was authenticated as a prophet of
the Lord in that heathen land.
o Fulfilled by Pharaoh. Pharaoh was no doubt unconscious that he was
accomplishing a Divine prediction. So God is able to accord to men
complete liberty of action, and yet realize His own sovereign purpose.
Exactly as Joseph had interpreted, both as to time and as to results, the
dreams came true.
Ø The interpreter’s request. Joseph desired in return for his services to the
butler that a word should be spoken for him to the king by that officer
when restored to his occupation, in the hope that it might lead to his
release from confinement. For this conduct Joseph has been blamed by
some censorious critics; but:
o his request was natural. Though required to endure the crosses laid on
him by Divine providence with meekness and resignation, he was under
no obligation to stay a moment longer in prison than he could justly
help, but was rather bound to use all legitimate means to insure his
o his request was moderate. He did not ask much at the butler’s hand in
return for his own great service, only that his name should be mentioned
to Pharaoh. Joseph was not exacting in his demands. Again:
o his request was touching. As he tells the butler, in the hope of moving
him to pity, he was a stranger in a strange land, who had been forcibly
abducted, though he does not say by whom. What a token of the kindly
charity and truly forgiving spirit cherished by Joseph towards his
brethren! And finally:
o his request was just. He had done nothing to deserve imprisonment in
that or any other dungeon.
Ø The interpreter’s reward. “Yet did not the chief butler remember
Joseph, but forgot him.” This must have been
o a painful experience to Joseph, probably as cruel and unkind a blow as
any he had yet received; as certainly it was
o a monstrous iniquity on the part of the butler, indicating a callous,
ungrateful, and truly base disposition, though unfortunately it is
o a frequent occurrence in human life.
1. That God’s saints are sometimes thrown by Divine providence into
companionship with the worst of men.
2. That the excellent of the earth are often found filling the very humblest
3. That God has many different methods of discovering His mind to men.
4. That God is able to fulfill His own predictions.
5. That wicked men sometimes meet their deserts in this life.
6. That God’s people should sympathize with and succor their fellow-men.
7. That they who do good to others should hope for nothing again.
The Inspired Man (vs. 1-23)
Joseph is already supreme in the narrow sphere of the prison: “all was
committed to his hand.” The narrow sphere prepares him for the wider.
The spiritual supremacy has now to be revealed. “Do not interpretations
belong to God?” The dreams are partly of man and partly of God. Each
man dreamed of things connected with his life. The butler of the wine
coming from the grape-clusters, pressed into Pharaoh’s cup, given into his
hand. The baker of the white baskets and bakemeats, plucked from him
while upon his head by the birds of prey. To a certain extent the
interpretation was natural, but as at once communicated to Joseph it was
inspired. The sphere of inspiration is concentric with the sphere of the
natural intelligence and wisdom, but goes beyond it. The request of Joseph,
that his spiritual superiority should be recognized and rewarded, was not
fulfilled by the ungrateful man; but, as an act of obedience to the Spirit of
God, it was committed to Him who seeth in secret and rewardeth openly.
(Matthew 6:4) Joseph is still being tried by the word of God. It is committed to
him as a messenger and witness for the covenant people. It tries his faith and
patience. The whole is a parable, setting forth:
1. The order of the world, as resting on the Divine foreknowledge and
appointment in connection with the elect instrumentalities, bringing the
2. The providential hiding of gracious purposes. Joseph the seer in the
prison, waiting for the hour of redemption, sending forth messages of truth
to do their errands.
3. Invisible links between the rulers of this world and the representatives of
4. Discipline in the lives of God’s people fruitful in blessed results, both for
them and for all.
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