(Gen 40:1 NASB) Then it came about after these things the cupbearer and the baker for the king of Egypt offended their lord, the king of Egypt.

Gen 40:1:            “It came to pass after these things…” This is an indefinite statement of time. We may be able to calculate that Joseph is now 28 years old and that he was sold into slavery 11 years previous. But we have no idea how long he was in Potiphar’s house and how long he was in prison.

The cupbearer and the baker are two servants that must be very trustworthy. If a scandal is among them, it could be hazardous to the kings health.

The cupbearer would personally serve wine to the king. His loyalty had to be beyond reproach. He also held a position of great influence as a close and trusted adviser. Egyptian documents testify to the wealth and power of officials in this type of position.


(Gen 40:2 NASB) And Pharaoh was furious with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker.

(Gen 40:3 NASB) So he put them in confinement in the house of the captain of the bodyguard, in the jail, the same place where Joseph was imprisoned.

(Gen 40:4 NASB) And the captain of the bodyguard put Joseph in charge of them, and he took care of them; and they were in confinement for some time.

Gen 40:4:            Pharaoh threw these two in prison. We are not told exactly what they did, but they offended Pharaoh in some manner.

Joseph is put over them “for a while,” but we do not know the length of the time period. I find it interesting that Joseph “took care of them” during this time. Not vice versa.


(Gen 40:5 NASB) Then the cupbearer and the baker for the king of Egypt, who were confined in jail, both had a dream the same night, each man with his own dream and each dream with its own interpretation.

Gen 40:5:            The dreams of Joseph, or the dreams he interprets, always happen in pairs. In this case, the two dreams are from two different people, the cupbearer and the baker. Earlier, it was Joseph with two separate dreams that established a matter. Later, it will be Pharaoh that has two dreams that establish a matter.

It is Elohim’s law to establish a matter with the testimony of two witnesses (Deut. 19:15). Yeshua also said this is the way a matter is established (Matt. 18:15-17).


(Gen 40:6 NASB) When Joseph came to them in the morning and observed them, behold, they were dejected.

(Gen 40:7 NASB) And he asked Pharaoh’s officials who were with him in confinement in his master’s house, “Why are your faces so sad today?”

Gen 40:7:            The butler and the baker each had a disturbing dream. For some reason, they each thought that their dream meant something.

However, it does make sense in a way. Both men were put in prison either justly or unjustly and were extremely uncertain about their fate. They both had positions that called for severe penalties if rumored charges were found to be true. They know they could both be put to death in the near future. They both recounted vivid and colorful dreams that they believed were meaningful. Apparently Elohim impressed upon them that these dreams were especially meaningful. The men had little else to grasp in the way of hope.


(Gen 40:8 NASB) Then they said to him, “We have had a dream and there is no one to interpret it.” Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell it to me, please.”

Gen 40:8:            We have two examples of men in Scripture who interpreted dreams. We have Joseph and Daniel. Both men say that only Elohim can interpret dreams (Dan. 2:28).

If anyone says they can interpret dreams, they are claiming to speak for Elohim and claiming to know secrets that only He can reveal. If they are not a prophet of Elohim, they are a spiritist or diviner. According to Torah, they are to be ignored or put to death (Deut. 18:14).


(Gen 40:9 NASB) So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, “In my dream, behold, there was a vine in front of me;

(Gen 40:10 NASB) and on the vine were three branches. And as it was budding, its blossoms came out, and its clusters produced ripe grapes.

(Gen 40:11 NASB) “Now Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand; so I took the grapes and squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.”

Gen 40:11:         In the cupbearer’s dream, we see a blend of fantasy and reality. We see a telescoping of time in the grape-growing season, the production process, and the serving of finished wine.

The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (which I usually respect) makes an atrocious conclusion from this dream:

“And I took (KJV): etc. From this we find that wine anciently was the mere expressed juice of the grape, without fermentation. The {saky,} or cup-bearer, took the bunch, pressed the juice into the cup, and instantly delivered it to his master.”

Can we also state that grape vines and grapes grew instantly in ancient times? Or is this a vision with a message that the cupbearer will once again be trusted to serve Pharaoh wine?


(Gen 40:12 NASB) Then Joseph said to him, “This is the interpretation of it: the three branches are three days;

(Gen 40:13 NASB) within three more days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office; and you will put Pharaoh’s cup into his hand according to your former custom when you were his cupbearer.

Gen 40:13:         The number three is prevalent in this dream. The three processes of growing grapes, processing them, and serving the wine are all accelerated. Three days, three stages, three vines, three actions performed, and the words “Pharaoh” and “cup” are each mentioned three times.

The cupbearer will again perform his duties in front of Pharaoh according to the meaning of this dream.


(Gen 40:14 NASB) “Only keep me in mind when it goes well with you, and please do me a kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this house.

Gen 40:14:         Joseph does not ask for any future compensation other than to request to be remembered in front of Pharaoh.


(Gen 40:15 NASB) “For I was in fact kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing that they should have put me into the dungeon.”

Gen 40:15:         Joseph reassures the cupbearer that when he intervenes for him that he would be intervening on behalf of an innocent man.


(Gen 40:16 NASB) When the chief baker saw that he had interpreted favorably, he said to Joseph, “I also saw in my dream, and behold, there were three baskets of white bread on my head;

(Gen 40:17 NASB) and in the top basket there were some of all sorts of baked food for Pharaoh, and the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.”

Gen 40:17:         The baker takes this opportunity to relate his dream which has some similarities to the cupbearer’s dream. He quickly takes hold of the similarities. But in his humanity disregards the important differences.

Notice that only the uppermost basket is accessible to the birds. He says the basket contains “all kinds of baked goods” for Pharaoh. From ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, we know of at least 57 varieties of bread and 38 different kinds of cake were known to be made at that time.

Also note that the baker does not have the strength or does not possess the presence of mind to drive the birds away.


(Gen 40:18 NASB) Then Joseph answered and said, “This is its interpretation: the three baskets are three days;

(Gen 40:19 NASB) within three more days Pharaoh will lift up your head from you and will hang you on a tree; and the birds will eat your flesh off you.”

Gen 40:19:         I don’t think the baker was as encouraged as the cupbearer.

Unlike the cupbearer, the baker does not personally prepare the cakes and he does not personally serve them to Pharaoh. The food does not even reach Pharaoh. It is eaten by birds.

This event will also take place in three days. This so happens to correspond with the birthday of Pharaoh.

The term “Pharaoh will lift up your head from you” means that Pharaoh will take him out of prison.

What do the birds represent? If Scriptural metaphor is consistent, they represent Satan (Matt. 13). The presence of the birds probably indicates the guilt of the baker. This was not a good dream that the baker had.


(Gen 40:20 NASB) Thus it came about on the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast for all his servants; and he lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants.

(Gen 40:21 NASB) And he restored the chief cupbearer to his office, and he put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand;

(Gen 40:22 NASB) but he hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had interpreted to them.

Gen 40:22:         The details of what happens on Pharaoh’s birthday show the accuracy of Josephs interpretations.


(Gen 40:23 NASB) Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.

Gen 40:23:         The term in Hebrew for “did not remember” means that it totally left his mind. This is going to happen again, only it will affect the entire people of Israel (Ex. 1:8).


Patrick McGuire

Copyright 2014
Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly
All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews.
Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly
Fort Smith, Arkansas

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