Bible: Genesis 40-41

The Cupbearer and the Baker

40:1 After these things happened, the cupbearer 1  to the king of Egypt and the royal baker 2  offended 3  their master, the king of Egypt. 40:2 Pharaoh was enraged with his two officials, 4  the cupbearer and the baker, 40:3 so he imprisoned them in the house of the captain of the guard in the same facility where Joseph was confined. 40:4 The captain of the guard appointed Joseph to be their attendant, and he served them. 5 

They spent some time in custody. 6  40:5 Both of them, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison, had a dream 7  the same night. 8  Each man’s dream had its own meaning. 9  40:6 When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were looking depressed. 10  40:7 So he asked Pharaoh’s officials, who were with him in custody in his master’s house, “Why do you look so sad today? 11  40:8 They told him, “We both had dreams, 12  but there is no one to interpret them.” Joseph responded, “Don’t interpretations belong to God? Tell them 13  to me.”

40:9 So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph: 14  “In my dream, there was a vine in front of me. 40:10 On the vine there were three branches. As it budded, its blossoms opened and its clusters ripened into grapes. 40:11 Now Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, so I took the grapes, squeezed them into his 15  cup, and put the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.” 16 

40:12This is its meaning,” Joseph said to him. “The three branches represent 17  three days. 40:13 In three more days Pharaoh will reinstate you 18  and restore you to your office. You will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you did before 19  when you were cupbearer. 40:14 But remember me 20  when it goes well for you, and show 21  me kindness. 22  Make mention 23  of me to Pharaoh and bring me out of this prison, 24  40:15 for I really was kidnapped 25  from the land of the Hebrews and I have done nothing wrong here for which they should put me in a dungeon.”

40:16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation of the first dream was favorable, 26  he said to Joseph, “I also appeared in my dream and there were three baskets of white bread 27  on my head. 40:17 In the top basket there were baked goods of every kind for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them from the basket that was on my head.”

40:18 Joseph replied, “This is its meaning: The three baskets represent 28  three days. 40:19 In three more days Pharaoh will decapitate you 29  and impale you on a pole. Then the birds will eat your flesh from you.”

40:20 On the third day it was Pharaoh’s birthday, so he gave a feast for all his servants. He “lifted up” 30  the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker in the midst of his servants. 40:21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his former position 31  so that he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand, 40:22 but the chief baker he impaled, just as Joseph had predicted. 32  40:23 But the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph – he forgot him. 33 

Joseph’s Rise to Power

41:1 At the end of two full years 34  Pharaoh had a dream. 35  As he was standing by the Nile, 41:2 seven fine-looking, fat cows were coming up out of the Nile, 36  and they grazed in the reeds. 41:3 Then seven bad-looking, thin cows were coming up after them from the Nile, 37  and they stood beside the other cows at the edge of the river. 38  41:4 The bad-looking, thin cows ate the seven fine-looking, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.

41:5 Then he fell asleep again and had a second dream: There were seven heads of grain growing 39  on one stalk, healthy 40  and good. 41:6 Then 41  seven heads of grain, thin and burned by the east wind, were sprouting up after them. 41:7 The thin heads swallowed up the seven healthy and full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up and realized it was a dream. 42 

41:8 In the morning he 43  was troubled, so he called for 44  all the diviner-priests 45  of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, 46  but no one could interpret 47  them for him. 48  41:9 Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I recall my failures. 49  41:10 Pharaoh was enraged with his servants, and he put me in prison in the house of the captain of the guards – me and the chief baker. 41:11 We each had a dream one night; each of us had a dream with its own meaning. 50  41:12 Now a young man, a Hebrew, a servant 51  of the captain of the guards, 52  was with us there. We told him our dreams, 53  and he interpreted the meaning of each of our respective dreams for us. 54  41:13 It happened just as he had said 55  to us – Pharaoh 56  restored me to my office, but he impaled the baker.” 57 

41:14 Then Pharaoh summoned 58  Joseph. So they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; he shaved himself, changed his clothes, and came before Pharaoh. 41:15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, 59  and there is no one who can interpret 60  it. But I have heard about you, that 61  you can interpret dreams.” 62  41:16 Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “It is not within my power, 63  but God will speak concerning 64  the welfare of Pharaoh.” 65 

41:17 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing 66  by the edge of the Nile. 41:18 Then seven fat and fine-looking cows were coming up out of the Nile, and they grazed in the reeds. 67  41:19 Then 68  seven other cows came up after them; they were scrawny, very bad-looking, and lean. I had never seen such bad-looking cows 69  as these in all the land of Egypt! 41:20 The lean, bad-looking cows ate up the seven 70  fat cows. 41:21 When they had eaten them, 71  no one would have known 72  that they had done so, for they were just as bad-looking as before. Then I woke up. 41:22 I also saw in my dream 73  seven heads of grain growing on one stalk, full and good. 41:23 Then 74  seven heads of grain, withered and thin and burned with the east wind, were sprouting up after them. 41:24 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads of grain. So I told all this 75  to the diviner-priests, but no one could tell me its meaning.” 76 

41:25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Both dreams of Pharaoh have the same meaning. 77  God has revealed 78  to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 79  41:26 The seven good cows represent seven years, and the seven good heads of grain represent seven years. Both dreams have the same meaning. 80  41:27 The seven lean, bad-looking cows that came up after them represent seven years, as do the seven empty heads of grain burned with the east wind. They represent 81  seven years of famine. 41:28 This is just what I told 82  Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 41:29 Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the whole land of Egypt. 41:30 But seven years of famine will occur 83  after them, and all the abundance will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will devastate 84  the land. 41:31 The previous abundance of the land will not be remembered 85  because of the famine that follows, for the famine will be very severe. 86  41:32 The dream was repeated to Pharaoh 87  because the matter has been decreed 88  by God, and God will make it happen soon. 89 

41:33So now Pharaoh should look 90  for a wise and discerning man 91  and give him authority 92  over all the land of Egypt. 41:34 Pharaoh should do 93  this – he should appoint 94  officials 95  throughout the land to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt 96  during the seven years of abundance. 41:35 They should gather all the excess food 97  during these good years that are coming. By Pharaoh’s authority 98  they should store up grain so the cities will have food, 99  and they should preserve it. 100  41:36 This food should be held in storage for the land in preparation for the seven years of famine that will occur throughout the land of Egypt. In this way the land will survive the famine.” 101 

41:37 This advice made sense to Pharaoh and all his officials. 102  41:38 So Pharaoh asked his officials, “Can we find a man like Joseph, 103  one in whom the Spirit of God is present? 104  41:39 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Because God has enabled you to know all this, there is no one as wise and discerning 105  as you are! 41:40 You will oversee my household, and all my people will submit to your commands. 106  Only I, the king, will be greater than you. 107 

41:41See here,” Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I place 108  you in authority over all the land of Egypt.” 109  41:42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his own hand and put it on Joseph’s. He clothed him with fine linen 110  clothes and put a gold chain around his neck. 41:43 Pharaoh 111  had him ride in the chariot used by his second-in-command, 112  and they cried out before him, “Kneel down!” 113  So he placed him over all the land of Egypt. 41:44 Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your permission 114  no one 115  will move his hand or his foot 116  in all the land of Egypt.” 41:45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah. 117  He also gave him Asenath 118  daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, 119  to be his wife. So Joseph took charge of 120  all the land of Egypt.

41:46 Now Joseph was 30 years old 121  when he began serving 122  Pharaoh king of Egypt. Joseph was commissioned by 123  Pharaoh and was in charge of 124  all the land of Egypt. 41:47 During the seven years of abundance the land produced large, bountiful harvests. 125  41:48 Joseph 126  collected all the excess food 127  in the land of Egypt during the seven years and stored it in the cities. 128  In every city he put the food gathered from the fields around it. 41:49 Joseph stored up a vast amount of grain, like the sand of the sea, 129  until he stopped measuring it because it was impossible to measure.

41:50 Two sons were born to Joseph before the famine came. 130  Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, was their mother. 131  41:51 Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, 132  saying, 133  “Certainly 134  God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s house.” 41:52 He named the second child Ephraim, 135  saying, 136  “Certainly 137  God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

41:53 The seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt came to an end. 41:54 Then the seven years of famine began, 138  just as Joseph had predicted. There was famine in all the other lands, but throughout the land of Egypt there was food. 41:55 When all the land of Egypt experienced the famine, the people cried out to Pharaoh for food. Pharaoh said to all the people of Egypt, 139 Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you.”

41:56 While the famine was over all the earth, 140  Joseph opened the storehouses 141  and sold grain to the Egyptians. The famine was severe throughout the land of Egypt. 41:57 People from every country 142  came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain because the famine was severe throughout the earth.

NET Bible Study Environment