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Preparation for the King — Genesis Chapter 40

This blog post will cover the devotionals #167, 168 for Genesis Chapter 40.


Please note that this devotional book is for sale as a physical (paperback) &/or digital (PDF) book on my website.


[167] Genesis 40:1-8

After Joseph had impressed his prison guard, Pharaoh threw two of his own men into prison. They were his chief butler and chief baker. As with others that the guard had put under Joseph’s care, these were in his charge as well, and he served them for a while. One night, God gave them both a dream, and they awoke troubled because they felt the dreams were significant. However, they didn’t understand their meanings. Joseph noticed they were bothered, and he asked why. Once they told him, he said “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me, I beg you.” In Daniel 2:28-30, we see a similar interchange between Daniel and King Nebuchadnezzar, who didn’t know the meaning of his own prophetic dream (he couldn’t even remember the dream itself). Daniel had an opportunity to gain great favor and reputation, but he ascribed all the glory to God. “There is a God in Heaven that reveals secrets and makes known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head on your bed, are these; as for you, oh king, your thoughts came into your mind on your bed about what will happen afterwards: and He that reveals secrets makes known to you what will happen. But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than anyone else living, but for their sakes that will make the interpretation known to the king, and that you might know the thoughts of your heart.” In devotional #171, we’ll see Joseph do something very similar when he also interprets the dream of Pharaoh himself.

[168] Genesis 40:9-23

The chief butler started with his dream. He saw a vine with three branches. It budded in front of him, blossoms came out quickly, and their clusters produced ripe grapes. The butler had Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, and he squeezed the grapes into the cup and gave it to Pharaoh. Joseph quickly interpreted the dream. The three branches represented three days, and within three actual days, Pharaoh would retrieve the butler from the prison and restore him to his position, where he’d continue giving Pharaoh his cup as before. He was right. After three days, it was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he prepared a feast for his servants, and retrieved his chief butler from the prison and restored him to his position of serving him wine. Proverbs 16:14, 15 says, “The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it. In the light of the king’s countenance is life; and his favor is as a cloud of the latter rain.” The butler could greatly relate to this passage. Being thrown into a prison by the king himself didn’t likely leave him with much hope for his job, let alone his life. Yet, whatever he did or didn’t do, the king was appeased by him. Thus, the butler was a wise man. When the king restored him to his position (showing him favor), the butler experienced a revival of hope and life. Joseph hoped to experience the same favor showered upon him by Pharaoh. After Joseph gave the butler the good news of his coming blessing, he saw the opportunity to look for a way to speak directly to Pharaoh himself about his own stay in the prison. He shared with the butler that he’d been put there as an innocent man, after already having been sold as a slave far from his home. He asked the butler to remember him when things go well for him, and to inform Pharaoh of him. Naturally, the butler was relieved at the good hope he was given for his dream, but also for the fact that it came true. He'd intended to do the favor Joseph touchingly asked of him, but unfortunately, he forgot. This was a sign of ingratitude. In devotional #169, we’ll see just how long it took the chief butler to remember Joseph’s request and service towards him. Not only had Joseph provided great relief by interpreting his dream, but he’d also treated him with great kindness and interest. After the good news the butler got, the baker gained courage to share his own dream in return for the interpretation—no doubt hoping for the same good news. In his dream, he had three white baskets on his head, and in the top basket, there were all types of foods for Pharaoh. However, the birds were eating the foods out of the basket on his head. Joseph again quickly interpreted the dream for him, saying that the three baskets also represented the same three days, and that he too would be retrieved from the prison, but he’d be hanged on a tree (instead of being restored to his position), and the birds would eat the flesh off his body. Joseph had showed the same kind treatment and interest in the baker as he had towards the butler, and his sympathetic heart was immediately saddened when he understood his gloomy fate. However, he had to be honest with him as well, despite the opposite effect it’d have on his mind (compared to the relief the butler experienced). Unfortunately for the baker, this dream also came true. The same day the butler was restored, the baker was hanged. Recall that Joseph himself had two very significant dreams given as prophecies by God, and by this time, still didn’t even know the meaning of his own dreams yet, so it makes me wonder if it impacted him to be given the meaning of two other men’s significant, prophetic dreams.

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