Genesis 40 (ESV)

Some time after this, the cupbearer of the king of Egypt and his baker committed an offense against their lord the king of Egypt. 2 And Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, 3 and he put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prison where Joseph was confined. 4 The captain of the guard appointed Joseph to be with them, and he attended them. They continued for some time in custody.

5 And one night they both dreamed—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison—each his own dream, and each dream with its own interpretation. 6 When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were troubled. 7 So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in custody in his master’s house, “Why are your faces downcast today?” 8 They said to him, “We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.” And Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me.” . . . Continue Reading


Genesis 40 opens with the imprisonment of two officers of Pharaoh, the cupbearer and his baker. While their offenses are not revealed in the text, whatever they did caused Pharaoh to be angry enough to confine them to the prison where Joseph was being held.

As we read in the previous chapter, “the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison” (Genesis 39:22). One of the ways Joseph “took charge” of these two prisoners was to notice they were downcast one morning and in Genesis 40:7 asks “Why are your faces downcast today?” Twice in the previous chapter (Genesis 39:21; Genesis 39:23) we read that the Lord was with Joseph while he was in prison. Because the Lord was with him, he could rise above his circumstances and have empathy and compassion for the two former officers of Pharaoh who committed offenses that resulted in their imprisonment even though Joseph himself was wrongly imprisoned.

This is what a leader looks like who has the Lord with him! And what a wonderful glimpse of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was innocent and imprisoned yet had empathy and compassion for us who committed offenses that resulted in our imprisonment and guilt before God.

It’s interesting in Genesis 40:8, Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me.” Because he was a dreamer (Genesis 37:5-11; Genesis 37:18-20) and because the Lord was with him, he wanted them to share their dreams with him.

The cupbearer shares his dream with Joseph and Joseph interprets it. It’s good news for the cupbearer who in three days will be released from prison and restored to his former office and once again place the cup in Pharaoh’s hand as before. However, it’s not good news for the baker who after telling Joseph his dream, learned through Joseph’s interpretation that in three days Pharaoh would hang him from a tree.

This is another glimpse of our Lord Jesus who was crucified and three days later, rose from the grave and was restored to His former office with the Father.

After sharing his interpretations with the cupbearer and baker, he asks them to remember him when they meet with Pharaoh so he could be released from prison since he was wrongly imprisoned. But they didn’t remember Joseph and on the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, he restored the cupbearer to his position and hanged the chief baker just as Joseph had interpreted (Genesis 40:20-23).

Two Men. Two Dreams. Two Interpretations. Two Outcomes.

Father, help me to walk in the reality that you are with me in all the circumstances of life – not just so I can live an abundant life with You during difficult times, but that I may have empathy and compassion for others during their challenges so that you may be glorified. Amen.

Thank you for reading my daily online journal today. Far from commentaries these are just my initial thoughts after reflecting on what I’ve read from a chapter in God’s Word each morning. This not only helps me apply what I’ve read because I’m reflecting and sharing instead of only reading but it also allows me to encourage others to prayerfully consider doing the same.

In His Care,

~Scott Quillin