Genesis – Chapter 40

The Bible – Old Testament



Chapter 40


Some time afterward, the royal cupbearer and baker gave offense to their lord, the king of Egypt.


Pharaoh was angry with his two courtiers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker,


and he put them in custody in the house of the chief steward (the same jail where Joseph was confined).


The chief steward assigned Joseph to them, and he became their attendant. After they had been in custody for some time,


the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt who were confined in the jail both had dreams on the same night, each dream with its own meaning.


When Joseph came to them in the morning, he noticed that they looked disturbed.


So he asked Pharaoh’s courtiers who were with him in custody in his master’s house, «Why do you look so sad today?»


They answered him, «We have had dreams, but there is no one to interpret them for us.» Joseph said to them, «Surely, interpretations come from God. Please tell the dreams to me.»


Then the chief cupbearer told Joseph his dream. «In my dream,» he said, «I saw a vine in front of me,


and on the vine were three branches. It had barely budded when its blossoms came out, and its clusters ripened into grapes.


Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand; so I took the grapes, pressed them out into his cup, and put it in Pharaoh’s hand.»


Joseph said to him: «This is what it means. The three branches are three days;


1 within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your post. You will be handing Pharaoh his cup as you formerly used to do when you were his cupbearer.


So if you will still remember, when all is well with you, that I was here with you, please do me the favor of mentioning me to Pharaoh, to get me out of this place.


The truth is that I was kidnaped from the land of the Hebrews, and here I have not done anything for which I should have been put into a dungeon.»


When the chief baker saw that Joseph had given this favorable interpretation, he said to him: «I too had a dream. In it I had three wicker baskets on my head;


in the top one were all kinds of bakery products for Pharaoh, but the birds were pecking at them out of the basket on my head.»


Joseph said to him in reply: «This is what it means. The three baskets are three days;


within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and have you impaled on a stake, and the birds will be pecking the flesh from your body.»


And in fact, on the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, when he gave a banquet to all his staff, with his courtiers around him, he lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and chief baker.


He restored the chief cupbearer to his office, so that he again handed the cup to Pharaoh;


but the chief baker he impaled-just as Joseph had told them in his interpretation.


Yet the chief cupbearer gave no thought to Joseph; he had forgotten him.

1 [13] Lift up your head: signifying «pardon you.» In ⇒ Genesis 40:19 «to lift up the head» means «to behead»; and finally, in ⇒ Genesis 40:20, the same expression means «to review the case (of someone).» Joseph couches his interpretation of the dreams in equivocal terms.