Joseph’s stuck in jail. We don’t know how many years he was in jail, but we know it was more than two.

God was with Joseph as He had been at Potiphar’s house. The warden of the prison, seeing that Joseph is responsible and trustworthy, puts him in charge of everything including the other prisoners.

Because of his position in the jail, Joseph gets to know two prisoners who used to work directly for Pharoah. And then it starts to get interesting…

Genesis 40:1-23

Some time later, Pharaoh’s chief cup-bearer and chief baker offended their royal master. 2 Pharaoh became angry with these two officials, 3 and he put them in the prison where Joseph was, in the palace of the captain of the guard. 4 They remained in prison for quite some time, and the captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, who looked after them.

5 While they were in prison, Pharaoh’s cup-bearer and baker each had a dream one night, and each dream had its own meaning. 6 When Joseph saw them the next morning, he noticed that they both looked upset. 7 “Why do you look so worried today?” he asked them.

8 And they replied, “We both had dreams last night, but no one can tell us what they mean.”

“Interpreting dreams is God’s business,” Joseph replied. “Go ahead and tell me your dreams.”

9 So the chief cup-bearer told Joseph his dream first. “In my dream,” he said, “I saw a grapevine in front of me. 10 The vine had three branches that began to bud and blossom, and soon it produced clusters of ripe grapes. 11 I was holding Pharaoh’s wine cup in my hand, so I took a cluster of grapes and squeezed the juice into the cup. Then I placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.”

12 “This is what the dream means,” Joseph said. “The three branches represent three days. 13 Within three days Pharaoh will lift you up and restore you to your position as his chief cup-bearer. 14 And please remember me and do me a favor when things go well for you. Mention me to Pharaoh, so he might let me out of this place. 15 For I was kidnapped from my homeland, the land of the Hebrews, and now I’m here in prison, but I did nothing to deserve it.”

16 When the chief baker saw that Joseph had given the first dream such a positive interpretation, he said to Joseph, “I had a dream, too. In my dream there were three baskets of white pastries stacked on my head. 17 The top basket contained all kinds of pastries for Pharaoh, but the birds came and ate them from the basket on my head.”

18 “This is what the dream means,” Joseph told him. “The three baskets also represent three days. 19 Three days from now Pharaoh will lift you up and impale your body on a pole. Then birds will come and peck away at your flesh.”

20 Pharaoh’s birthday came three days later, and he prepared a banquet for all his officials and staff. He summoned his chief cup-bearer and chief baker to join the other officials. 21 He then restored the chief cup-bearer to his former position, so he could again hand Pharaoh his cup. 22 But Pharaoh impaled the chief baker, just as Joseph had predicted when he interpreted his dream. 23 Pharaoh’s chief cup-bearer, however, forgot all about Joseph, never giving him another thought.

To Think About…

The opportunity to interpret these dreams never would have happened had God not been with Joseph, making everything he did successful. It also seems like Joseph is gifted organizationally because this is the second time that he is put in charge of everything. This is unusual, especially considering that in the first case he is a slave and in the second he is a prisoner! Not positions that often turn into leadership positions.

It certainly seems that God is working behind the scenes throughout this story, that He is orchestrating a master plan and Joseph is His key player. Of course, in the midst of the story, Joseph could not know what everything is leading towards. All he could do was continue to trust that God was working.

What an interesting coincidence that the baker and the cupbearer have dreams, and that Joseph was able to interpret them. It was a dream that got him in all this trouble to begin with, and now dreams were becoming the central piece to the next chapter in his story.

Do you think that God was using these dreams of the baker and the cupbearer as a way to encourage Joseph and strengthen his faith?

To communicate to Joseph that He was still with Him?

What are some ways that God communicates with you, and what is it you’ve heard God say?

Life looked promising for Joseph for awhile, but the cupbearer forgot all about him. And Joseph remained stuck in jail. In fact, he was in jail for another two years!

Do you think in those two years that Joseph ever had times of doubting God’s plan for him or became discouraged because of his situation?

Sometimes when we are in the pits… when life is really getting us down… we need to think back on those times when God was most real to us, when we were most sure of His love for us. It is reflecting on those things that gives us strength and encouragement when we need it most.