The Kraig Josiah Rice
Devotional Bible Commentary on Genesis

Genesis chapter 40

written by
Kraig J. Rice
www.7-star-admiral.com

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
(Clicking on these links will move you down this web page)
Genesis chapter forty
 Chapter 40 Joseph had the divine gift of prophecy
 Gen. 40:1 - 23 Joseph interpreted dreams
 God can turn a negative into a positive
 The dream symbols refer to Holy Communion
 Are you a responsible person?
 Have you been falsely accused?
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A devotional commentary is different from an exegetical commentary. In a devotional commentary like this one I can give the application of a verse rather than just the interpretation of a verse.






Genesis Chapter 40
Joseph had the divine gift of prophecy

"And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt. And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound. And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward. And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison. And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and, behold, they were sad. And he asked Pharaoh's officers that were with him in the ward of his lord's house, saying, wherefore look ye so sadly to day? And they said unto him, we have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you. And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, in my dream, behold, a vine was before me; and in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes: and Pharaoh's cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand. And Joseph said unto him, this is the interpretation of it: the three branches are three days: yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh's cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler. But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and show kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: for indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon. When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three white baskets on my head: and in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head. And Joseph answered and said, this is the interpretation thereof: the three baskets are three days: yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee. And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand: but he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him"
(Genesis 40:1-23).

Joseph interpreted the dreams of two men in prison with him):
Do you have the spiritual gift of prophecy?

Dream interpretation is part of the divine gift of prophecy. Paul the Apostle explained the spiritual gifts of God in his letter to the Corinthians. He taught about prophecy in these verses:
(1 Corinthians 12:10, 13:2, 14:1). The gift of prophecy was in use in the early church
(Acts 11:28, 21:10) and it is from God and it is for today. It is a spiritual gift from Him for the purpose of encouraging and building up His church. When this gift is verbally spoken in the church congregation, it sounds like "a message in tongues and the interpretation", except without the tongues.

God gave the divine gift of prophecy to Joseph, especially dream interpretation. Please notice that Joseph gave the glory to God when he stated: "do not (dream) interpretations belong to God?" Prophecy is one of the nine gifts of God the Holy Spirit. God can give any of His divine gifts to any of His children who ask Him and who He can trust. And when God gives you a gift, He expects you to use it in His service. You are to be a loving and humble instrument in His hands and are not to be prideful because He has given you such a gift
(1 Corinthians 13:2).

We can understand this gift a little better as we study the Prophet Daniel. He also had the divine gift of prophecy, especially dream interpretation
(Daniel 1:17). And He used it in the service of the Lord when he had to pray and ask God what the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was and also it's interpretation
(Daniel 2:28-49).

God has given to me the gift of discerning of spirits. I have used this gift many times in spiritual warfare in regards to my literature evangelism efforts for God and He gets the glory. He may have given to you spiritual gift(s) to use in His service.


Can something negative be turned into something positive?
(Did anything positive come from Joseph's slavery and false imprisonment
?):
Only God can turn something negative into something positive. There is an old saying: "when life gives you lemons, then make lemonade". However, Paul the Apostle put it in different words:

"And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us"
(Romans 5:3-5). "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose"
(Romans 8:28).

Let us look at a few examples from God's word where something positive came from something negative. The Prophet Jonah was disobedient to God and was swallowed by a great fish. That was negative. The fish vomited him onto a beach and Jonah went to Nineveh and preached a successful revival. That was positive. The early church was nearly persecuted out of Jerusalem. That was negative. Those folks scattered into many different parts of the world carrying the gospel news. Many folks were converted as a result. That was positive. The greatest was in relation to Jesus Christ. He was falsely imprisoned, condemned, and executed. That was negative. But, three days later, He resurrected from the grave. He preached for over a month and then ascended to Heaven. That was positive. And there are many more examples in God's word not mentioned here.

Joseph was sold into slavery, falsely accused, and thrown into prison. That was negative. In the trial of his faith, Joseph learned humility and patience. Then he was freed and helped to save Egypt and others from mass starvation. That was positive.

Are you going through something negative right now? Are you in a trial of your faith? Is God helping you to learn humility and patience? Or, maybe you are learning something else. Trials can be painful. Hang in there- God specializes in turning something negative into something positive for each of His children. Here are a few of my other web pages that may help encourage you as you go through your ordeal:

  • My distress and deliverance message
  • How to overcome discouragement
  • My message to ministers who need encouragement


    The dream symbols refer to Holy Communion
    (The prisoners dreamed about bread and wine
    ):
    One prisoner dreamed about wine and the other about bakemeats. What are bakemeats? The word bakemeats is an old English word that simply refers to bread and everything made with wheat such as biscuits, pastries, cakes, pie dough, etc. Bread and wine is a type for our Lord's Holy Communion. Did Joseph take Holy Communion with God? Literally, no, because he was in a jail cell and had no access to grape juice and unleavened bread. But, spiritually, I think he did in his heart. Why do I think that? To answer that question I want to ask you a question: what do you think Holy Communion really is? Is it just eating a cracker and drinking some grape juice? I think you will agree with me that it is more than just a meaningless church formality. The bread symbolizes our Lord's body that was broken for you and I, and the wine symbolizes His blood that was shed for the forgiveness of your sins and my sins. One prisoner dreamed about bread. How can that be a type for our Lord's body? The other prisoner dreamed about wine. How can that be a type for our Lord's blood? In order to spiritually understand these communion elements better, we need to spiritually understand a little more about our Lord's Last Supper. The Lord Himself gave us the spiritual meaning of these elements and types:
    "And He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, this is My body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of Me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you"
    (Luke 22:19-20).
    Also see John 6:50-51.

    Will you briefly teach us more about Jesus and Holy Communion? Yes. Holy Communion is a love service that shows a true believer's love, obedience, ownership, and service to God. That is what Joseph did towards God in his heart, and that is why God, through Paul the Apostle, gave this strict warning: "Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man (spiritually) examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body..."
    (1 Corinthians 11:27-29).
    God was extremely pleased with Joseph. The interpretation of the dreams of the two prisoners was a type of Joseph sharing Holy Communion with God. God not only honored Joseph for who he was, but also for what he did. What did he do? He came through a thirteen year Job's trial with his integrity and faith intact. Speaking from experience, Joseph could have only done that by having a deep personal relationship with God- giving God his love, obedience, ownership, and service. He suffered greatly.

    1. One prisoner had three baskets on his head with bread in the top basket that the birds ate. The devouring birds were symbolic of a devouring Satan who was bent on destruction. The hostile birds were eating the bread out of the basket that meant that the baker-cook was delivered to death. The baker-cook's body was lifted up for all to see. Jesus Christ was allowed to be given into the hands of evil persons who murdered Him on a cruel Roman cross. He was lifted up on the cross for all to see
    (John 3:14).

    2. Three days of inactivity passed for the cook-baker while he waited for his execution. Three days of inactivity passed for our Lord as He lay dead in the tomb after His execution by crucifixion. But in three days He came out of the tomb in His resurrection and is alive forever more
    (Matthew 16:21, 17:23, 20:19; Mark 9:31, 10:34; Luke 9:22, 18:33, 24:7,21,46).

    3. The butler stated "a vine was before me". He also stated "in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes: and Pharaoh's cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand". Notice that the vine "was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth". The vine that blossomed was a type for Jesus because Jesus stated: "I AM the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman"
    (John 15:1).
    That branch blossomed and produced much fruit. Jesus also stated: "I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing"
    (John 15:5).

    The butler served wine to Pharaoh. Bread and wine are the two elements in the Lord's Communion and are one ordinance of the church (the other ordinance being water baptism). The Apostle Paul stated: "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come"
    (1 Corinthians 11:26).


    Are you a responsible person? (however, the baker-cook was irresponsible):
    There is an old saying: "you can delegate authority but not responsibility". We are not told the story of the palace intrigue that led to the baker-cook being executed but we know that he was irresponsible. My guess is that there might have been one of two scenarios:
    The first scenario might have been an accident or oversight. Egypt had a hot climate and there were lots of bacteria in unrefrigerated meat when the weather got hot. It could be that the baker-cook purchased some tainted meat or let it get spoiled before he cooked it and served it to Pharaoh. Some cooked meat can taste good and still give one ptomaine poisoning. Salmonella and botulism can cause a lot of problems in humans. The baker-cook was the person responsible- all he had to do was to let his guard down for an instant so that the tainted food got served to the most powerful man in the world who got sick and nearly died. In that regard, the baker-cook was neglectful of his duties and punished by execution. It could be that the butler was to taste Pharaoh's food before Pharaoh ate it. Maybe the butler failed to do that or did taste the food and did not get sick. Anyway, he was also implicated in the crime.

    I was a cook in the U.S. Navy for several months on an aircraft carrier before I was transferred to inventory control duties. Our bakers were cooks but worked in the bake shop rather than in the galley (ship's kitchen). As a cook, we had to be very careful not to feed any contaminated food to the ship's personnel. A ship of war needs to be ready to fight at any moment and it cannot do that if it's personnel are sick. Nothing like that ever happened while I was there. We had an admiral aboard our ship and our carrier was his flagship. However, if it had happened, the supply officer of our S-2 division would probably have wound up relieved of his command and then would have been thrown into the ship's brig (jail) while awaiting his court martial.

    The second scenario might have been a deliberate conspiracy to poison Pharoah's food to murder him. The baker-cook was the guilty one. However, the person responsible for tasting the food only did so occasionally so the baker-cook thought he had a good chance to kill Pharoah. However, on that day, the food taster did his job and died. The baker-cook was arrested and thrown into prison. The butler, who served the food to Pharoah, was thought to have been one of the conspirators. He was arrested and thrown into prison but was falsely accused and innocent, like Joseph was. So, whatever the scenario was, Pharaoh's court was emotionally shaken.

    Let us shoulder as much responsibility as we can and not be like the baker-cook who was irresponsible. If you are not a responsible person already, I encourage you to start working towards that goal. As you grow in Christ, you should start becoming more responsible for Him- a little bit at a time. If you are already a responsible person, try not to take on more than you can handle- even Moses had to learn to share his responsibilities
    (Exodus chapter 18).


    Have you been falsely accused? (the butler was falsely accused):
    Pharaoh's butler was falsely accused and imprisoned in Egypt. In the U.S.A. today a person is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. At least that is how it is supposed to be. In my opinion, most of the time, law enforcement officials follow the correct criminal trail. However, sometimes, they follow the wrong trail and arrest the wrong person for a crime that he or she did not commit. Have you been falsely accused and imprisoned? If so, know for a certain that you have not been the first person on this earth this has happened to. The butler in this story was falsely accused and went to jail.

    Are there any other examples in God's word where this has happened? Yes. From this perspective:
    Jeremiah, the Prophet, was arrested for treason
    (Jeremiah chapter 38). Paul the Apostle was thought to be a murderer
    (Acts 21:38). John the Baptist was arrested for hate speech
    (Matthew 14:4), and Jesus Christ was falsely arrested, convicted, and executed for being a dangerous revolutionary
    (John chapter 19).

    If you have been falsely accused, just take care of your character and God will take care of your reputation.



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