In prison, Joseph was the second in command to the captain of the guard. We are not sure where his life was headed but this chapter gives us the purpose of these seemingly unfortunate turn of events.
For reasons not known to us, Pharaoh is ticked off by his head cup-bearer and his chief baker and had ordered that they be put in prison, in the same prison where Joseph was confined. As it would happen, the captain of the guard put Joseph in-charge of these high-ranking officials to attend to their needs.
One day, both the baker and the cup bearer had a weird dream that they could not understand. On inquiring, Joseph found out the reason for their dejection and promptly called on the name of the Lord to interpret their dreams.
So, the chief cup-bearer told Joseph his dream. “In my dream I saw a vine in front of me, and on the vine were three branches. As soon as it budded, it blossomed, and its clusters ripened into grapes. Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup and put the cup in his hand.”Genesis 40:9-14
Joseph said to him. “The three branches are three days. Within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position, and you will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you used to do when you were his cup-bearer. But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison.”
The Chief Baker, who had a similar dream, saw the positive answer Joseph gave his colleague and came forward to inquire about his dream. Unfortunately, for him, he did not get a favorable interpretation.
“Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head and impale your body on a pole. And the birds will eat away your flesh.”Genesis 40:19
Three days later, just as Joseph had interpreted, the cup bearer was restored to his old position, (probably the same salary package with dental) and the baker was impaled. But the Chief Cup Bearer, did not remember Joseph and went on with his life.
More than two years, Joseph remained in prison and while he was working, I am sure he would not have been able to devote time to God, but this alone time would have been a preparation for him for what was to come next.
Although, people may forget those who have helped them, God never forgets those who belong to him. Perhaps, this was a time of spiritual development for Joseph. Although nothing negative is said about Joseph in this account, perhaps, he needed this time to prepare himself for the responsibilities God had in store for him.
Often times we want humans to remember us. We seek the favor of our fellow men and women and long for their affection, especially during our present state. But the one who is within us, who is constantly seeking us, who always remembers us and has carved us in the palm of his hands, we treat Him indifferently or maybe even take Him for granted.
We need to stop depending on fellow beings, who are sinful just like us and start longing for God during our boons and especially during our banes.
Questions Discussed in this Podcast –
V8 How is Joseph able to interpret the dreams of the baker and the cup bearer?
V14 Why is Joseph looking for man’s favor?
V16 Why did the baker wait for a favorable interpretation for the cup bearer’s dream before telling his own dream to Joseph?
What must be going through Joseph’s mind when he realized that the cup bearer forgot him?
What goes through our minds when we put our trust on man/woman?