Genesis 40


Summary of Genesis 37-50:
God saves his family as a foreshadowing of how he will save the world. Forgiveness solves the problem of sin and allows for re-creation.
Have you ever dreamed of becoming royalty?
What life events maintain your direction? What life events change your direction?
Prophet, then Wise Man motif
Abraham (I would add Jacob) -> Joseph
[archetype] Moses -> Joshua (Deut. 34:9-10)
David -> Solomon
John the Baptist -> Jesus (Is. 11:2)
God “remembering” already a theme in Genesis:
Noah, Abraham, Rachel (8:1; 19:29; 30:22)
Do you ever hear a song that sounds suspiciously like another one?
Are you forgetful?
How has your backstory prepared you for a recent episode?
What kind of pressure makes integrity harder? Easier?
Genesis 40:1–4 CSB
After this, the king of Egypt’s cupbearer and baker offended their master, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guards in the prison where Joseph was confined. The captain of the guards assigned Joseph to them as their personal attendant, and they were in custody for some time.
Genesis 40:5–8 CSB
The king of Egypt’s cupbearer and baker, who were confined in the prison, each had a dream. Both had a dream on the same night, and each dream had its own meaning. When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they looked distraught. So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were in custody with him in his master’s house, “Why do you look so sad today?” “We had dreams,” they said to him, “but there is no one to interpret them.” Then Joseph said to them, “Don’t interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.”
Genesis 40:9–15 CSB
So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph: “In my dream there was a vine in front of me. On the vine were three branches. As soon as it budded, its blossoms came out 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 placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.” “This is its interpretation,” Joseph said to him. “The three branches are three days. In just three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position. You will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand the way you used to when you were his cupbearer. But when all goes well for you, remember that I was with you. Please show kindness to me by mentioning me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this prison. For I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing that they should put me in the dungeon.”
Genesis 40:16–19 CSB
When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was positive, he said to Joseph, “I also had a dream. Three baskets of white bread were on my head. In the top basket were all sorts of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.” “This is its interpretation,” Joseph replied. “The three baskets are three days. In just three days Pharaoh will lift up your head—from off you—and hang you on a tree. Then the birds will eat the flesh from your body.”
Genesis 40:20–23 CSB
On the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, he gave a feast for all his servants. He elevated the chief cupbearer and the chief baker among his servants. Pharaoh restored the chief cupbearer to his position as cupbearer, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand. But Pharaoh hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had explained to them. Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.
Genesis 12–50 Application Overview

Application Overview

The story of Joseph in Potiphar’s house is a well-known example of how to resist temptation. Joseph’s refusal of Potiphar’s wife shows his loyalty to both his earthly master and his heavenly master (Gen 39:8–9). In some ways, his actions can be compared to the two greatest commandments (Matt 22:37–40). In resisting temptation, Joseph showed his love for God as well as his love for his “neighbor,” Potiphar. We find a literal example of Paul’s admonishment to “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Cor 6:18) in Joseph, who flees when Potiphar’s wife persists.

Genesis 39 also provides an example of how to deal with trials. It would have been easy for Joseph to be discouraged. He had been sold into slavery by his own family, and as soon as things started going well for him again, he was falsely accused and thrown into prison. But throughout these trails, Joseph did not complain. Instead, he remained faithful to God.

Genesis 12–50 Application Overview

Joseph’s story is a practical example of someone who perseveres through trials. At this point in his life, it seems that everything has gone wrong. His brothers sold him to slave traders. After achieving some success as a slave in Egypt, he was falsely accused of attempted rape—in revenge for his honest behavior—and thrown into prison. Now, when it seems like he might have a chance to be freed (Gen 40:14–15), the chief cupbearer forgets him, condemning him to two more years in prison (Gen 40:23–41:1).

Genesis 12–50 Application Overview

The text does not tell us how Joseph responded to these circumstances. His actions seem to be the actions of a man who trusts God. Looking back on his life, he will acknowledge that “God meant it for good” (Gen 50:20). The apostle Peter tells his readers that it “is a gracious thing when … one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly” (1 Pet 2:19 ESV). Joseph, who was imprisoned under false accusations, suffered unjustly. Yet God remained with him through all his trials (Gen 39:2, 21, 23), and Joseph remained dedicated to God (Gen 40:8; 41:16).

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