Genesis Bible study: Chapter 40–41
Joseph: From dreaming to interpreting
Pharaoh’s chief cup-bearer and chief baker offended him, so he had them thrown in prison. In prison, they were assigned to Joseph, to be taken care of.
One day, the chief cup-bearer and the chief baker had dreams and they were greatly disturbed.
Joseph noticed their countenance.
“When Joseph saw them the next morning, he noticed that they both looked upset. “Why do you look so worried today?” he asked them.
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.””
Genesis 40:6–8 NLT
Both the cup bearer and the baker told their dreams to Joseph, he interpreted them and they came to pass just as he had interpreted.
The baker would be put to death while the cup-bearer would be restored back to his position in 3 days.
As the cup-bearer was leaving prison, Joseph asked him to mention his case and his wrongful imprisonment to Pharaoh.
“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.”
Genesis 40:14 NLT
“Pharaoh’s chief cup-bearer, however, forgot all about Joseph, never giving him another thought.”
Genesis 40:23 NLT
Nawa o, Mr Cup-bearer.
The Pharaoh of Egypt had 2 disturbing dreams in one night. He told the dreams to all the magicians and wise men in Egypt, but they weren’t able to interpret the dream.
It was at this point that the cup bearer remembered Joseph and told the Pharaoh about him and how he helped interpret his dream.
The Pharaoh sent for Joseph at once.
Joseph who was still in prison, shaved, changed his clothes and then presented himself before the Pharaoh. I’m not even joking.
“Pharaoh sent for Joseph at once, and he was quickly brought from the prison. After he shaved and changed his clothes, he went in and stood before Pharaoh.”
Genesis 41:14 NLT
It’s amazing how Joseph thought to look presentable before appearing before the Pharaoh. He didn’t want to look like the prisoner that he was.
“Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream last night, and no one here can tell me what it means. But I have heard that when you hear about a dream you can interpret it.”
“It is beyond my power to do this,” Joseph replied. “But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease.””
Genesis 41:15–16 NLT
Once again, Jospeh does not take credit for his ability to interpret dreams and gives al the credit to God.
Pharaoh had 2 dreams.
In the first there were 7 fat cows and 7 skinny cows and they were grazing by the Nile river. The 7 skinny cows ate the 7 fat cows and remained skinny.
In the second dream, there were 7 full heads of grain and 7 withered heads of grain, the withered ones at the full ones and remained withered.
Joseph then interpreted the dream. There was going to be 7 years of plenty harvest in the land and 7 years of famine that would be so terrible that everyone would forget that the years of plenty existed.
Joseph then went the extra mile and gave a solution to this. He suggests that they gather enough grain and store it in storehouses for the next 7 years of plenty. So that in the 7 years of famine to come there would be enough food for them to survive. He also suggested that a man be put in charge of all this.
“Joseph responded, “Both of Pharaoh’s dreams mean the same thing. God is telling Pharaoh in advance what He is about to do.”
Genesis 41:25 NLT
This verse reminds me of another one
“Indeed, the Sovereign Lord never does anything until he reveals his plans to his servants the prophets.”
Amos 3:7 NLT
God usually warns us. Sometimes we don’t listen. Sometimes we don’t understand what God has said. Sometimes the ‘Prophets’ that God revealed things to, are not bold enough to share what they received from God. But God always does His part by fore-warning us.
“As for having two similar dreams, it means that these events have been decreed by God, and He will soon make them happen.”
Genesis 41:32 NLT
Have you ever had 2 similar dreams? You might want to be super observant and ask God for the meaning.
Joseph’s suggestions were well received by the Pharaoh and other officials.
The Pharaoh then put Joseph in charge of the gathering of the food for the time of famine. He made Joseph the second in command and gave Joseph his signet ring. Joseph sat in the chariot reserved for the second in command and an instruction was given that anyone who saw him should bow.
Just like in Joseph’s dream.
Joseph was given a wife as well and with her he had 2 sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.
As predicted, the 7 years of plenty came, as did the 7 years of famine. The Egyptians had stored enough food for themselves and were even able to sell to other neighboring countries (The famine affected the whole world)
Joseph was such a kind hearted person. He observed that his fellow prisoners were upset and he cared enough to ask.
If he didn’t ask, he wouldn’t have interpreted the dream for the cup bearer that eventually helped him to leave prison. Little acts of kindness go a very long way.
Joseph did not give himself any praise or any credit for his gift of interpreting dreams. He recognized that it was God at work in him that made it possible to interpret the dreams.
God intentionally allowed everything to happen to Joseph so he would learn leadership skills as well as humility.
Joseph was 17 when he first had his dreams and 30 when his dreams eventually happened. God has his own time table for things and we must trust Him to work things out at His own best time.