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Genesis Chapter 40
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The Prisoner's Dreams
40:1 Soon after this, the Egyptian king's wine steward and baker offended their master, who was the king of Egypt.
40:2 Pharaoh was incensed at his two courtiers, the chief steward and chief baker,
40:3 and he had them arrested. They were placed in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same dungeon where Joseph was imprisoned.
40:4 They were under arrest for a long period of time, and the captain assigned Joseph to look after them.
40:5 One night, the two of them dreamed. The Egyptian king's steward and baker, who were imprisoned in the dungeon, each had a dream that seemed to have a special meaning.
40:6 When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were upset.
40:7 He tried to find out what was wrong with Pharaoh's courtiers who were his fellow prisoners in his master's house. 'Why do you look so worried today?' he asked.
40:8 'We [each] had a dream,' they replied, 'and there is no one [here] to interpret it.'

'Interpretations are God's business,' replied Joseph. 'If you want to, tell me about [your dreams].'

40:9 The chief steward related his dream to Joseph. 'In my dream,' he said, 'there was a grape vine right there in front of me.
40:10 The vine had three branches. As soon as its buds formed, its blossoms bloomed, and its clusters ripened into grapes.
40:11 Pharaoh's cup was in my hand. I took the grapes and squeezed them into Pharaoh's cup. Then I placed the cup in Pharaoh's hand.'
40:12 Joseph said to him, 'This is the interpretation: The three branches are three days.
40:13 In three days, Pharaoh will lift your head and give you back your position. You will place Pharaoh's cup in his hand, just as you did before, when you were his steward.
40:14 'But when things go well for you, just remember that I was with you. Do me a favor and say something about me to Pharaoh. Perhaps you will be able to get me out of this place.
40:15 I was originally kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and when I came here, I did not do anything to deserve being thrown in the dungeon.'
40:16 The chief baker saw that [Joseph] was able to give a good interpretation. He said to Joseph, 'I also saw myself in my dream. There were three baskets of fine white bread on my head.
40:17 In the top basket, there were all kinds of baked goods that Pharaoh eats. But birds were eating it from the basket on my head!'
40:18 Joseph replied, 'This is its interpretation: The three baskets are three days.
40:19 In three days, Pharaoh will lift your head - right off your body! He will hang you on a gallows, and the birds will eat your flesh.'
40:20 The third day was Pharaoh's birthday, and he made a feast for all his servants. Among his servants, he gave special attention to the chief wine steward and the chief baker.
40:21 He restored the chief steward to his position, and allowed him to place the cup in Pharaoh's hand.
40:22 The chief baker, however, was hanged, just as Joseph had predicted.
40:23 The chief steward did not remember Joseph. He forgot all about him.



Commentary:

Soon after this
  Literally, 'after these events.' See Genesis 39:7.

offended
  According to Midrashic tradition, there was a fly in the wine and a pebble in the bread (Bereshith Rabbah 88; Rashi). Others state that they tried to assassinate the king with poison (Targum Yonathan) or that they tried to seduce his daughter (Bereshith Rabbah).

captain of the guard
  Potiphar. See Genesis 37:36.

special meaning
  Literally, 'each one like the interpretation of the dream.' This means that the dream had a special meaning (Rashbam). Others, 'a portentious dream' (Rashi), or 'a dream with its interpretation' (Ibn Ezra; Bereshith Rabbah 88). Some translate it, 'a dream with personal significance,' or 'a dream needing interpretation.'

lift your head
  Idiom for 'single you out', or 'give you special consideration.'

saw myself...
  (Hirsch).

fine white bread
  (Targum Yonathan; Yerushalmi, Betza 2:6; Rambam on Eduyoth 3:10; Ibn Ezra; Ramban; cf. Septuagint; Josephus 2:5:3). Chori in Hebrew, probably something white. Others interpret it as 'baskets of biscuits' (Radak, Sherashim); 'baskets of twigs' (Rashi); 'white baskets' (Ibn Janach); or 'perforated baskets' (Rashbam). In ancient Egyptian, khara means woven.

gave special attention
  Literally, 'lifted the heads of,' see Genesis 40:13.





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