About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Cupbearer And The Baker (ch. 40:1 - 23)
In verse 1 we see the
phrase "king of
In verse 1 we are
introduced to two men, the cup bearer, and the baker.
The cupbearer would bring wine to the king and taste the wine
before the king drank it to make sure it was good wine, and especially
to make sure it was not poison.
In verses 2 and 3 we note
that for some reason the king got very angry with the cupbearer and the
baker. We note here that
both of these men where in charge of their respective departments.
Why the king was angry with these men, we don't know.
He was so angry the he put them both in prison, under the control
of the "captain of the guards".
Many scholars feel this captain was Potiphar because he is seen
as the captain of the guards in the last chapter.
We also learn from this verse that Joseph was in the same prison
and Potiphar put him there.
Concerning the baker,
history tells us that Egyptian culture had many kinds of breads and
cakes. It is said that they had 38 different kinds of cakes and 57
different kinds of bread.
The NIV says in verse 3
that Joseph was "confined".
Other translations use other words such as "bound".
Egyptian prisoners were normally bound at the ankles in chains so
they could not go far.
In verse 4 we learn that
the captain of the guard put the cupbearer and the baker under Joseph's
authority. We learned from
the last chapter that Joseph had once again gained respect, even in
prison, and so he had some authority over the other prisoners.
And, if the captain of the guard was indeed Potiphar, that goes
to show that Potiphar did respect Joseph even when he was in prison.
It also may suggest that Potiphar did not fully trust his wife,
or believe that Joseph had actually raped her, as we discussed in the
In verses 4 and 5 we
learn that Joseph had now been in prison for a long time.
How long, we don't know, but we do know that God was with Joseph
which can be seen in this chapter. We
often don't attribute bad things happening to men of God, but the Bible
shows just the opposite to be true.
Many great men of the Bible suffered greatly, all in the cause
and plan of the Lord.
We see in verses 6 and 7
that one day Joseph came into the room where the cupbearer and the baker
were and he saw that they looked very dejected.
He asked them why they looked so unhappy.
7 the prison is called Joseph's "master's house".
This is yet another point to suggest that this was the prison
that Potiphar was in charge of, because we know that Potiphar was, and
it appears still is, Joseph's master.
In verse 8 the two men
told Joseph that they both woke up that morning, each having a
Joseph answers by saying
that interpretations of dreams come only from God. Again,
the Hebrew word "Elohim" is translated as God here.
He is the all-powerful most high God.
Then he asked the men to tell him the dream.
Right away Joseph is distinguishing himself as someone who is
connected with God. He
certainly is set apart from his other brothers in that respect.
They were far from a godly group of men.
If you remember, when
Joseph was seventeen years old he had a couple of dreams himself.
It appears now that he had also received the gift of interpreting
dreams at some point in his life, maybe even when he was seventeen.
In verses 9 through 11
the cupbearer proceeds to tell Joseph his dream.
He saw a vine with three branches full of blossoms that soon
turned into grapes, and that soon fermented.
He squeezed the grapes and put the wine in the king's cup and
gave the wine to the king.
Joseph interprets the
dream in verse 12 and 13. He
said that the three branches are three days and within three days
Pharaoh would "lift up" the cupbearers head and restore him to
the position he once had. That
was good news to the cup bearer. I'm
sure the baker was listening and expected good news as well, or at least
hoped to hear good news.
Notice the phrase,
"lift up your head". The
same phrase will be used in connection to the baker's dream but in a
very different way.
Since the cupbearer would
be restored to his position Joseph took the opportunity to ask him to
remember him to Pharaoh so Pharaoh would let him out of prison.
Joseph explains that he is a Hebrew and was sold into slavery and
put into prison for no reason. He
wanted out. It turns out
that the cupbearer forgot about Joseph for two whole years.
In verses 16 and 17 we
see the baker's dream. He
was walking with three baskets full of bread on his head.
Birds came and ate the bread.
Joseph interprets the
baker's dream in verse 18 and 19. The
three baskets represent three days.
In three days Pharaoh would "lift up the baker's head",
hang him, and the birds would eat his flesh.
I'm sure the baker wasn't impressed.
We should note here that
the baker did not die from a hanging.
He had his head chopped off and after that, he was hung.
This was often done in Egyptian culture.
The dead body would be put on display and the birds would indeed
eat the flesh. This was
meant to be a deterrent for perspective criminals.
Even when Jesus was hung on the cross, He hung in a very public
place just outside of
It turns out, in verse
20, that the third day from the day when Joseph interpreted the dreams
it was Pharaoh's birthday. The
verse says "he lifted the heads" of both the cup bearer and
the baker. The same phrase
is used for both, but with two different results and meanings. Verse
21 says just that.
Verse 21 says that
Pharaoh hanged the baker, but once again, the baker was hung after his
head was cut off.
Verse 23 closes this
chapter. The cup bearer did
not remember Joseph after he was set free.
Joseph is often seen as a
type of Jesus, as a prophetic symbol.
Some put more stock in these types than others.
For those who do, it seems to me, that if there is any prophetic
significance to this story, part would be these two men.
One was saved, and one wasn't.
Like the two thieves on the cross with Jesus, one was save, and
It is interesting to
compare these two dreams with Jesus' death on the cross.
I think there might be some prophetic significance in these two
dreams and the way in which they were fulfilled.
When Jesus died on the cross, his body, like the baker's body,
hung on the cross in a public place.
Most bodies hung on Roman crosses for a few days.
Jesus' body didn't because He died the same day He was placed on
the cross. It often took a
couple of days for a person to die on the cross.
Bird's would often come and peck away at the body, as they did
with the baker's body. The
baker's dream could possibly represent Jesus' death on the cross for our
sins. The cupbearer's dream
then could represent the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.