And they said to him [Joseph], “We each have had a dream, and there is no interpreter of it.” So Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me, please.”
Joseph, formerly the head servant in Potiphar’s household, was now a prisoner in an Egyptian dungeon. Yet God gave Joseph favor with the keeper of the prison, who eventually put Joseph in a leadership position over the other prisoners (Genesis 39:21-23).
Meanwhile, sometime during Joseph’s imprisonment, Pharaoh became angry with his chief butler and chief baker and had them imprisoned. The keeper of the prison put these two men under Joseph’s care (Genesis 40:1-4).
One night both the butler and baker had disturbing dreams. Joseph noticed the next morning that they both looked upset and asked them why. They told him of their dreams and explained they didn’t know of anyone who could interpret them. Joseph told them God could and asked for the details of their dreams (verses 5-8).
The chief butler described his dream first. He told Joseph about a vine that had three budding branches that produced clusters of grapes. In the dream, the butler pressed the grapes, put them into Pharaoh’s cup and served the cup to Pharaoh (verses 9-11).
Through God’s revelation, Joseph interpreted the dream for the butler. Joseph told the butler that the three branches represented three days—within three days he would be released and restored to his position as chief butler (verses 12-13). Joseph asked the butler to remember him when he was in Pharaoh’s presence again (verses 14-15).
Upon hearing the good meaning of the butler’s dream, the chief baker recounted his dream to Joseph. He dreamed that there were three white baskets on his head. The top basket was full of baked goods for the Pharaoh. But birds devoured the food while the basket was still on his head (verses 16-17).
Again, through God’s revelation, Joseph told the baker that the three baskets represented three days—within three days the baker would be hanged and the birds would eat the flesh from his dead body (verses 18-19).
The interpretation of the dreams provided by Joseph proved accurate. Within three days the chief butler was restored and the chief baker was hanged (verses 20-22).
But, perhaps in his relief and excitement to be restored to his position, the butler forgot to mention Joseph to Pharaoh (verse 23).
Unlike the butler, God did not forget Joseph. Likewise, we can be assured that God will fulfill His promise to never leave or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6).
Even though God occasionally used dreams and visions to communicate with mankind in Old Testament and early New Testament times, God mainly communicates with His people today through His Bible and through His Holy Spirit (Hebrews 1:1-2; John 14:26).
To learn more about God’s use of dreams in biblical history, read “Interpretation of Dreams.”
Tomorrow on the Daily Bible Verse Blog: “Joseph Called to Pharaoh’s Court.”