|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
40:1-19 It was not so much the prison that made the butler and baker sad, as their dreams. God has more ways than one to sadden the spirits. Joseph had compassion towards them. Let us be concerned for the sadness of our brethren's countenances. It is often a relief to those that are in trouble to be noticed. Also learn to look into the causes of our own sorrow. Is there a good reason? Is there not comfort sufficient to balance it, whatever it is? Why art thou cast down, O my soul? Joseph was careful to ascribe the glory to God. The chief butler's dream foretold his advancement. The chief baker's dream his death. It was not Joseph's fault that he brought the baker no better tidings. And thus ministers are but interpreters; they cannot make the thing otherwise than it is: if they deal faithfully, and their message prove unpleasing, it is not their fault. Joseph does not reflect upon his brethren that sold him; nor does he reflect on the wrong done him by his mistress and his master, but mildly states his own innocence. When we are called on to clear ourselves, we should carefully avoid, as much as may be, speaking ill of others. Let us be content to prove ourselves innocent, and not upbraid others with their guilt.
Verse 4. - And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them (literally, set Joseph with them, i.e. as a companion or servant; to wait upon them, since they were high officers of State, not to keep watch over them as criminals), and he served them (i.e. acted as their attendant): and they continued a season in ward (literally, and they were days, i.e. an indefinite period, in prison).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them,.... Committed them to his care and custody, he being very probably recommended to him by the keeper of the prison for his prudence and fidelity; and if it was Potiphar, he knew his character full well, and might be now reconciled unto him, as having had a more full and clear account of the affair between him and his wife from the keeper of the prison; and therefore though he might not think fit for his own and his wife's reputation to remove him from prison as yet, nevertheless might be inclined to do him what service he could, as well as honour, as this was, to have two such state prisoners committed to his care. Some render it, "he committed Joseph with them" (x); to be with them, as Jarchi interprets it; they were put together, not merely for the sake of company, but that Joseph might wait upon them, which might be beneficial as well as creditable, as it follows:
and he served them; he ministered unto them, and brought them every thing they wanted:
and they continued a season in ward; or "days" (y); some certain days, many days, a year, as Jarchi and Ben Gersom interpret it, and which is sometimes the use of the word. The story of the butler and baker is told, partly to show the divine faculty of interpreting dreams Joseph was possessed of; and partly to observe the remarkable steps in Providence, though secret, towards his advancement in Pharaoh's court.
(x) "et commisit Josephum cum eis", Junius & Tremellius. (y) "per annum", Pagninus, Vatablus, Schmidt.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. The captain of the guard charged Joseph with them—not the keeper, though he was most favorably disposed; but Potiphar himself, who, it would seem, was by this time satisfied of the perfect innocence of the young Hebrew; though, probably, to prevent the exposure of his family, he deemed it prudent to detain him in confinement (see Ps 37:5).
They continued a season in ward—literally, "days," how long, is uncertain; but as they were called to account on the king's birthday, it has been supposed that their offense had been committed on the preceding anniversary [Calvin].
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