Genesis 40:11
And Pharaoh's cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand.
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(11) And pressed them.—Plutarch, Is. et Osir. § 6, says that before the time of Psammetichus the Egyptians did not drink wine, nor make libations of it to the gods. This statement has been abundantly disproved, and probably arose from the writer supposing that the custom of, possibly, one district was the universal rule. Nevertheless, the king’s drink here does not seem to have been fermented wine, but a sort of sherbet made of fresh grape-juice and water. It is a pleasant beverage, still much used in the East, but sometimes the grape juice is left till fermentation has just begun when it acquires a pleasant briskness, and is less cloying.

Into Pharaoh’s hand.—Heb., I placed the cup upon Pharaoh’s palm. The word is used in Genesis 32:25 of the hollow of Jacob’s thigh (see Note there). Here it means the hollow produced by bending the fingers inwards. Now the Hebrews always spoke of placing the cup in a person’s hand (Ezekiel 23:31, and see Psalm 75:8; Jeremiah 51:7); and even here Joseph, though probably speaking the Egyptian language, nevertheless used the Hebrew idiom, saying, thou wilt give Pharaoh’s cup into his hand. It is the Egyptian cup-bearer, who, using the idiom of his own country, speaks of placing the cup upon Pharaoh’s palm, the reason being that Egyptian cups had no stems, but were flat bowls or saucers, held in the very way which the cup-bearer describes.

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.The chief butler now recites his dream. "Pressed them into Pharaoh's cup." The imagery of the dream is not intended to intimate that Pharaoh drank only the fresh juice of the grape. It only expresses by a natural figure the source of wine, and possibly the duty of the chief butler to understand and superintend the whole process of its formation. Egypt was not only a corn, but a vine country. The interpretation of this dream was very obvious and natural; yet not without a divine intimation could it be known that the "three branches were three days." Joseph, in the quiet confidence that his interpretation would prove correct, begs the chief butler to remember him and endeavor to procure his release. "Stolen, stolen was I." He assures him that he was not a criminal, and that his enslavement was an act of wrongful violence - a robbery by the strong hand. "From the land of the Hebrews;" a very remarkable expression, as it strongly favors the presumption that the Hebrews inhabited the country before Kenaan took possession of it. "I have not done aught." Joseph pleads innocence, and claims liberation, not as an unmerited favor, but as a right. "The pit." The pit without water seems to have been the primitive place of confinement for culprits.Ge 40:9-15. The Butler's Dream.

9-11. In my dream, behold, a vine was before me—The visionary scene described seems to represent the king as taking exercise and attended by his butler, who gave him a cooling draught. On all occasions, the kings of ancient Egypt were required to practice temperance in the use of wine [Wilkinson]; but in this scene, it is a prepared beverage he is drinking, probably the sherbet of the present day. Everything was done in the king's presence—the cup was washed, the juice of the grapes pressed into it; and it was then handed to him—not grasped; but lightly resting on the tips of the fingers.

No text from Poole on this verse.

And Pharaoh's cup was in his hand,.... So it seemed to him in his dream, as it often had been when in his office:

and I took the grapes; from off the vine that was before him:

and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup; which some think was the custom of those times, to take a bunch of grapes and squeeze them into a cup, especially when they would make trial of what sort of wine they would produce; for it can hardly be thought that this was usually done, or that it was customary to drink such new wine; but it is more probable that the grapes were first pressed into another vessel, and so made wine of, and then poured into Pharaoh's cup, or mixed in it, though this circumstance is omitted. Indeed Herodotus (a) relates of the Egyptian priests, that wine pressed out of the vine is given them:

and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand; as he had used to do.

(a) Euterpe sive, l. 2. c. 37.

And Pharaoh's cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand.
11. pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup] The cupbearer did not squeeze grapes into his master’s cup in order to make wine. He squeezed, and at once the cup was full of wine. This is one of the fancies occurring in a dream. Dream-land is true to experience, and yet possesses, here and there, odd fantastic features. It is a feature in this dream that all the difficulties are successfully overcome; the chief butler, at the end of it, holds Pharaoh’s cup.

Genesis 40:11The cup-bearer gave this account: "In my dream, behold there was a vine before me, and on the vine three branches; and it was as though blossoming, it shot forth its blossom (נצּהּ either from the hapax l. נץ equals נצּה, or from נצּה with the fem. termination resolved into the 3 pers. suff.: Ewald, 257d), its clusters ripened into grapes. And Pharaoh's cup was in my hand; and I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand." In this dream the office and duty of the royal cup-bearer were represented in an unmistakeable manner, though the particular details must not be so forced as to lead to the conclusion, that the kings of ancient Egypt drank only the fresh juice of the grape, and not fermented wine as well. The cultivation of the vine, and the making and drinking of wine, among the Egyptians, are established beyond question by ancient testimony and the earliest monuments, notwithstanding the statement of Herodotus (2, 77) to the contrary (see Hengstenberg, Egypt and the Books of Moses, pp. 13ff.).
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