Genesis 40:12
And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days:
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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.12-15. Joseph said, … This is the interpretation—Speaking as an inspired interpreter, he told the butler that within three days he would be restored to all the honors and privileges of his office; and while making that joyful announcement, he earnestly bespoke the officer's influence for his own liberation. Nothing has hitherto met us in the record indicative of Joseph's feelings; but this earnest appeal reveals a sadness and impatient longing for release, which not all his piety and faith in God could dispel. i.e. Signify

three days. So that word is oft used, as Genesis 40:18 41:26,27 Da 2:38 4:22 Matthew 13:19,38 26:26,28 Lu 8:11 1 Corinthians 10:4. And indeed there is no proper Hebrew word which answers to signify.

And Joseph said unto him, this is the interpretation of it,.... Of the dream:

the three branches are three days; signify three days, or, as Jarchi expresses it, are a sign of three days; which Joseph could know only by divine revelation; for there is no more likeness between branches and days, than between them and months or years, and bid as fair to signify one as the other, if the interpretation depended on similarity, or bare conjecture.

And Joseph said unto him, This {d} is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days:

(d) He was reassured by the spirit of God, that his interpretation was true.

Verses 12-15. - And Joseph (acting no doubt under a Divine impulse) said unto him, This is the interpretation of it (cf. ver. 18; 41:12, 25; Judges 7:14; Daniel 2:36; Daniel 4:19): The three branches (vide supra, ver. 10) are three days: - literally, three days these (cf. Genesis 41:26) - yet within three days (literally, in yet three days, i.e. within three more days, before the third day is over) shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, - not μνησθήσεται τῆς ἀρχῆς σου (LXX.), record-abitur ministerii tui (Vulgate), a rendering which has the sanction of Onkelos, Samaritan, Jarchi, Rosenmüller, and others; but shall promote thee from the depths of thy humiliation (Gesenius, Furst, Keil, Kalisch, &c.), to which there is an assonance, and upon which there is an intentional play, in the opposite phrase employed to depict the fortunes of the baker (vide infra, ver. 19) and restore thee unto thy place: - epexegetic of the preceding clause, the כֵּן (or pedestal, from כָּגַן, unused, to stand upright, or stand fast as a base) upon which the butler was to be set being his former dignity and office, as is next explained - and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh's cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler. After which Joseph adds a request for himself. But think on me when it shall be well with thee (literally, but, or only, thou shalt remember me with thee, according as, or when, it goes well with thee), and show kindness, I pray thee, unto me (cf. Joshua 2:12; 1 Samuel 20:14, 15; 2 Samuel 9:1; 1 Kings 2:7), and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, - literally, bring me to remembrance before Pharaoh (cf. 1 Kings 17:18; Jeremiah 4:16; Ezekiel 21:28) - and bring me out of this house: for indeed I was stolen (literally, for stolen I was stolen, i.e. I was furtively abducted, without my knowledge or consent, and did not voluntarily abscond in consequence of having perpetrated any crime) away out (literally, from) of the land of the Hebrews: - i.e. the land where the labrum live (Keil); an expression which Joseph never could have used, since the Hebrews were strangers and sojourners in the land, and had no settled possession in it, and therefore a certain index of the lateness of the composition of this portion of the narrative (Block, 'Introd.,' § 80); but if Abram, nearly two centuries earlier, was recognized as a Hebrew (Genesis 14:13), and if Potiphar's wife could, in speaking to her Egyptian husband and domestics, describe Joseph as an Hebrew (Genesis 39:14, 17), there does not appear sufficient reason why Joseph should not be able to characterize his country as the land of the Hebrews. The Hebrews had through Abraham become known at least to Pharaoh and his Court as belonging to the land of Canaan (Genesis 12:15-20); and it is not a violent supposition that in Joseph s time "the land of the Hebrews" was a phrase quite intelligible to an Egyptian, as signifying not perhaps the entire extent of Palestine, but the region round about Hebron and Mamre (Nachmanides, Clericus, Rosenmüller) - scarcely as suggesting that the Hebrews had possession of the land prior to the Canaanites (Murphy). And here also have I done nothing (i.e. committed no crime) that they should (literally, that they have) put me into the dungeon. The term בּור is here used to describe Joseph's place of confinement, because pits or cisterns or cesspools, when empty, were frequently employed in primitive times for the incarceration of offenders (el. Jeremiah 38:6; Zechariah 9:11). Genesis 40:12Joseph then gave this interpretation: The three branches were three days, in which time Pharaoh would restore him to his post again ("lift up his head," i.e., raise him from his degradation, send and fetch him from prison, 2 Kings 25:27). And he added this request (Genesis 40:14): "Only think of me, as it goes well with thee, and show favour to me...for I was stolen (i.e., carried away secretly and by force; I did not abscond because of any crime) out of the land of the Hebrews (the land where the Ibrim live); and here also I have done nothing (committed no crime) for which they should put me into the hole." בּור: the cell, applied to a prison as a miserable hole, because often dry cess-pools were used as prisons.
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