Genesis 40:16
When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three white baskets on my head:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16, 17) Three white baskets.—Rashi explains the phrase of baskets of wicker-work, but most commentators agree in rendering it “baskets of white bread.” The “bakemeats” were all preparations of pastry and confectionery, as throughout the Bible meat does not mean flesh, but food. (Comp. Luke 24:41; John 21:5.)

On my head.—The Egyptian men carried Burdens on their heads; the women on their shoulders (Herod. ii. 35).

Bakemeats.—Heb., All sorts of work for Pharaoh the work of a baker.

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 baker is encouraged by this interpretation to tell his dream. "I also." He anticipates a favorable answer, from the remarkable likeness of the dreams. "On my head." It appears from the monuments of Egypt that it was the custom for men to carry articles on their heads. "All manner of baked meats" were also characteristic of a corn country. "Lift up thy head from upon thee." This part of the interpretation proves its divine origin. And hang thee - thy body, after being beheaded. This was a constant warning to all beholders.Ge 40:16-23. The Baker's Dream.

16. I had three white baskets—The circumstances mentioned exactly describe his duties, which, notwithstanding numerous assistants, he performed with his own hands.

white—literally, "full of holes"; that is, wicker baskets. The meats were carried to table upon the head in three baskets, one piled upon the other; and in the uppermost, the bakemeats. And in crossing the open courts, from the kitchen to the dining rooms, the removal of the viands by a vulture, eagle, ibis, or other rapacious bird, was a frequent occurrence in the palaces of Egypt, as it is an everyday incident in the hot countries of the East still. The risk from these carnivorous birds was the greater in the cities of Egypt, where being held sacred, it was unlawful to destroy them; and they swarmed in such numbers as to be a great annoyance to the people.

White baskets; so called from the colour, either of the baskets, which were made of pilled, and so white twigs, or of the things contained in them, as white bread, &c.

When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good,.... Meaning not that it was right and just, though it was; but that it was agreeable and pleasing, and portended good in the event; and therefore hoped a like interpretation would be given of his dream, and this encouraged him to tell it, which perhaps otherwise he would not have done:

he said unto Joseph, I also was in a dream; or had a dream, and in it things were represented to his mind as follows:

and, behold, I had three white baskets on my head; which were made of wicker, of rods that had the bark pulled off, and so were white; or which had holes in them, baskets wrought with holes, after the manner of network; though some think this denotes not the colour or form of the basket, but of the bread in them, and interpret the words, baskets of white bread, as Saadiah Gaon, and so the Targum of Jonathan, baskets of most pure bread, and the Targum of Jerusalem, baskets of hot bread; this dream was very agreeable to his office and business as a baker.

When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three {f} white baskets on my head:

(f) That is made of white twigs, or as some read, baskets full of holes.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. I also] The chief baker is encouraged to relate his dream. There are certain conspicuous similarities in the two dreams: (1) each man is discharging his own special office; (2) the number “3” is a feature in both.

of white bread] LXX τρία κανᾶ χονδριτῶν, Lat. tria canistra farinae. Instead of “white bread,” some scholars prefer the rendering “baskets of open wicker-work,” viz. “baskets shewing their contents” (so Rashi). Symmachus, βαϊνά = “baskets of palm-branches.”

Verses 16, 17. - When (literally, and) the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he (literally, and he, encouraged by the good fortune predicted to his fellow-prisoner) said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three (literally, and behold three) white baskets - literally, baskets of white bread; LXX., κανᾶ χονδριτῶν; Vulgate, canistra farince; Aquila, κόφινοι γύρεως (Onkolos, Pererius, Gesenius, Furst, Keil, Kalisch, Murphy, et alii); though the rendering "baskets of holes," i.e. wicker baskets, is preferred by some (Symmachus Datbius, Rosenmüller, and others), and accords with the evidence of the monuments, which frequently exhibit baskets of wickerwork (vide Wilkinson's 'Ancient Egyptians,' 2:34, ed. 1878) - on my head. According to Herodotus (2:35), Egyptian men commonly carried on their heads, and Egyptian women, like Hagar (Genesis 21:14), on their shoulders. And in the uppermost basket (whose contents alone are described, since it alone was exposed to the depredations of the birds) there was of all manner of bake-meats for Pharaoh - literally, all kinds of food for Pharaoh, the work of a baker. The monuments show that the variety of confectionery used in Egypt was exceedingly extensive (Hengstenberg, p. 27). And the birds - literally, the bird; a collective, as in Genesis 1:21, 30 (cf. ver. 19) - did eat them out of the basket upon my head. Genesis 40:16Encouraged by this favourable interpretation, the chief baker also told his dream: "I too,...in my dream: behold, baskets of white bread upon my head, and in the top basket all kinds of food for Pharaoh, pastry; and the birds ate it out of the basket from my head." In this dream, the carrying of the baskets upon the head is thoroughly Egyptian; for, according to Herod. 2, 35, the men in Egypt carry burdens upon the head, the women upon the shoulders. And, according to the monuments, the variety of confectionary was very extensive (cf. Hengst. p. 27). In the opening words, "I too," the baker points to the resemblance between his dream and the cup-bearer's. The resemblance was not confined to the sameness of the numbers-three baskets of white bread, and three branches of the vine-but was also seen in the fact that his official duty at the court was represented in the dream. But instead of Pharaoh taking the bread from his hand, the birds of heaven ate it out of the basket upon his head. And Joseph gave this interpretation: "The three baskets signify three days: within that time Pharaoh will take away thy head from thee ("lift up thy head," as in Genesis 40:13, but with מעליך "away from thee," i.e., behead thee), and hang thee on the stake (thy body after execution; vid., Deuteronomy 21:22-23), and the birds will eat thy flesh from off thee." However simple and close this interpretation of the two dreams may appear, the exact accordance with the fulfilment was a miracle wrought by God, and showed that as the dreams originated in the instigation of God, the interpretation was His inspiration also.
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