Genesis 40:17
And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.

No text from Poole on this verse.

And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh,.... All sorts of pastry, as tarts, pies, &c. Josephus (b) says, two of the baskets were full of bread, and the third had various sorts of food, such as is usually, prepared for kings:

and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head; all the three baskets were upon his head, but this seems to be the uppermost, which the birds could more easily come at; though if the baskets were full of holes, they might through them peck the bread with their bills.

(b) Antiqu. l. 2. c. 5. sect. 3.

And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. bakemeats] LXX ἔργον σιτοποιοῦ, Lat. cibos qui fiunt arte pistoria: as we say, “all kinds of confectionery.” The bakemeats are only in the top basket. If the birds took them, he had nothing in the other baskets to bring to Pharaoh’s table.

the birds] The birds, darting down upon the food and carrying it off, doubtless seemed of evil augury; cf. the appearance of the birds in Genesis 15:11. It was like a nightmare! The baker found himself powerless to frighten the birds away. The great kites in Egypt, the bird scavengers of the land, are always wheeling in the air, ready to pounce down upon choice morsels, if they see the slightest chance of carrying them off.

Genesis 40:17Encouraged 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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