Genesis 40:9
And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me;
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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.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 the chief butler told his dream to Joseph,.... He listened to what Joseph said, and paid a regard to it, and began to think he might be able to interpret his dream, and therefore was forward, and the first to tell him it at once; whereas the chief baker did not seem disposed to do it, until he observed the good interpretation given of the butler's dream, Genesis 40:16,

and said unto him, in my dream, behold, a vine was before me; it appeared to him in his dream, as if a vine sprung up at once, and stood before him; which was very suitable to his office as a butler, wine being the fruit of the vine, which he provided for the king his master, and presented to him at table.

And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me;
Verses 9-11. - And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me - literally, in my dream (sc. I was), and behold a vine (gephen, from the unused root gaphan, to be bent, a twig, hence a plant which has twigs, especially a vine; cf. Judges 9:13; Isaiah 7:43; Isaiah 24:7) before me. The introduction of the vine into the narrative, which has been pronounced (Bohlen) an important factor in proof of its recent composition, since, according to Herodotus (2:77), the vine was not cultivated in Egypt, and, according to Plutarch ('De Is. et Osir.,' 6), it was not till after Psammetichus, i.e. about the time of Josiah, that the Egyptians began to drink wine, has now by more accurate study been ascertained to be in exact accordance, not only with Biblical statements (Numbers 20:5; Psalm 78:47; Psalm 105:33), but likewise with the testimony of Herodotus, who affirms (2:37) that wine (οϊνος ἀμπέλενος) was a privilege of the priestly order, and with the representations on the monuments of vines and grapes, and of the entire process of wine-making (vide Havernick's 'Introduction,' § 21; Wilkinson's 'Ancient Egyptians,' 1:379, et seqq. 430, 431, ed. 1878; Hengstenberg, 'Egypt,' p. 13; Rawlinson, 'Hist. Illus.,' p. 49; Thornley Smith, 'Joseph and his Times,' p. 58). And in the vine were three branches: - sarigim, tendrils of a vine, from sarag, to intertwine (ver. 12; Joel 1:7) - and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; - literally, as it budded (Murphy); or, as though blossoming (Rosenmüller, Keil, Kalisch); it shot forth its blossom (Keil); or, its blossoms shot forth (Rosenmüller, Kalisch, Murphy) - and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes: - more correctly, its stems caused to ripen, or matured, clusters, the אֶשְׁכֹּל being the stalk of a cluster, as distinguished from the עֲגָבִים, or clusters themselves (Gesenius, 'Lex.,' p. 85), though interpreters generally (Kalisch, Keil, Murphy) regard the first as the unripe, and the second as the ripe, cluster - and Pharaoh's cup - כּזֹס, a receptacle or vessel, either contracted from כֵּגֶס, like אִישׁ for אֵגֶשׁ (Gesenius), or derived from כּוּא, to conceal, to receive, to keep, connected with the idea of bringing together, collecting into a thing (Furst) - was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them - ἐξέθλιψα (LXX.), expressi (Vulgate), a translation adopted by the most competent authorities (Gesenius, Furst, Rosenmüller, Keil, Kalisch, et alii), though the sense of diluting with water is advocated by Dathe, Havernick ('Introd.,' § 21), and others as the most appropriate signification of שָׁחַט, which occurs only here. That Pharaoh is represented as drinking the expressed juice of grapes is no proof that the Egyptians were not acquainted with fermentation, and did not drink fermented liquors. In numerous frescoes the process of fermentation is distinctly represented, and Herodotus testifies that though the use of grape wine was comparatively limited, the common people drank a wine made from barley: οἵνῳ δ ἐκ κριθέων πεποιημένῳ (2:77) - into Pharaoh's cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand - literally, I placed the cup upon Pharaoh's palm, כַּפ, used of Jacob's thigh-socket (Genesis 32:26), meaning something hollowed out. Genesis 40:9The 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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