Matthew Poole's Commentary
And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt.Pharaoh’s chief butler and baker are put into prison, and committed to Joseph, Genesis 40:1-4. They dream, and are sad, Genesis 40:5,6. He asks the reason, Genesis 40:7. Their answer, and Joseph’s reply, Genesis 40:8. The chief butler tells his dream, Genesis 40:9-11. Joseph interprets it of his restoration, and desires him to be mindful of him, Genesis 40:12-15. The chief baker also tells his dream, Genesis 40:16,17. Joseph interprets it, Genesis 40:18,19. Both made good by the event, Genesis 40:20-22. The butler forgets Joseph, Genesis 40:23.
1720 No text from Poole on this verse.
And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers.No text from Poole on this verse.
And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound.The captain of the guard, to wit, Potiphar, Genesis 37:36, who being informed by his underkeeper of Joseph’s great care and faithfulness, began to have a better opinion of him, though for his own quiet, and his wife’s reputation, he left him still in the prison.
Where Joseph was bound; was a prisoner, as that word is used, Isaiah 22:3; for Joseph being now made governor of the prisoners, was doubtless freed from his bonds: or had been bound, and that with irons in a cruel manner, Psalm 105:18.
And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward.A season, Heb. days, i.e. either many days, or a year, as that word sometimes signifies. See Genesis 24:55.
And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison.1718 i.e. Not a vain and idle dream, but one that had in it a signification of future things, and needed interpretation; and the several dreams were proper and agreeable to the several events which befell them, and to the several interpretations which Joseph put upon them: the dream and interpretation did fitly answer one to the other.
And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and, behold, they were sad.Perplexed and terrified both, because they perceived the dream was extraordinary and sent from God; compare Genesis 41:8 Daniel 2:1 Matthew 27:19; and because they understood not the meaning of it.
And he asked Pharaoh's officers that were with him in the ward of his lord's house, saying, Wherefore look ye so sadly to day?No text from Poole on this verse.
And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.There is no interpreter of it, to wit, with us, or to whom we can now resort; for otherwise there were many in Egypt of that profession, Genesis 41:8.
Do not interpretations belong to God? In vain do you expect such things from your wise men, for it is only that God who sends these dreams that can interpret them, and to him you should seek for it.
Tell me, who am the servant of the true God, who useth to communicate his secrets to his people, and who, I doubt not, will hear my prayers for this mercy. This he spoke by special direction and instinct from God, who had given this gift to him.
And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me;No text from Poole on this verse.
And in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes:No text from Poole on this verse.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days: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.
Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh's cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler.Lift up thine head, i.e. advance thee to thy former dignity. So that phrase is used 2 Kings 25:27 Psalm 110:7. Or, reckon thy head, i.e. thy name or thy person, to wit, among his servants, which is added, Genesis 40:20. According to the custom, which was this: at set times governors of families used to take an account of their servants, and to have the names of their servants read to them, and they either left them in the catalogue, or put any of them out, as they saw fit, and inflicted such further punishments upon any of them as they deserved. This seems the truer interpretation, because it is said that Pharaoh lifted up the head of his butler, and of his baker, Genesis 40:20, and therefore the phrase must be so expounded, as to agree equally to both.
But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house:Though he patiently endures his prison, yet he prudently useth all lawful means to get his freedom.
For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.I was stolen away, taken away by force and fraud, without my own or father’s consent, out of the land of Canaan, which he might call the land of the Hebrews, either because they now dwelt in it, or by way of protestation of their right and claim to it by God’s gift. Or rather thus, out of that part of Canaan where the Hebrews dwell; for the word land is not only spoken of whole countries, as of the whole land of Canaan, but of any parts or parcels thereof, as Genesis 13:6 22:2 23:15 34:1. Observe, that Joseph doth not accuse either his brethren or his mistress, but only asserts his own innocency, which was necessary for his deliverance.
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: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.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: The three baskets are three days:No text from Poole on this verse.
Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee.From off thee. This clause is industriously added here to the former phrase, to show that it was now meant in another sense. He shall indeed lift up thy head, as well as the chief butler’s, but in another manner, not for time, but
from thee, or so as to take away thy head or thy life (which eminently consists and appears in the head) from thee.
And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants.Pharaoh’s birthday. Birth-days by persons of eminency then were, and since have usually been, celebrated with feasting and rejoicing.
And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand:No text from Poole on this verse.
But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them.No text from Poole on this verse.
Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.i.e. Neglected him and his desire; as men in Scripture are oft said to forget God, when they do not remember him so as to love and obey him, as Psalm 106:13,21 Ho 2:13.