Wesley's Notes on the Bible
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.
40:1 We should not have had this story of Pharaoh's butler and baker recorded in scripture, if it had not been serviceable to Joseph's preferment. The world stands for the sake of the church, and is governed for its good. Observe, [1.] Two of the great officers of Pharaoh's court having offended the king are committed to prison. Note, High places are slippery places; nothing more uncertain than the favour of princes. Those that make God's favour their happiness, and his service their business, will find him a better master than Pharaoh was, and not so extreme to mark what they do amiss. Many conjectures there are concerning the offence of these servants of Pharaoh; some make it no less than an attempt to take away his life; others no more but the casual lighting of a fly into his cup, and a little sand in his bread: whatever it was, Providence, by this means, brought them into the prison where Joseph was.
And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers.
And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound.
And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward.
40:4 The captain of the guard, which was Potiphar, charged Joseph with them - Which intimates that he began now to be reconciled to him.
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.
And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and, behold, they were sad.
40:6 They were sad - It was not the prison that made them sad; they were pretty well used to that, but the dream. God has more ways than one to sadden the spirits of those that are to be made sad. Those sinners that are hardy enough under outward trouble, yet God can find a way to trouble them, and take off their wheels, by wounding their spirits, and laying a load upon them.
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?
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.
40:8 Do not interpretations belong to God? - He means the God whom he worshipped, to the knowledge of whom he endeavours hereby to lead them. And if interpretations belong to God, he is a free agent, and may communicate the power to whom he pleases, therefore tell me your dreams.
And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me;
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:
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.
And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days:
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.
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:
40:14 Think on me, when it shall be well with thee - Though the respect paid to Joseph, made the prison as easy to him as a prison could be, yet none can blame him to be desirous of liberty. See what a modest representation he makes of his own case. He doth not reflect upon his brethren that sold him, only saith, I was stolen out of the land of the Hebrews. Nor doth he reflect on the wrong done him in this imprisonment by his mistress that was his persecutor, and his master that was his judge, but mildly avers his own innocency. Here have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon - When we are called to vindicate ourselves, we should carefully avoid as much as may be speaking ill of others. Let us be content to prove ourselves innocent, and not fond of upbraiding others with their guilt.
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.
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:
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.
And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: The three baskets are three days:
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.
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.
40:20 He lifted up the head of these two prisoners - That is, arraigned and tried them; and he restored the chief butler, and hanged the chief baker.
And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand:
But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them.
Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.