Joseph Goes From Prison to the Palace

Source: Genesis 39-41

In our last story, we left off with Joseph imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. However, God did not forget Joseph, and through God's blessings Joseph was put in charge of the other prisoners by the prison keeper. One day, Joseph was put in charge of two new prisoners that had just arrived in jail. These prisoners were the chief butler and the chief baker for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was angry at both of these men, and he put them into prison. 

After a few months in jail, on the same night, these men both dreamed a dream. The next morning, Joseph noticed that both men were sad, and he asked them why they were sad. They told him that they had each dreamed a dream, and that they did not understand what they had dreamed. Joseph offered to help, telling them "Do not interpretations belong to God?"     
The chief butler began by telling Joseph about his dream. In his dream he saw a vine with three branches, loaded with ripe grapes. Pharaoh's cup was in the butler's hand, and he took the grapes and squeezed the juice from them into Pharaoh's cup. The butler then gave the cup to Pharaoh. Joseph told the butler the dream meant the following: the three branches were three days. In three days Pharaoh would release the butler from prison and would give him his old job back. Joseph then asked the butler, once he was back in Pharaoh's service, to tell Pharaoh about Joseph and his false, unjust imprisonment.

The chief baker, hearing the favorable interpretation of the butler's dream, started telling Joseph his dream. The baker had three baskets upon his head. The top basket was full of baked goods, which birds began to eat. Joseph told the baker the meaning of his dream: the three baskets were three days. In three days Pharaoh would hang the baker and the birds would eat the flesh of his dead body. In three days, the things that Joseph said about the dreams came true. The butler was restored to his position in Pharaoh's house, and the baker was executed. However, after he went back to work for Pharaoh, the butler forgot about Joseph.

Two years later, Pharaoh himself had two dreams. In his first dream, Pharaoh saw seven fat cattle come out of a river and graze in a nearby meadow. Then, seven thin, sickly cattle came out of the river and ate the seven fat cattle. Even though they had eaten the seven fat cattle, the seven thin cattle were still thin. Pharaoh awoke, but soon went back to sleep and dreamed his second dream. In the second dream, Pharaoh saw seven good ears of corn come up on a stalk. Seven thin ears of corn then came up on the stalk and devoured the seven good ears of corn. Pharaoh awoke, and was troubled by these dreams.

The next day, Pharaoh asked his magicians and wise men to interpret his dreams, but they could not. Then the chief butler remembered Joseph, and told Pharaoh about him and his ability to interpret dreams. Pharaoh decided to have Joseph brought to him. Joseph shaved and changed his raiment and was brought quickly to Pharaoh. Pharaoh told Joseph that he had dreamed a dream, and that he had heard Joseph could interpret dreams. Joseph answered Pharaoh "It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace". Pharaoh then told Joseph about his two dreams. Joseph began by telling Pharaoh that the two dreams both represented the same thing. The seven fat cattle and the seven good ears of corn represented seven years of plentiful harvests for Egypt. The seven thin cattle and the seven thin ears of corn represented seven years of famine in Egypt, and the years of famine would follow the seven years of plenty.

Joseph emphasized that since Pharaoh had dreamed this dream twice, God would soon bring the years of plenty and famine to pass. He also recommended that Pharaoh appoint a wise man to oversee Egypt and store up surplus food in the years of plenty that could be used during the years of famine. Pharaoh, seeing that Joseph was filled with the Spirit of God, asked Joseph to be the man to oversee Egypt. In a moment, God had elevated Joseph, now thirty years old, from a lowly prisoner to the governor of Egypt, second in the land only to Pharaoh.