Light Upon Joseph's Destiny
Genesis 40:1-23
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.…

This chapter discovers signs that Joseph was destined to fill an important place in the history of the kingdom of God. This was now the time of his trial and preparation for his great calling as the ruler of the Egyptians, the deliverer of his nation. Some of the indications of his high destiny are these: —

I. THE CONVICTION OF HIS INNOCENCE AND INTEGRITY GAINS GROUND. Joseph was, at first, thrown into a dungeon and laid in irons. Now, this severe discipline is relaxed, and he is appointed to a kind of stewardship over the other prisoners. It is highly probable, that, by this time, Potiphar was convinced of his innocence, though he detained him in custody for prudential reasons. Joseph was everywhere giving the impression of being a good and holy man. The character of Potiphar's wife could not long be concealed; and as it became more and more known, the belief in Joseph's innocence would gain ground.


1. As a saint of God. Mark how Joseph refers to God in every important crisis of his history. When Pharaoh's two officers lamented that there was no interpreter of their dreams, he said, "Do not interpretations belong to God?" He was always true to his religion. Mark his temperateness and forbearance, his calmness and simplicity. He does not speak unkindly of his brethren, he does not even name them, but simply states that he was "stolen out of the land of the Hebrews," and that he had " done nothing" that they should put him " into the dungeon" (ver. 15). Here was the faith and resignation of a saint, whose life was fit to be recorded in the pages of Revelation as an eminent and worthy example to all ages.

2. As a prophet of God. As such he interprets dreams, which are here to be considered as Divine revelations to men of warning, reproof, and teaching (Job 33:14-18).

3. As a kind and just ruler of men. Joseph was clearly a man who was destined to wield a commanding, and even a regal influence over others. He was fitted for this, doubtless, by his intellectual gifts and characteristics, but more especially(1) by his sympathy. "Wherefore look ye so sadly to-day?" he said to his fellow-prisoners, whose dreams suggested the worst forebodings (vers. 6-7). He himself had been in the school of affliction, and he had learned to be tender. Though he had griefs of his own to bear, he felt for others. He cannot be a true ruler of men who has not learned sympathy.

(2) By his uprightness. He was firm and faithful, even when he had to tell unpleasant truths (vers. 18-19). Such are the qualities required in a true ruler of men (2 Samuel 23:3-4).

III. HE RETAINS FAITH AND HOPE IN GOD IN THE MIDST OF ALL. HIS ADVERSITIES. God was with him in the prison. Therefore he does not abandon himself to despair, but still trusts and hopes on.

(T. H. Leale.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: It happened after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker offended their lord, the king of Egypt.

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