Genesis 40:20
On the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, he held a feast for all his officials, and in their presence he lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker.
Pharaoh's Forgetful ButlerF. Hastings Genesis 40:23; 41:9
Joseph and the Two PrisonersW. M. Taylor, D. D.Genesis 40:1-23
Joseph Ministering to the Comfort of OthersJ. S. Van Dyke.Genesis 40:1-23
LessonsR. Wardlaw.Genesis 40:1-23
LessonsG. Hughes, B. D.Genesis 40:1-23
Light Upon Joseph's DestinyT. H. Leale.Genesis 40:1-23
The Butler and the BakerJ. C. Gray.Genesis 40:1-23
The Same Prison is not the Same Thing to Good and BadG. Lawson, D. D.Genesis 40:1-23
The Inspired ManR.A. Redford Genesis 40

We cannot but notice the importance often assigned in the Bible to dreams, as channels of revelation from God. The dreams of Jacob and of Pharaoh, and passages such as Deuteronomy 13:1 and Joel 2:28, show this. It may be that in the absence of the written word, which in its completeness is our heritage, God's message was thus given to them in portions. Applying this thought to the circumstances of the text, we see men who had received a message from God which they believed was of importance; but they could not understand it, and they are sad because there is no interpreter.

I. THE DEEP IMPORTANCE OF GOD'S MESSAGE. How many questions does life present! What and where are we? Whither going? What lies beyond the present? I see that all things decay; yet on all sides life from death. Is there such revival for me? Can the active, thinking spirit be as though it had never been - passed from existence ere the frail body began to decay? And if there be a life beyond the present, what is its nature? and what the preparation for it? Vainly does human wisdom try to answer these questions. He who made all things alone can explain his works (Psalm 94:9-12), and the Bible is his answer to our questions, wherein he tells us what we are, for what created, and how to fulfill the object of our being (Psalm 119:105).

II. But WE NEED AN INTERPRETER. It may be asked, Why? The Bible is open. Its words are such as any one can understand. This is true, as far as regards facts, and precepts, and doctrines. There is a knowledge of the word which the natural man can attain to; but the Holy Spirit alone can so open it as to make it "the power of God." It is one thing to know the doctrines of sin and of salvation, and quite another to know ourselves as sinners, and Christ as the Savior. The one puffs up with pride of knowledge, the other leads to the one Foundation. There is no more dangerous snare than of ignoring this work of the Holy Spirit. Too often men do not believe their need of it, and do not believe in his help. And thus the Bible is found dull, and its teaching departed from in daily life.

III. How TO GET THE INTERPRETER'S HELP. "Tell me." Think of our Lord watching his disciples in the boat. So he watches over thee, ready to help. Hast thou found it so? Has the light of God's love entered thy heart? It is the special work of the Holy Spirit to guide into all truth (John 16:13); not in solving mysteries and hard questions, but in revealing Christ to the heart. Have you sought this; sought with expectation the full gift; sought to know Christ (Philippians 3:10), and the transforming power of belief in his love? Will you seek? There lies the difficulty - the want of earnestness. Men seem afraid of being earnest. But it is the earnest (Matthew 11:12, βιασται) who enter the kingdom of heaven. - M.

The third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday.
I. WE SHOULD MAKE IT A DAY OF THANKSGIVING. The birth of a human soul is a wondrous miracle, and for weal or woe is an event which will be felt through all eternity. Surely, such is a special season of praise. And thanksgiving is mainly united to joy. Pharaoh rejoiced and instituted a feast. We can show our thanksgiving in no better way than in a practical method of doing good to our fellows and dependents, and causing them to rejoice with us.

II. WE SHOULD MAKE IT A DAY OF RECTIFICATION. Pharaoh, with his little light, did so. The chief butler had been falsely accused, and the chief baker justly. The one he restored to his proper position, and the other was put to death. We all of us make mistakes, we form many harsh judgments, we misinterpret the feelings and actions of others, we shape our course wrongly. Surely, it is well then to make reparation for the past, and to put our lives on a new footing, and to make this part straight.

III. WE SHOULD MAKE IT A TIME FOR HUMILIATION AND PRAYER. It is true that God made us, but what have our lives been worth? What have they been worth to Him? Have we fulfilled the glorious objects for which we are created? And this humiliation should lead to prayer — prayer for Divine guidance and help, prayer for forgiveness and pardon.

IV. WE SHOULD MAKE IT A DAY OF REFLECTION AND RESOLUTION. "There is a time to be born," says the wise man, but "There is also a time to die." The one must necessarily remind us of the other. The season is indeed full of solemn thoughts. Can we bless the day we were born, or is it to us only the beginning of a long and terrible curse?


Joseph, Pharaoh
Baker, Birthday, Chief, Cupbearer, Feast, Heads, Lifted, Officials, Pass, Pharaoh's, Presence, Servants, Third
1. The chief butler and baker of Pharaoh are also imprisoned.
5. Joseph interprets their dreams.
20. They are accomplished according to his interpretation.
23. The ingratitude of the butler, in forgetting Joseph.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Genesis 40:20

     4410   banquets
     4476   meals
     5231   birthday
     5699   guests

Genesis 40:1-22

     5222   baking

Genesis 40:12-22

     1652   numbers, 3-5

Genesis 40:18-22

     5331   hanging

Genesis 40:19-22

     5485   punishment, legal aspects

The Political Constitution of Egypt
The king, the queen, and the royal princes--Administration under the Pharaohs--Feudalism and the Egyptian priesthood, the military--The citizens and country people. Between the Fayum and the apex of the Delta, the Lybian range expands and forms a vast and slightly undulating table-land, which runs parallel to the Nile for nearly thirty leagues. The Great Sphinx Harmakhis has mounted guard over its northern extremity ever since the time of the Followers of Horus. Illustration: Drawn by Boudier,
G. Maspero—History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, V 2

Goodness in a Dungeon
'And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison. But the Lord was with Joseph, and showed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the Lord was
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Evil Thoughts.
19th Sunday after Trinity. S. Matt. ix. 4. "Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?" INTRODUCTION.--Thoughts are only thoughts! who is to beheld accountable for them? They are clouds blown about by fancy, taking various shapes. God is not so hard as to judge us for our thoughts; He will try us by what we have done, not by what we have dreamed. No garden is without weeds; there are tares in every cornfield. Who speak thus? Is it those who are conscientious and scrupulous to drive away evil thoughts?
S. Baring-Gould—The Village Pulpit, Volume II. Trinity to Advent

The Resurrection
'Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.' John 5:58, 29. Q-38: WHAT BENEFITS DO BELIEVERS RECEIVE FROM CHRIST AT THE RESURRECTION? A: At the resurrection, believers being raised up in glory, shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgement, and made perfectly blessed in the
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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