Genesis 41:9
Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, "Today I recall my failures.
Confession of Sin DifficultGenesis 41:9-13
Faults RememberedT. Kidd.Genesis 41:9-13
Have You Forgotten Him?Spurgeon, Charles HaddonGenesis 41:9-13
Pharaoh's ButlerHomilistGenesis 41:9-13
Pharaoh's ButlerHomiletic ReviewGenesis 41:9-13
The Tried ManR.A. Redford Genesis 41

Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgot him. "I do remember my faults this day." Good men have sometimes had to bear painful imprisonments. Think of Bunyan and Baxter shivering behind the bars of a narrow cell, where light and air were almost excluded, and where disease and death held sway. How much brightness, however, has broken at times from behind prison bars! We might not have had the 'Pilgrim's Progress,' unless Bunyan had been incarcerated on the banks of the Ouse. Nor might the patience and kindness of Joseph's disposition have shone out so brilliantly but for his prison life. In a work entitled ' Five Years' Penal Servitude' a most vivid description is given of how the criminals of the clever and cultured class have to mingle and work with those of ignorant and most sensual type. Defaulting cashiers have to undergo the same treatment as cowardly garrotters and desperate burglars. Breaking the law brings any under its rigorous clutches, and levels all distinctions of class or education. Thus Joseph, a Hebrew slave, although not a criminal, would be despised by the chief butler of Pharaoh, but the butler had to associate with him. Indeed the former became his superior in prison, and was in a position to render to a State official certain kindness.

I. THE FORGETFUL INGRATE. This man was a courtier, a permitted adviser of the Pharaoh of Egypt, but he is sent to the common prison. Joseph gives him much cheer, attention, and kindness. He seeks in every way to relieve the monotony of prison life, and becomes a prophet and religious helper. He sees the butler one day sad of countenance, and learns the reason. Readily he, by Divine help, interpreted the perplexing dream. His words are verified. The chief butler was doubtless profuse in his thanks and promises, but we see how he kept them. Perhaps the forgetfulness was convenient. He did not wish, after his restoration, to remind his monarch - even by making a request - of his having been formerly in disfavor. He possibly never intended to make any effort, unless it should be a gain to himself. He is a very different man in prison and out. This is the way of men in life. Favors slip from the memory like floods from a smoothly-worn rock. We might here possibly find out certain things in our own conduct which would indicate a similar forgetfulness of favors. For example, Christ came as the good Joseph to share our captive state. Think of what love he showed in bearing so much suffering for us. Do not put aside the thought of it as not being definitely for you. It was for each one, as if there were none other for whom to suffer. Some have not believed, have not come out from prison, but have preferred the darkness to light, have thought that the atonement was all unnecessary. They cannot understand how evil is their state until brought out of it. A beggar would not be troubled about his patches and rags in the common lodging-house; but let him be taken into a room of decently-arrayed people, and he then feels the difference, and shudders at his degraded appearance. When once brought into Christ's light we see from what we have been saved, and should be grateful to him. Some have been brought into union with him, and afterwards have declined from his way. Dangerous state. We should blame others who were ungrateful; what if we have been! The longer action is postponed, the deeper the ingratitude, and the less likelihood is there that the favor will he felt. The longer postponed, the harder to acknowledge. Thus the butler may have hesitated to speak of Joseph because he would have to reveal his own ingratitude. Possibly he hoped Joseph was dead. Not so; Joseph lives. Forgotten by man, he is not forgotten by God. God will yet bring the forgetful one and his benefactor face to face.

II. AROUSED MEMORIES. Wonderful is that faculty of the mind whereby we can imagine ourselves to exist in the past. Some have weak memories, others strong. Some have memories for places and thoughts, others for dates, figures, and words. Whether memory be strong or weak, the power of association is such that at times facts long past will be brought back most vividly. Revisiting places of interest, traversing certain countries, will bring to memory past friendships, and perhaps even subjects of conversation formerly held there. A house in which one has been born or trained becomes a complete history in time. Certain seasons arouse memories of the past, as birthdays, wedding days, Christmas time, or Easter. Certain circumstances also arouse memory. Pharaoh's perplexity concerning his dream forcibly reminded the butler of his morning of sadness in the prison. "I do remember," &c. The butler implied that he repented of his sins and of his forgetfulness. He may not have been very sincere, but as a courtier he introduces a subject in that way. Let us remember our faults, our inconsistencies as Christians, our hesitation to confess Christ, our excusing ourselves on the ground of the doings of others. Let us be plain with ourselves. Let us not see the motes in the eyes of others, and forget the beams in our own. Let us remember them that we may be humbled, may gain experience of how to avoid them in the future, may gain strength to resist, may gain pardon for past faults, and learn thereby more of the infinite forbearance and love of God, who is so willing to blot out our transgressions, and even the memory of our sins. - H.

I do remember my faults this day.
I. THE POWER OF MEMORY. "I do remember." Memory, a faculty of mind, wonderful, varies in its strength and exercise, accompanied by pains as well as pleasures. The effect depends upon the state of the soul, and on the character of the things remembered, whether good or evil, painful or pleasant (see Job 21:6; Psalm 63:6; Psalm 77:3; Psalm 137:1; Ezekiel 16:61; Ezekiel 20:43; Ephesians 2:11; Luke 16:25; Revelation 14:13.) Beware. Do some evil deed, commit some wrong against your neighbour or your God; and, try as you will, you cannot quite forget. Memory may slumber for a while, but will some day awake.

II. THE POWER OF ASSOCIATION. "This day." Why then? For two years all had seemingly been forgotten. Now chord of association touched: Pharaoh's dreams. This power is often appealed to in Scripture. Type, symbol, parable, all recognize, and receive much of their value from association. In the special case before us, behold the hand of God. The great designs of Providence are ripe for execution. Hence the butler is roused to action. It needs but a touch of association, and the long-forgotten promise is recalled. Joseph's release immediately follows.

III. THE POWER OF CONSCIENCE. "My faults." Mark the power conscience:

1. In exciting a sense of personal blameworthiness.



2. In exciting a feeling of painful remorse.





I. WE ARE ALL CHARGEABLE WITH FAULTS (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:12; Psalm 19:12; Psalm 143:2; James 3:2; 1 John 1:8; Romans 3:23). Yet "did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgot him." It was forgetfulness most inexcusable; it was ingratitude most unkind I But what are our faults? We have offended, not the king of Egypt, but the King of kings, the King of heaven, the Greatest and Best of all beings. We have forgotten, not the son of Jacob, but the Son of God, the Lord of life and glory.


1. The evidence of this. Men have convictions of sin, but they stifle them.

2. The causes of this.

(1)Ignorance of the true nature and malignity of sin.

(2)Partiality to self, strengthened by the deceitfulness of the heart.

(3)The hurry of business.

(4)Elevation in worldly circumstances.

III. Various circumstances are adapted to REMIND US OF OUR FAULTS.

1. Providential occurrences. Some of these regard ourselves, the affliction of our persons, or our immediate connections. Other providential occurrences regard the condition of those about us: they strike our observation. We witness sometimes She difficulties in which others are involved; we think of what occasioned such difficulties, and are reminded of similar causes in ourselves, which might have produced similar effects.

2. The ministry of God's Word.

IV. When we are reminded of our faults we should be ready to confess them (1 John 1:8, 9). What, then, have we to confess to God? What are the faults which "this day" we remember? We must go to Him with all our faults, with all our follies, and with all the iniquity of our sin.

V. Confession of faults should always be attended with REAL AMENDMENT.

(T. Kidd.)

Homiletic Review.
There are some truths in this verse which I wish you to understand and remember. I shall name and illustrate five of these.

I. THE POWER OF INGRATITUDE. Joseph's request to the butler, and the butler's reply. How easily he might have kept his promise I Have you been ungrateful to any one — parents, teachers, Jesus? If so, repent at once.

II. THE POWER OF MEMORY. As the bridge spans the river, so the butler's memory went back over two years. He saw Joseph in prison and his broken promise. How kind God has been in giving us such a wonderful faculty! Use it well in connection with pure objects, good books, and godly persons. You will then have always excellent and instructive companions.

III. THE POWER OF A SINGLE EVENT. What caused the butler to remember Joseph? The king's dream. How suggestive often are little things! A book, a portrait, a stone, a shoe.

IV. THE POWER OF CONSCIENCE. The butler began to think about his faults.

V. THE POWER OF INTERCESSION. The butler interceded with the king for Joseph. This led to Joseph's freedom and exaltation. Do not forget this. Act upon it. The good which you may secure for others in this way.

(Homiletic Review.)

No single power or faculty of man escaped damage at the Fall: while the affections were polluted, the will was made perverse, the judgment was shifted from its proper balance, and the memory lost much of its power and more of its integrity. Our memories, like ourselves, have done the things which they ought not to have done, and have left undone the things which they ought to have done, and there is no health in them. Among other things, it is not always easy to recollect our faults We have special and particular reasons for not wishing to be too often reminded of them. If, however, the grace of God has entered into a man he will pray that he may remember his faults, and he will ask grace that if he should forget any excellences which he once supposed he had, he may not forget his defects, his sins, his infirmities, and his transgressions, but may have them constantly before him, that he may be humbled by them and led to seek pardon for them and help to overcome them.

I. We shall first call your attention to the BUTLER'S FAULTS, for his faults are ours, only ours are on a larger scale: "I do remember my faults this day." His particular fault was that he had forgotten Joseph; that, having promised to remember him when it should be well with him, he had altogether overlooked the circumstances which occurred in the prison, and had been enjoying himself, and leaving his friend to pine in obscurity.

1. Here, then, is the first fault — the butler had forgotten a friend. That is never a thing to be said in a man's praise. We ought to write the deeds of friendship as much as possible in marble; and that man is unworthy of esteem who can readily forget favours received. As I never shall forget when, at the foot of the Cross, I saw the interpretation of all my inward griefs; when I looked up and saw the flowing of my Saviour's precious blood, and had the great riddle all unriddled. My brethren, what a discovery was that when we learned the secret that we were to be saved not by what we were or were to be, but saved by what Christ had done for us I Happy day I we see Jesus as the cluster crushed until the heart's blood flows, and can by faith go in unto the King, with Jesus Christ's own precious blood and offer that, just as the butler stood before Pharaoh with the wine-cup in his hand, I bear a cup filled not with my blood, but His blood: not the blood from me as a cluster of the vine of earth, but the blood of Jesus as a cluster of heaven's own vintage, pouring out its precious floods to make glad the heart of God and man.

2. Here lies our fault: that we have forgotten all this — not forgotten the fact, but forgotten to love Him who gave us that soul-comforting, heart-cheering interpretation.

3. We have not, however, quite done with the case of the butler and Joseph. The request which Joseph made of the butler was a very natural one. He said, "Think of me when it is well with thee." He asked no hard, difficult, exacting favour, but simply, "Think of me, and speak to Pharaoh." What the Saviour asks of us, His servants, is most natural and most simple, and quite as much for our good as it is for His glory. Among other things, He has said to all of you who love Him, "This do in remembrance of Me."

4. I have stated the butler's case, but I shall want to pause a minute or two over this head just to go into the reason of his fault. Why was it that he did not recollect Joseph? There is always a reason for everything, if we do but try to find out. He must have been swayed by one of the three reasons.(1) Perhaps the butler was naturally ungrateful. We do not know, but that may have been the case: he may have been a person who could receive unbounded favours without a due sense of obligation. I trust that is not our case in the fullest and most unmitigated sense, but I am afraid we must all plead guilty in a measure.(2) Perhaps, however, worldly care choked the memory. The chief butler had a great deal to do: he had many under-servants, and, having to wait in a palace, much care was required. He who serves a despot like the king of Egypt must be very particular in his service. It is very possible that the butler was so busy with his work and his gains, and looking after his fellow-servants and all that, that he forgot poor Joseph. Is it not very possible that this may be the case with us? We forget the Lord Jesus to whom we are bound by such ties, because our business is so large, our family so numerous, our cares so pressing, our bills and bonds so urgent, and even because perhaps our gains are so large.(3) I am half ashamed to have to say one thing more. I am afraid that the butler forgot Joseph out of pride; because he had grown such a great man, and Joseph was in prison. I do not suppose that this operates with many of you, but I have known it with some professed believers. When they were little in Israel, when they first professed to have found peace, oh how they acknowledged Jesus! But they got on in the world and prospered, and then they could not worship among those poor people who were good enough for them once — they now drive to a more fashionable place of worship, where the Lord Jesus is seldom heard of. They feel themselves bound to get into a higher class of society, as they call it, and the poor despised cause of Jesus is beneath them, forgetting, as they foolishly do, that the day will come when Christ's cause shall be uppermost; when the world shall go down and the faithful followers of the Lord Jesus shall 'be peers and princes even in this world, and reign with Him; He being King of kings and Lord of lords, and they sitting upon His throne and sharing in His royal dignity. I hope none of you have forgotten Christ because of that.

II. The second point is this — WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES BROUGHT THE FAULT TO THE BUTLER'S MIND? The same circumstances which surround us this morning

1. First, he met with a person in the same condition as that in which he once was. King Pharaoh had dreamed a dream, and wished for an interpretation. Joseph could interpret; and the butler remembered his fault. Brothers and sisters in Christ, there are those in the world who are in the same state of mind as you were once in. They once loved sin and hated God, and were strangers and aliens from the commonwealth of Israel; but in some of them there has been the mysterious working of the Holy Spirit, and they have dreamed a dream. They are awakened, although not yet enlightened. Salvation is a riddle to them at present, and they want the interpretation. Do you not remember how the gospel was blessed to you? Do you not desire to send it to others? If you cannot preach yourself, will you not help me in my life-work of training others to preach Jesus?

2. The next thing that recalled the butler's thought was this: he saw that many means had been used to interpret Pharaoh's dream, but they had all failed. We read that Pharaoh sent for his wise men, but they could not interpret his dream. You are in a like case. Do not you feel a want, if you cannot go and preach yourselves, to help others to do so?

3. Then, again, if the butler could have known it, he had other motives for remembering Joseph. It was through Joseph that the whole land of Egypt was blessed. Joseph comes out of prison, and interprets the dream which God had given to the head of the state, and that interpretation preserved all Egypt, yea, and all other nations during seven years of dearth. Only Joseph could do it. Oh, brethren, you know that it is only Jesus who is the balm of Gilead, for the wounds of this poor dying world. You know that there is nothing which can bless our land, and all other lands, like the Cross of Jesus Christ.

4. Once more, surely the butler would have remembered Joseph had he known to what an exaltation Joseph would be brought. Think of the splendour which yet wilt surround our Lord Jesus I He shall come, beloved, He shall come in the chariots of salvation. The day draweth nigh when all things shall be put under Him. Kings shall yield their crowns to His superior sway, and whole sheaves of sceptres, plucked from tyrants' hands, shall be gathered beneath His arm. You by testifying of Him are promoting the extension of His kingdom, and doing the best that in you lies to gather together the scattered who are to be the jewels of His crown.

III. In the "last place, I have some few things to say by way of COMMENDATION OF THE BUTLER'S REMEMBRANCE. It is a pity he forgot Joseph, but it is a great blessing that he did not always forget him. It is a sad thing that you and I should have done so little; it is a mercy that there is time left for us to do more.

1. I like the butler's remembrance, first of all, because it was very humbling to him.

2. I commend his remembrance for another thing, namely, that it was so personal. "I do remember my faults this day." What capital memories we have for treasuring up other people's faults, for once let us keep to ourselves. Let the confession begin with the minister. "I do remember my faults this day."

3. The best part of it, perhaps, was the practical nature of the confession. The moment he remembered his fault, he redressed it as far as he could, Now, dear friends, if you recollect your fault to the Lord Jesus, may you have grace not to fall into it again! If you have not spoken for Him, speak to-day. If you have not given to His cause, give now I If you have not devoted yourselves as you ought to have done to the promotion of His kingdom, do it now.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Many years ago, a minister put up for the night with a man who was supposed to possess but little of what people call "common sense." Just as he was about to retire for rest, the man said: " Tell me, sir, what three words in the English language it is the most difficult to pronounce?" "I don't know that I can," was the reply. "Well," said the man, "I'll give you till to-morrow morning to answer me." The minister thought no more of the question till it was proposed to him again in the morning, when he carelessly said he had not thought of it. "Then," said the man, "I will tell you. They are — I am wrong."

Asenath, Egyptians, Joseph, Manasseh, Pharaoh, Potipherah, Zaphnathpaaneah
Egypt, Nile River, On
Butler, Butlers, Chief, Cupbearer, Cup-bearers, Faults, Memory, Mention, Offences, Offenses, Pharaoh, Remember, Reminded, Saying, Shortcomings, Sin, Spake, Speaketh, Spoke, Wine-servant
1. Pharaoh has two dreams.
9. Joseph interprets them.
33. He gives Pharaoh counsel, and is highly advanced, and married.
46. The seven years of plenty.
50. He begets children.
53. The famine begins.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Genesis 41:9

     5284   cupbearer
     8467   reminders

Genesis 41:1-49

     8131   guidance, results

Genesis 41:9-13

     6682   mediation

The Covenant of Works
Q-12: I proceed to the next question, WHAT SPECIAL ACT OF PROVIDENCE DID GOD EXERCISE TOWARDS MAN IN THE ESTATE WHEREIN HE WAS CREATED? A: When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him upon condition of perfect obedience, forbidding him to eat of the tree of knowledge upon pain of death. For this, consult with Gen 2:16, 17: And the Lord commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

The Earliest Chapters in Divine Revelation
[Sidenote: The nature of inspiration] Since the days of the Greek philosophers the subject of inspiration and revelation has been fertile theme for discussion and dispute among scholars and theologians. Many different theories have been advanced, and ultimately abandoned as untenable. In its simplest meaning and use, inspiration describes the personal influence of one individual upon the mind and spirit of another. Thus we often say, "That man inspired me." What we are or do under the influence
Charles Foster Kent—The Origin & Permanent Value of the Old Testament

Man's Chief End
Q-I: WHAT IS THE CHIEF END OF MAN? A: Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever. Here are two ends of life specified. 1: The glorifying of God. 2: The enjoying of God. I. The glorifying of God, I Pet 4:4: That God in all things may be glorified.' The glory of God is a silver thread which must run through all our actions. I Cor 10:01. Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.' Everything works to some end in things natural and artificial;
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

The First Chaldaean Empire and the Hyksos in Egypt
Syria: the part played by it in the ancient world--Babylon and the first Chaldaean empire--The dominion of the Hyksos: Ahmosis. Some countries seem destined from their origin to become the battle-fields of the contending nations which environ them. Into such regions, and to their cost, neighbouring peoples come from century to century to settle their quarrels and bring to an issue the questions of supremacy which disturb their little corner of the world. The nations around are eager for the possession
G. Maspero—History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, V 4

Second Great Group of Parables.
(Probably in Peræa.) Subdivision F. Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. ^C Luke XVI. 19-31. [The parable we are about to study is a direct advance upon the thoughts in the previous section. We may say generally that if the parable of the unjust steward teaches how riches are to be used, this parable sets forth the terrible consequences of a failure to so use them. Each point of the previous discourse is covered in detail, as will be shown by the references in the discussion of the parable.]
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Roman Pilgrimage: the Miracles which were Wrought in It.
[Sidenote: 1139] 33. (20). It seemed to him, however, that one could not go on doing these things with sufficient security without the authority of the Apostolic See; and for that reason he determined to set out for Rome, and most of all because the metropolitan see still lacked, and from the beginning had lacked, the use of the pall, which is the fullness of honour.[507] And it seemed good in his eyes[508] that the church for which he had laboured so much[509] should acquire, by his zeal and labour,
H. J. Lawlor—St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Life of St. Malachy of Armagh

Appendix 2 Extracts from the Babylon Talmud
Massecheth Berachoth, or Tractate on Benedictions [76] Mishnah--From what time is the "Shema" said in the evening? From the hour that the priests entered to eat of their therumah [77] until the end of the first night watch. [78] These are the words of Rabbi Eliezer. But the sages say: Till midnight. Rabban Gamaliel says: Until the column of the morning (the dawn) rises. It happened, that his sons came back from a banquet. They said to him: "We have not said the Shema.'" He said to them, "If the column
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

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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