a. Joseph, the wise man. Joseph, being the one to attend to the needs of the two officials, checks in on them one morning. As he walks in he notices that both the baker and cupbearer looked as if they were troubled by something. And so he asks them, “Why are your faces downcast today?” Joseph has befriended them enough at this point that he is a). aware of their change in countenance and b). able to approach and ask two officials of the Pharaoh’s court this question. The two men confided in Joseph that they both had dreams. These dreams were special enough that the men knew that they meant something and that they needed to be interpreted. We are told in Scripture that,” Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets…” One of these ways that God used was dreams. But it wasn’t always the prophet himself that received the dream, sometimes it was his job to interpret another’s dream. You’ll remember Daniel and his interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Daniel was a wise man of Babylon, and like the other wise men, his job was to interpret dreams. God had given Daniel the ability to understand visions and dreams. Of course, Nebuchadnezzar wanted his wise men to also tell him what the dream was, which they could not do, except Daniel because God gave it to him. Like the Babylonians, the Egyptians believed in dreams and their ability to tell the future. The gods would speak to you through your dreams. We can see that this belief and practice is alive and well in Joseph’s day because the two officials are upset that they do not have access to a wise man in the jail. “There is no one to interpret them.” Apparently, none of the Pharaoh’s dream interpreters were jailed along with them. And so they are upset, not because they’re in jail, but because they don’t know what their dreams mean. They mean something, but what? The unknown has driven them to sadness. Little did they know that they had a dreamer in their midst. A wise man had been jailed with them though he did not belong to the Pharaoh. Joseph says to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me.” God, like Daniel, has given to Joseph the ability to interpret dreams. Joseph correctly attributes this to God. It is not from him that these messages come. He is not making this up himself. The dream and interpretations come from God. In the law, we read that a dreamer that leads God’s people astray through their own interpretations should be put to death and in Jeremiah God says that he was against those that prophesy lying dreams. b. The cupbearer’s dream. Both the officials agree to give Joseph a try and they tell him their dreams. The cupbearer goes first. He saw a vine that had three branches. And it miraculously blossomed and then produced ripe grapes. The cupbearer took the grapes and squeezed their juice into the Pharao’s cup, then he took the cup and put it into the Pharaoh’s hand. Joseph, hearing the dream, promptly interprets it for him. The dream means that in three days he would be returned to his former position as cupbearer. His downcast head would be lifted up. Because the cupbearer would return to the side of the Pharaoh, Joseph asks the official to remember him, to do him the kindness of mentioning him before the king. This would be the payment for his interpretation. Then Joseph describes his situation. He says he was stolen out of the land of the Hebrews and he has done nothing, there in Egypt, to be thrown into the pit. Isn’t interesting that Joseph does not condemn his brothers nor Potiphar’s wife in his statement? He simply says he was stolen from his home and that he was an innocent man. A lesser man would point fingers and name names. But not Joseph. He doesn’t condemn but only asks to be treated fairly. c. The baker’s dream. While the cupbearer is talking with Joseph, the baker hears that the interpretation of the dream was favorable and so he asks Joseph to interpret his dream. The baker dreamed that he had three cake baskets on his head. It was the norm for Egyptian men to carry heavy loads upon their heads while women would carry them on their shoulders. In the top basket, he had all kinds of baked goods for the Pharaoh. As he was carrying them birds came and began eating all the food. It was a somewhat similar dream to the cupbearer. They both were performing their jobs in their former positions. They both were serving the Pharaoh. But the outcomes were different. Upon hearing the baker’s dream Joseph was ready to interpret the dream. Like the branches, the baskets represented three days. And like the cupbearer, the baker’s head would be lifted up as well. But, his head would be lifted up so that it could be lifted off, and then his body would be impaled and put on display where the birds would come and eat his body. A slightly different interpretation, right?