The Third Day Series: Part 7 – Joseph

Joseph, son of Jacob, led an extraordinary life:

  • He was his father’s favorite son
  • He was given a dream that he would rule over his family
  • He was sold into slavery by his brothers
  • He became a beloved slave of his Egyptian master
  • He was unjustly imprisoned because his master’s wife was angry he wouldn’t sleep with her
  • He was exalted to the right hand of Pharaoh
  • He was able to use his power to provide for his family during a seven year famine

Of the things just listed, his exaltation to the side of Pharaoh is our focus. It should be considered no small thing that a lowly foreigner attained a high position within the Egyptian government. He did not achieve that position through hard work, but because of God. While Joseph was imprisoned, God gave him the gift of dream interpretation, and it was his ability to interpret dreams that caused Pharaoh to notice him.

Now it happened at the end of two full years that Pharaoh had a dream…Now in the morning his spirit was troubled, so he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all its wise men. And Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them to Pharaoh. Then the chief cupbearer spoke to Pharaoh, saying, “I would make mention today of my own offenses. Pharaoh was furious with his servants, and he put me in confinement in the house of the captain of the bodyguard, both me and the chief baker. We had a dream on the same night, he and I; each of us dreamed according to the interpretation of his own dream. Now a Hebrew youth was with us there, a servant of the captain of the bodyguard, and we related them to him, and he interpreted our dreams for us. To each one he interpreted according to his own dream. And just as he interpreted for us, so it happened; he restored me in my office, but he hanged him. Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph, and they hurriedly brought him out of the dungeon; and when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came to Pharaoh. Genesis 41: 1, 8 – 14

God gave Joseph the ability to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, and Pharaoh was so impressed he appointed Joseph to a high position. Joseph used his power to bring his family to Egypt, keeping them well fed during a seven year famine. Included in Joseph’s family, included amongst those who may have starved to death if not for Joseph’s provision, was Judah, ancestor of Christ. Therefore, it is not inaccurate to say that through Joseph God preserved the Messianic line.

It is also not inaccurate to say that the starting point of the plotline to get Judah and the Messianic seed into the haven of Egypt was Joseph’s interaction with the cupbearer, while in prison. This interaction, in which Joseph interpreted the cupbearer’s dream, was the basis of Joseph’s future audience with Pharoah, and “coincidentally” involved a three day span of time. Thus Joseph can be added to the list of Old Testament saints who typified Christ’s third day resurrection. For just as Jesus’ promise of resurrection was validated on the third day, so was Joseph’s interpretation of the cupbearer’s dream. The entire account is documented in Genesis 40:

Then it came about after these things, the cupbearer and the baker for the king of Egypt offended their lord, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was furious with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker. So he put them in confinement in the house of the captain of the bodyguard, in the jail, the same place where Joseph was imprisoned. The captain of the bodyguard put Joseph in charge of them, and he took care of them; and they were in confinement for some time. Then the cupbearer and the baker for the king of Egypt, who were confined in jail, both had a dream the same night, each man with his own dream and each dream with its own interpretation. When Joseph came to them in the morning and observed them, behold, they were dejected. He asked Pharaoh’s officials who were with him in confinement in his master’s house, “Why are your faces so sad today?” Then they said to him, “We have had a dream and there is no one to interpret it.” Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell it to me, please.”

So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, “In my dream, behold, there was a vine in front of me; and on the vine were three branches. And as it was budding, its blossoms came out, and its clusters produced ripe grapes. Now Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand; so I took the grapes and squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.” Then Joseph said to him, “This is the interpretation of it: the three branches are three days; within three more days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office; and you will put Pharaoh’s cup into his hand according to your former custom when you were his cupbearer. Only keep me in mind when it goes well with you, and please do me a kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh and get me out of this house. For I was in fact kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing that they should have put me into the dungeon.”

When the chief baker saw that he had interpreted favorably, he said to Joseph, “I also saw in my dream, and behold, there were three baskets of white bread on my head; and in the top basket there were some of all sorts of baked food for Pharaoh, and the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.” Then Joseph answered and said, “This is its interpretation: the three baskets are three days; within three more days Pharaoh will lift up your head from you and will hang you on a tree, and the birds will eat your flesh off you.” Thus it came about on the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast for all his servants; and he lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. He restored the chief cupbearer to his office, and he put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand; but he hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.

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