16 when the chief baker saw that the interpretation was favorable, he said to joseph, “i also had a dream: there were three cake baskets on my head, 17 and in the uppermost basket there were all sorts of baked food for pharaoh, but the birds were eating it out of the basket on my head.” 18 and joseph answered and said, “this is its interpretation: the three baskets are three days. 19 in three days pharaoh will lift up your head—from you!—and hang you on a tree. and the birds will eat the flesh from you.”
20 on the third day, which was pharaoh’s birthday, he made a feast for all his servants and lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. 21 he restored the chief cupbearer to his position, and he placed the cup in pharaoh’s hand. 22 but he hanged the chief baker, as joseph had interpreted to them. 23 yet the chief cupbearer did not remember joseph, but forgot him [genesis 40:16-23]
in the passage prior to this, joseph interpreted a dream in a favorable way – the cupbearer was going to be freed from prison and restored to his position in pharaoh’s court.
encouraged by the good news, the baker wanted to hear what joseph thought of his dream, which had some similarities to the cupbearer’s. unfortunately for the baker, joseph does not have the same good news for the baker as he had for the cupbearer.
this flurry of dream interpretation makes me wonder how long it had been since joseph had used this unique gift. since the episode with his brothers (genesis 37:5), there is no record of him interpreting dreams. the ability to do so seemed to be dormant.
now we are seeing God reignite the gift that he planted in joseph so many years ago. he is setting events and encounters into place, moving towards fulfillment of the very first dream that started this narrative in the first place.
we see that joseph’s interpretation, given to him by God in a dark prison cell, turns out to be perfectly accurate. God’s gifts and his calling are irrevocable. this passage in the life of joseph reminds us that even in our darkest, most hopeless hour, God is present, active and working for our good.
~ jason soroski