Genesis 40

* The chief butler and baker of Pharaoh in prison, Their dreams

interpreted by Joseph. (1-19) The ingratitude of the chief

butler. (20-23)

1-19 It was not so much the prison that made the butler and

baker sad, as their dreams. God has more ways than one to sadden

the spirits. Joseph had compassion towards them. Let us be

concerned for the sadness of our brethren's countenances. It is

often a relief to those that are in trouble to be noticed. Also

learn to look into the causes of our own sorrow. Is there a good

reason? Is there not comfort sufficient to balance it, whatever

it is? Why art thou cast down, O my soul? Joseph was careful to

ascribe the glory to God. The chief butler's dream foretold his

advancement. The chief baker's dream his death. It was not

Joseph's fault that he brought the baker no better tidings. And

thus ministers are but interpreters; they cannot make the thing

otherwise than it is: if they deal faithfully, and their message

prove unpleasing, it is not their fault. Joseph does not reflect

upon his brethren that sold him; nor does he reflect on the

wrong done him by his mistress and his master, but mildly states

his own innocence. When we are called on to clear ourselves, we

should carefully avoid, as much as may be, speaking ill of

others. Let us be content to prove ourselves innocent, and not

upbraid others with their guilt.
20-23 Joseph's interpretation of the dreams came to pass on the

very day fixed. On Pharaoh's birth-day, all his servants

attended him, and then the cases of these two came to be looked

into. We may all profitably take notice of our birth-days, with

thankfulness for the mercies of our birth, sorrow for the

sinfulness of our lives, and expectation of the day of our

death, as better than the day of our birth. But it seems strange

that worldly people, who are so fond of living here, should

rejoice at the end of one year after another of their short span

of life. A Christian has cause to rejoice that he was born, also

that he comes nearer to the end of his sin and sorrow, and

nearer to his everlasting happiness. The chief butler remembered

not Joseph, but forgot him. Joseph had deserved well at his

hands, yet he forgot him. We must not think it strange, if in

this world we have hatred shown us for our love, and slights for

our kindness. See how apt those who are themselves at ease are

to forget others in distress. Joseph learned by his

disappointment to trust in God only. We cannot expect too little

from man, nor too much from God. Let us not forget the

sufferings, promises, and love of our Redeemer. We blame the

chief butler's ingratitude to Joseph, yet we ourselves act much

more ungratefully to the Lord Jesus. Joseph had but foretold the

chief butler's enlargement, but Christ wrought out ours; he

mediated with the King of Kings for us; yet we forget him,

though often reminded of him, and though we have promised never

to forget him. Thus ill do we requite Him, like foolish people

and unwise.
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