Genesis xl.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Two eunuchs; chief officers, and high in dignity, as the Hebrew expresses it, ver. 2. (Haydock) — Offended, perhaps, by stealing, or by some treasonable conspiracy. (Menochius)

Ver. 2. And, &c. Hebrew, “Pharao was enraged against two of his officers; against the chief of the butlers,” &c. Mashkim. St. Jerome translates this word procurator domus, “steward of the house,” chap. xv. 2. No slave was entrusted with these high offices in the courts of Egypt and of Persia.

Ver. 3. Commander. Putiphar. (Calmet) — Prisoner, though his chains were struck off. (Menochius)

Ver. 5. According to, &c. foreshewing what would happen to them, as Joseph afterwards interpreted the dreams. (Tirinus)

Ver. 8. Doth not interpretation belong to God? When dreams are from God, as these were, the interpretation of them is a gift of God. But the generality of dreams are not of this sort; but either proceed from the natural complexions and dispositions of persons, or the roving of their imaginations in the day on such objects as they are much affected with, or from their mind being disturbed with cares and troubles, and oppressed with bodily infirmities: or they are suggested by evil spirits, to flatter, or to terrify weak minds; in order to gain belief, and so draw them into error or superstition; or at least to trouble them in their sleep, whom they cannot move while they are awake: so that the general rule, with regard to dreams, is not to observe them, nor to give any credit to them. (Challoner) — Physicians indeed, sometimes form some judgment of the nature of a distemper from dreams; on which subject, Hippocrates and Galen have written. But to pretend to discover by them the future actions of free agents, would be superstitious, Deuteronomy xviii. 10. (Tirinus) — Justin (xxxvi. 2,) says, “Joseph was the first interpreter of dreams, and often gave proofs of his knowledge,” &c.

Ver. 14. Prison, after examining into the justice of my cause.

Ver. 15. Hebrews. Chanaan, a foreign land with respect to Egypt, as was also Mesopotamia, where he was born. (Haydock) — Joseph only maintains his own innocence, without accusing any one. (Menochius)

Ver. 16. Of meal. Hebrew may also mean “white, full of holes,” &c.

Ver. 19. From thee, by decapitation. This was customary, when a person’s body was to be hung on the cross or gibbet. (Deuteronomy xxi. 22; Josue x. 26; Lamentations v. 12; 1 Kings xxxi. 10.) — Birds. So Horace says, pasces in cruce corvos.

Ver. 20. Birth-day. This was a common practice among the pagans. (St. Matthew xiv. 6; 2 Machabees vi. 7.) (Calmet)

Ver. 22. That, &c. Thus was verified the prediction of Joseph. (Menochius)

Ver. 23. Forgot. A thing too common among those who enjoy prosperity! (Haydock) — God would not have his servants to trust in men. (Du Hamel) — The butler was a figure of the good thief, as the baker represented the impenitent one, between whom our Saviour hung on the cross. (Calmet)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Joseph interpreteth the dreams of two of Pharao’s servants in prison: the event declareth the interpretations to be true, but Joseph is forgotten.

1 After this, it came to pass, *that two eunuchs, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, offended their lord.

2 And Pharao being angry with them, (now the one was chief butler, the other chief baker,)

3 He sent them to the prison of the commander of the soldiers, in which Joseph also was prisoner.

4 But the keeper of the prison delivered them to Joseph, and he served them. Some little time passed, and they were kept in custody.

5 And they both dreamed a dream the same night, according to the interpretation agreeing to themselves:

6 And when Joseph was come into them in the morning, and saw them sad,

7 He asked them, saying: Why is your countenance sadder to-day than usual?

8 They answered: We have dreamed a dream, and there is nobody to interpret it to us. And Joseph said to them: Doth not interpretation belong to God? Tell me what you have dreamed:

9: The chief butler first told his dream: I saw before me a vine,

10 On which were three branches, which by little and little sent out buds, and after the blossoms brought forth ripe grapes:

11 And the cup of Pharao was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into the cup which I held, and I gave the cup to Pharao.

12 Joseph answered: This is the interpretation of the dream: The three branches, are yet three days:

13 After which Pharao will remember thy service, and will restore thee to thy former place: and thou shalt present him the cup according to thy office, as before thou wast wont to do.

14 Only remember me when it shall be well with thee, and do me this kindness: to put Pharao in mind to take me out of this prison:

15 For I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews, and here without any fault was cast into the dungeon.

16 The chief baker seeing that he had wisely interpreted the dream, said: I also dreamed a dream, That I had three baskets of meal upon my head:

17 And that in one basket which was uppermost, I carried all meats that are made by the art of baking, and that the birds ate out of it.

18 Joseph answered: This is the interpretation of the dream: The three baskets, are yet three days:

19 After which Pharao will take thy head from thee, and hang thee on a cross, and the birds shall tear thy flesh.

20 The third day after this was the birth-day of Pharao: and he made a great feast for his servants, and at the banquet remembered the chief butler, and the chief baker.

21 And he restored the one to his place, to present him the cup:

22 The other he hanged on a gibbet, that the truth of the interpreter might be shewn.

23 But the chief butler, when things prospered with him, forgot his interpreter.



1: Year of the world 2287, Year before Christ 1717.