Notes for Gen 40:1LEB

The Hebrew term cupbearer corresponds to the Egyptian wb’, an official (frequently a foreigner) who often became a confidant of the king and wielded political power (see K. A. Kitchen, NBD 248). Nehemiah held this post in Persia.


The baker may be the Egyptian retehti, the head of the bakers, who had privileges in the royal court.


The Hebrew verb translated offended here is the same one translated "sin" in Gen 39:9LEB. Perhaps there is an intended contrast between these officials, who deserve to be imprisoned, and Joseph, who refused to sin against Yahweh, but was thrown into prison in spite of his innocence.


Notes for Gen 40:2LEB

The Hebrew word סָרִיס (saris), used here of these two men and of Potiphar (see Gen 39:1LEB), normally means "eunuch." But evidence from Akkadian texts shows that in early times the title was used of a court official in general. Only later did it become more specialized in its use.


Notes for Gen 40:4LEB

He served them. This is the same Hebrew verb, meaning "to serve as a personal attendant," that was translated "became [his] servant" in Gen 39:4LEB.


"they were days in custody."


Notes for Gen 40:5LEB

"dreamed a dream."


"a man his dream in one night."


"a man according to the interpretation of his dream."


Notes for Gen 40:6LEB

The verb זָעַף (za’af) only occurs here and Dan 1:10LEB. It means "to be sick, to be emaciated," probably in this case because of depression.


Notes for Gen 40:7LEB

"why are your faces sad today?"


Notes for Gen 40:8LEB

"a dream we dreamed."


The word "them" is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.


Notes for Gen 40:9LEB

The Hebrew text adds "and he said to him." This has not been translated because it is redundant in English.


Notes for Gen 40:11LEB

"the cup of Pharaoh." The pronoun "his" has been used here in the translation for stylistic reasons.


The cupbearer’s dream is dominated by sets of three: three branches, three stages of growth, and three actions of the cupbearer.


Notes for Gen 40:12LEB

"the three branches [are]."


Notes for Gen 40:13LEB

"Pharaoh will lift up your head." This Hebrew idiom usually refers to restoring dignity, office, or power. It is comparable to the modern saying "someone can hold his head up high."


"according to the former custom."


Notes for Gen 40:14LEB

"but you have remembered me with you." The perfect verbal form may be used rhetorically here to emphasize Joseph’s desire to be remembered. He speaks of the action as already being accomplished in order to make it clear that he expects it to be done. The form can be translated as volitional, expressing a plea or a request.


This perfect verbal form with the prefixed conjunction (and the two that immediately follow) carry the same force as the preceding perfect.


"deal with me [in] kindness."


The verb זָכַר (zakhar) in the Hiphil stem means "to cause to remember, to make mention, to boast." The implication is that Joseph would be pleased for them to tell his story and give him the credit due him so that Pharaoh would release him. Since Pharaoh had never met Joseph, the simple translation of "cause him to remember me" would mean little.


"house." The word "prison" has been substituted in the translation for clarity.


Notes for Gen 40:15LEB

The verb גָּנַב (ganav) means "to steal," but in the Piel/Pual stem "to steal away." The idea of "kidnap" would be closer to the sense, meaning he was stolen and carried off. The preceding infinitive absolute underscores the point Joseph is making.


Notes for Gen 40:16LEB

"that [the] interpretation [was] good." The words "the first dream" are supplied in the translation for clarity.


Or "three wicker baskets." The meaning of the Hebrew noun חֹרִי (khori, "white bread, cake") is uncertain; some have suggested the meaning "wicker" instead. Comparison with texts from Ebla suggests the meaning "pastries made with white flour" (M. Dahood, "Eblaite h̬a-rí and Genesis 40, 16 ḥōrî," BN 13 [1980]: 14-16).


Notes for Gen 40:18LEB

"the three baskets [are]."


Notes for Gen 40:19LEB

"Pharaoh will lift up your head from upon you." Joseph repeats the same expression from the first interpretation (see v. 13), but with the added words "from upon you," which allow the statement to have a more literal and ominous meaning – the baker will be decapitated.


Notes for Gen 40:20LEB

The translation puts the verb in quotation marks because it is used rhetorically here and has a double meaning. With respect to the cup bearer it means "reinstate" (see v. 13), but with respect to the baker it means "decapitate" (see v. 19).


Notes for Gen 40:21LEB

"his cupbearing."


Notes for Gen 40:22LEB

"had interpreted for them."


The dreams were fulfilled exactly as Joseph had predicted, down to the very detail. Here was confirmation that Joseph could interpret dreams and that his own dreams were still valid. It would have been a tremendous encouragement to his faith, but it would also have been a great disappointment to spend two more years in jail.


Notes for Gen 40:23LEB

The wayyiqtol verbal form here has a reiterative or emphasizing function.