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apostle Peter, is praiseworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endureth grief, suffering wrongfully. To conclude with the Words of one of the Apocryphal writers: Joseph, that righteous man, was sold; but wisdom, that is, the wise God, forsook him not, but delivered him from sin ; went down with him into the frit,and left him not in bonds, till he brought him the sceptre of the kingdom, and piwer against those that oppressed him : as for them that had accused him, he showed them to be liars, but gave unto him perpetual glory. Wisdom x. 13, 14.
Joseph's story is continued, whom we left in prison; and have here the imprisonment of two of P/iaraoh's servants ; their dreams, and Joseph's interpretation of them ; and the accomplishment of Joseph's predictions concerning them.
1 A N D it came to pass after these things, [that] the but.
ler, or cupbearer, of the king of Egypt and [his] baker
2 had offended their lord the king of Egypt. And Pharaoh was wroth against two [of] his great officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. What their crime was, is not mentioned; some think a conspiracy to
3 take away the king's life by poison. And he put them in ward in the house of Potiphar the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph [was] bound, or luid been bound ; for he was now at liberty, and made overseer of the
4 prisoners. And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, being told by the under keeper of his fidelity and care, and probably believing his innocence, though he still kept him in prison; and he served them, that is, waited and attended upon them: and they continued a season in ward.
5 And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dreanj in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, that is, a dream which was sigmficant of something to come, which did also come to pass, according to the interpretation given thereof; (ch. xli. 13.) the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which [were] bound in the prison.
• And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and, behold, they [were] sad ; because they perceived the dream was sen: from God to betoken something fit7 tare, and they understood not the meaning of it. And he asked Pharaoh's officers that [were] with him in the ward of his lord's house, saying, Wherefore look ye [so] sadly today? % $ And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and [there is] no interpreter of it; there it no magician or soothVoi. I. X
seyer that we can aflply to in our present confinement. A&$ Joseph said unto then>, [Do] not interpretations of dreams [belong] to Gorl? not to such perso?ts as those? tell me [them,] I pray you, for I fear and serve him, and doubt not but he will hear my prayers, and repeal this matter to me. Probably he had a strong impulse on his mind, which led him to say 9 so. And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said
10 to him, In my dream, behold, a vine [was] before me; And in the vine [were] three branches: and it [was] as though it budded, [and] her blossoms shot forth ; and the clus
U ters thereof brought forth ripe, grapes: And Pharaoh's cup [was] in my hand : and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand.
12 And Joseph said unto him, This [is] the interpretation of it: The three branches [are] three days, that is, sigmfy three
13 days: Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, that is, bring thee to trial, and at that time restore thee unto thy place: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh's cup into his hand,
14 after the former manner when thou wast his butler. But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and show kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house. Joseph, though patient in adversity, yet uses all good means to procure his liberty:
15 For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dtmgeon. This modest and decent request, is admired by the crities as one of the finest passages of antiquity. The request is made in the strongest manner, with the tenderest motive, and has every thing in it that could affeet a generous, grateful, and compassionate breast; and as the butler knew the misery of confinement, Joseph therefore hoped he would take pity upon him.
16 When the chief hakef saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also [was] in my dream, and, behold*
17 [I had] three white baskets on my head: And in the uppermost basket [there was} of all manner of bake meats for Pharaoh ; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head.
18 And Joseph answered and said, This [is] the interpretation thereof: The three baskets [are] or signify three days:
19 Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, shall bring thee to trial, take thy office from thee, and cut off thy head, and shall hang thee on a tree ; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee.
SO And it came to pass the third day, [which was} Pharaoh'9 birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants; and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants ; he reckoned with them, brought them tm
•1 trial before all his officers. And finding him innocent, he restated the chief butler unto his butlership again ; and he gave
Я2 the cup into Pharaoh's hand : But he hanged the chief baker, 4chom he found guilty ¡ as Joseph had interpreted to them.
S3 Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but courtier like forgat him, neglected him and hie desire: fruí God гетеяЛ bered, and at length deinered Mm.
t. ^VB SERVE here how gradually the providence of \J God wrought for Joseph ; in bringing those men to prison, in filling their heads with significant dreams, and so ordering it, that the butler «should tell his dream first. Had the baker began, the interpretation would have been so dismal, that the butler would probably have concealed his. In these circum«tances we may see, and should own, .the hand of God, in which are the hearts of all men, and who can turn them as he pleases.
2. We may learn humanity to sufferers, from the conduct of Joseph to these prisoners. They were put under his care, and Ъе treated them with sympathy and kindness. He did not think the crimes, with which they were severally charged, to be a sufficient ground for using them severely and roughly ; he ministered unto them, and compassionately inquired about their grief, Jt is the duty of all to be ¡ntiful and courteous; to be kindly affectioned one toward another, even to those who have been guilty of jgreat offences. It is a part of cliristian compassion to inquire into the cause of the sorrow of others, that we may do kind services for them; at least speak comfortable words to them; thus are we to bear one another's burdens.
3. Let us humbly refer to God all those gifts with which we are favoured. Do not inter/iretations belong to God? Joseph was desirous that God might have the glory of this gift of foreseeing things to come. All things come of him, ordinary as well as extraordinary, and he should-have the jiraise. The reasoning of the apostle wiU lioM good with regard to every advantage and accomplishment 5 Who maketh thee to differ, and what is there that t/iou hast not received Ï Wherefore then shouidst thou boast?
4. Let us be careftil -not to indulge ourselves in passionate complaints of injuries received, ~u. 15. Joseph made no complaint «f his raistress, any more than of the cruelty of his brethren ; but only asserted his own innocence, which was necessary for his deliverance. It is the glory of a man to pass by a transgression. When raen are obliged to vindicate themselves, they think they have a right to speak evil of others, and repre
^ sent those who have injured them in the blackest light. But we «ее, in the conduct of Joseph, how much more agreeable and fitting it is to prove our innocence, without upbraiding others. I«ei ш learn to forgive and forget, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, even as God for Christ't sake liath forgiven a».
5. We learn fidelity in delivering the most awful messages, 'when a man's welfare is concerned. Joseph told the baker plainly his terrible doom, and perhaps instructed him in the knowledge of the true God, and the nature of religion, and urged hira to improve the little time he had left. This is a good hint to ministers, to speak the Lord's word faithfully, and deliver their message with seriousness and fidelity ; especially to those who are near the grave. Because they see them in an oppressed state, and for fear of disobliging their friends, and the like, they are often too negligent in this instance ; but it is a cruel kindness, and they are accessary to the blood and ruin of their souls, if they neglect to give them fair and faithful warning.
6. Learn to avoid ingratitude, which appears so odious in the butler, Who forgot Joseph. Joseph had served him in prison, sympathized with him, brought him good tidings, and done him many kind offices; yet he was unmindful of his sufferings, and his kindness: when advanced in Pharaoh's court, and surrounded with all the delicacies and pomp of it, he forgot his fellow sufferer. It is probably in allusion to this, that the prophet, speaking of the obduracy and insensibility of the people, says, Amos vi. 6. They drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief of ointments, but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph. Let us abhor this character, and not think it strange if we should meet with such treatment. Especially let us abhor ingratitude to God, who hath done so much for us, and laid us under such strong obligations to remember and serve him. Let us ever be mindful of his goodness; study, by holy and obedient lives, to show forth his praise, who hath sent his own Son from heaven, to proclaim liberty to the captives, the opening of the prison to them that are bound, and to bring our feet into a large place.
It is the observation of an inspired writer, that ' wavy are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.' This is illustrated in the history of Joseph, particularly in this chapter; where are related Pharaoh's remarkable dreams; Joseph's interpretation of them; his advancement to a place of great trust and power, and his prudent management of it.
I A ND it came to pass at the end of two full years after the butler's restoration, that Pharaoh dreamed, and, behold, he stood by the river Mle; on the rise of which in tfie spring, the fruitfulness of the next year depended, there being 2 no rain in that country. And, behold, there came up out of the river seven well favoured kine, and fat fleshed; and they
3 f«I ¡n a meadow. And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill favoured and lean fleshed ; and stood by the [other] kine upon the brink of the river, feeding on the rushes ihai grew on ils banks, and not in meadow* as the former did. This also shows that the river did not then overflow tía tante, and consequently there must be a famine in
4 the land. And the ill favoured and lean fleshed kine did cat up the seven well favoured and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke.
5 And he slept, and dreamed the second time: and, behold, seven
6 ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good. And, behold, seven thin, ears and blasted with the east wind sprung
7 up after them. And the seven thin ears devoured the seven rank and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and. behold, [it was] a dream ; a divine, supernatural dream, sent immediately by God, and intimated that both the grazing and arable land mould
8 then fail. And it came to pass in the morning, that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men, or philosophers, thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dream ; but [there was] none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh. It is a wonder they did •not find something to satisfy his mind ¡ but God restrained their spirits.
9 Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying, I do remember my faults this day, my ingratitude to Joseph and
10 breach of promise: Pharaoh was wroth with his servants, and put me in ward in the captain of the guard's house, [both]
11 me, and the chief baker: And we dreamed a dream in one night, I and he ; we dreamed each man according to the in
12 terpretation of his dream. (See ch. xl. 5.) And [there was] there with us a young man, an Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard; and we told him, and he interpreted to us our dreams; to each man according to his dream he did in
13 terpret. And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us, so it was ; me he restored unto mine office, and him he hanged.
14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon, that is, out of the firison house, apart being put for the whole of it. Here he had let hia hair grow, and wore the habit of mourning; but it was not decent to appear before the king in this manner, and therefore he shaved [himself,] and changed his raiment, and came in unto
15 Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and [there is] none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, [that] thou canst understand a dream to
16 interpret it. And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, [It is] not in me, / cannot do it of myself: the interpretation of dreams belongs to God, who shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace; such an answer as may portend happiness, prosperity, and all food to thee, and may quiet thy troubled mind. This he