KEY VERSE 41:51,52


a)  What was Joseph's situation when he met the cupbearer and baker?

He was the head slave in prison.

What was their situation?

They had offended their master the  King of Egypt and Pharaoh was angry with them and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard in the same prison where Joseph was confined.  The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph and he attended them.  Joseph did not show any signs of hatred or bitterness or revenge against the injustice that was done to him by Potiphar's wife.  He could have been paralyzed by these things.  But he depended on God and not himself.  Soon he became in charge of the whole prison.  39:22.  To be victorious in our life we must overcome the inner struggle.  We must win the victory over ourselves if we are to win the victory in life.  Joseph could win the victory over himself because he knew that God was with him.  He couldn't fully understand why he was suffering at that time, but he trusted God and lived before God's eyes and was a faithful steward of the prison.

a)  How did Joseph show a shepherd's concern for these men?

One morning Joseph noticed that they looked dejected.  He asked them, "Why are your faces so sad today?" (6-7)  Joseph was sensitive towards their needs.  He saw the problem in their face.  Our face is like a mirror to our heart.  Joseph knew that their problem lay deep within in their heart.  As their shepherd he wanted to find out what was up.

What kind of help did they need?

They needed spiritual help and a good shepherd.  The cup bearer and baker were political prisoners.  They were put in the king's prison.  They had high-level jobs - the cup bearer was always in the king's presence.  He had to be a trustworthy man.  The position of the baker was gave him access to the king's food.  He could poison his food.   Joseph was there to interpret their dreams.

Why was Joseph able to help them?

God had given him the ability to interpret dreams.

What did he teach them about God?

All interpretations of dreams belong to God.  See verse 8.  They needed the word of God.  Joseph was a shepherd and Bible teacher in prison.  They were dejected because they did not know God.  Joseph pointed them to God.

a)  What was the cupbearer's dream?  How did Joseph interpret its meaning?

Read verses 9-11 and 12-13.

What was the baker's dream and how was it similar to the cup bearer's dream?

Read verses 16-17.  It was similar in that it dealt with his occupation.

How was it different?

It was bad news.  Unlike the cup bearer who was restored to his original position, the baker would be hanged.  His head would be lifted up on a gallows in three days time.

How did Joseph interpret this dream?

Read verses 18-19.

a)  How were the dreams fulfilled?

Read verses 20-22.

How did Joseph show himself to be an honest and fearless and authoritative teacher of God's revealed will?

He clearly told them the truth based on what God gave him to understand.  He didn't mince words or sugarcoat the message of bad news.  He preached the whole truth even if it hurt.

Why is it important that God's servant be clear?

So that the truth of God may be honored and so that God may be revered and obeyed.

a)  What request did Joseph make of the cupbearer?

Read verses 14,15, "But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison.  For I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon."  Joseph wanted the cupbearer to tell Pharaoh about his plight and to free him.

What insight does this give us into Joseph's suffering in Egypt?

He suffered unjustly.  He was forcibly carried off and he had done nothing wrong to deserve such treatment.  This is the worst form of suffering and pain and then to be put in a dungeon - all against his own will and desire.

How much longer did  he remain in prison?

Tow more years.  The chief cupbearer had forgotten Joseph.  Men are selfish and unfaithful and unthankful by nature.


a)  What did Pharaoh dream?

Read verses 1-4 and 5-7.

Why was he troubled?

None of the magicians and wise men could interpret his dreams.

What moved him to seek Joseph's help?

The chief cup bearer remembered about Joseph.  He recalled how Joseph interpreted his and baker's dream and that it came true.  "And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them." (12)

a)  How did Joseph prepare to go to Pharaoh?

By shaving and changing his clothes.  He went as a servant of God and made sure he looked presentable.

What was his first response to Pharaoh's request to interpret the dreams? (15-16)

He said, "I cannot do it, but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires." (16)

What does this answer show about Joseph?

He stood as a man of God before Pharaoh. He wasn't afraid of Pharaoh and mentioned the name "God."  At that time the Pharaoh was considered to be like a god himself.  Joseph didn't try to impress Pharaoh and say that he could interpret the dream.  He pointed to God Almighty.  He wanted to glorify God before the godless Pharaoh.  Not once did he mention about his unjust treatment of being put in prison.  We must be ambassadors of Christ.  2 Cor 5:20.

a)  After listening to Pharaoh's dream, what did Joseph teach him about God's sovereign control of nature and history?

God controls nature:  "God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do.  Verse 28 -- 7 years of abundance followed by 7 years of famine.  God's control of history:  Verse 32, … is that the matter has been firmly decided by God and God will do it soon."  See also verse 25.  God is greater than Pharaoh and controls the weather.  As Joseph spoke, Pharaoh listened and didn't seem to object to Joseph's testimony about God.

What did the dreams mean? (17-32)

7 years of great abundance of crops followed by 7 years of a severe famine, so severe that the abundance in the land will not be remembered.

a)  What un-asked advice did Joseph give Pharaoh?

Verses 33-36.  Joseph gave advice on how to take care of the land of Egypt and how to store grain so that when the famine comes they wouldn't starve and the country would not be ruined by famine.  He suggested duty delegations starting with one leader (verse 33); and said to appoint commissioners (verse 34); then a reserve system 9verse 36).  Take a fifth of the harvest during the seven years and collect all the food of these good years and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh.  Keep them in the cities for food.  This food should be held in reserve for the country to be used during the seven years of famine.

How does this show his shepherd mind for Pharaoh and Egypt?

He did not use this opportunity to plead his case to Pharaoh about all the injustices that had happened to him.  He could have ignored the problem that was about to come upon Egypt and its people and he could have asked for a one-way ticket back to Canaan as his reward for interpreting the dreams of Pharaoh.  Joseph had a conscience and he lived before God.  He loved all people, including Egyptians and didn't want to see them perish.  

Why did Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of his palace and in charge of Egypt?

Verses 39-40.  Pharaoh saw Joseph's wisdom and that God had been with him.


a)  How old was Joseph when he became prime minister of Egypt?

Verse 46.  He was 30 years old.

How long had he been in Egypt?

13 years.

How did Pharaoh honor him and provide for him?

Verse 42.  He gave Joseph his signet ring, dressed him in robes of fine linen, put a gold chain around his neck and had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command.  He was put in charge of the whole land of Egypt.  Pharaoh also gave Joseph a wife.  Joseph had been made from a slave in prison to vice-Pharaoh in one day.

How did he use his privileges?

Verse 45b,  "….And Joseph went throughout the whole land of Egypt."

How did he exercise stewardship over Egypt?

Read verse 48-49.

What does this show about his faith? (41-49)

He didn't become proud when he was given this high position.  He had humble faith to see that God was working and fulfilling his sovereign plan for him through this.  He didn't seek to take revenge on Potiphar's wife or anyone else who might have wronged him or ill-treated him.  He went out from Pharaoh's presence and traveled throughout the land of Egypt.  He began to immediately make plans to get Egypt ready for the famine that would come after 7 years.  He might have changed outwardly but inwardly, he still feared and honored God.

a)  What did Joseph name his sons?

Manasseh and Ephraim.

"Manasseh" means "It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father's household."  "Ephraim" means "It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering."  

What does this reveal about his faith?

Joseph was able to forget what happened because he saw God's sovereign hand working in his difficult life.  He saw that if it wasn't for God, he would be forever troubled, lonely and fruitless.  His suffering would have been meaningless and without purpose.  If we remember all the wrongdoing and suffering that have happened to us, we feel crushed and can't go on.  But by God's help we can forget and go on with our life when we acknowledge that God has a sovereign and good loving purpose for all things that happen to us.  Joseph was thankful t God.  He acknowledged every blessing to God.  Now he looks like he is charge of Egypt because of his faith.

How did God reveal his sovereignty over Egypt and the world?

Seven years of abundance ended and seven years of famine began just as Joseph gold Pharaoh.

How did he use Joseph to save many lives? (50-57)

He had food stored up so that when people started to feel the famine, they went to him for food.  Pharaoh also sent the people to Joseph for food.  Finally, all the countries came to Egypt to buy food from Joseph because of the severe world-wide famine.

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