Genesis 40:1-23

Talks for Growing Christians

Joseph Interprets the Dreams of the Butler and Baker

Genesis 40:1-23

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Lesson Number 88

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. God’s servants should serve in good situations and in bad situations.
  2. God’s servants should share the good news and the bad news.

Practical Application

  1. Let’s not have memories like the butler


  1. Was it only a coincidence that Pharaoh’s butler and baker offended the king of Egypt?
  2. What did the butler dream, and what was the interpretation? What did the baker dream, and what was the interpretation?
  3. When Joseph interpreted the dreams of the butler and the baker, did he take credit for the interpretations?
  4. How are God’s servants to serve in bad situations?
  5. What is the good news and the bad news that Christians should share today?


  1. No. They were thrown into the same prison where Joseph was. It was another event planned and controlled by God to ultimately bring Joseph to power in Egypt.
  2. The butler dreamed about a vine with three branches as if budded, with blossoms, whose clusters brought forth ripe grapes. The interpretation? Pharaoh will restore you to your place. The baker dreamed about three white baskets on his head. The birds ate from the baked goods in the uppermost basket. The interpretation? The three baskets represent three days. Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head, hang you on a tree, and the birds will eat your flesh.
  3. No. Joseph gave the credit to God (Genesis 40:8).
  4. We are to be faithful both in the good times and in the bad times. There are always opportunities to serve the Lord wherever we are, and under any circumstances. For example, consider missionaries who are in want and are being persecuted for their faith.
  5. The good news is that God loves people and has provided salvation in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. See John 3:16. The bad news is that if they do not receive Christ as your personal Savior, the only way of salvation, they will face God’s wrath and His judgment and eternal hell. See John 3:36.


  1. Review Joseph’s reactions to adverse circumstances. Think how would you react in similar circumstances. Do you have a true servant’s heart?
  2. Joseph shared both the good news and the bad news when he interpreted the dreams of the butler and the baker. Are you sharing both the good news and the bad news with those in your spheres of life?


  1. How is your memory? Do you forget when someone has done a kindness to you? Do you forget your promise to pray for someone? What will you resolve to do about your forgetfulness?

Key Verses

  • “Do not interpretations belong to God?” Genesis 40:8
  • “Remember me when it is well with you...Yet he did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.” Genesis 40:14, 23
  • “ came to pass...” Genesis 40:20

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