Genesis 40:2
And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers.
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40:1-19 It was not so much the prison that made the butler and baker sad, as their dreams. God has more ways than one to sadden the spirits. Joseph had compassion towards them. Let us be concerned for the sadness of our brethren's countenances. It is often a relief to those that are in trouble to be noticed. Also learn to look into the causes of our own sorrow. Is there a good reason? Is there not comfort sufficient to balance it, whatever it is? Why art thou cast down, O my soul? Joseph was careful to ascribe the glory to God. The chief butler's dream foretold his advancement. The chief baker's dream his death. It was not Joseph's fault that he brought the baker no better tidings. And thus ministers are but interpreters; they cannot make the thing otherwise than it is: if they deal faithfully, and their message prove unpleasing, it is not their fault. Joseph does not reflect upon his brethren that sold him; nor does he reflect on the wrong done him by his mistress and his master, but mildly states his own innocence. When we are called on to clear ourselves, we should carefully avoid, as much as may be, speaking ill of others. Let us be content to prove ourselves innocent, and not upbraid others with their guilt.The chief butler and chief baker, high officials in Pharaoh's court, come under the displeasure of their sovereign. "In the house of the captain of the guards." It appears that this officer's establishment contained the keep in which Joseph and these criminals were confined. "Charged Joseph with them." As Joseph was his slave, and these were state prisoners, he appointed him to wait upon them. It is probable that Joseph's character had been somewhat re-established with him during his residence in the prison.CHAPTER 40

Ge 40:1-8. Two State Prisoners.

1. the butler—not only the cup-bearer, but overseer of the royal vineyards, as well as the cellars; having, probably, some hundreds of people under him.

baker—or cook, had the superintendence of every thing relating to the providing and preparing of meats for the royal table. Both officers, especially the former, were, in ancient Egypt, always persons of great rank and importance; and from the confidential nature of their employment, as well as their access to the royal presence, they were generally the highest nobles or princes of the blood.

No text from Poole on this verse. And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers,.... The same above mentioned:

against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers; for as there were several butlers and bakers that belonged unto him, who were employed in providing wine and food for him, there was one of each who was over the rest; and as their business was to see that those under them did their work well, when they were faulty the principal officers were answerable for it: wherefore, if in this case they had not been guilty of anything criminal themselves personally, yet they might have neglected to look after those that were under them, and so were culpable, and drew upon them the wrath and resentment of their lord and sovereign.

And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers.
2. his … officers] Lit. “his eunuchs”; see note on Genesis 37:36.Verse 2. - And Pharaoh was wroth - literally, broke forth (sc. into anger) - against two of his officers (vide Genesis 37:36) against the chief - sar: the word occurs in one of the oldest historical documents of ancient Egypt ('Inscription of Una,' line 4, sixth dynasty), meaning chief or eunuch (vide ' Records of the Past,' 2:3) - of the butlers, - an office once filled by Nehemiah in the Court of Persia (Nehemiah 1:11), and Rabshakeh (Aramaic for "chief of the cupbearers") in the Court of Assyria (2 Kings 18:17) - and against the chief of the bakers. Oriental monarchs generally had a multitude of butlers and bakers, or cupbearers and Court purveyors, the chiefs in both departments being invested with high honor, and regarded with much trust (Herod., 3:34; Xenoph., 'Cyrop.,' 1:3, 8). Joseph in Prison. - Potiphar was enraged at what he heard, and put Joseph into the prison where (אשׁר for שׁם אשׁר, Genesis 40:3 like Genesis 35:13) the king's prisoners (state-prisoners) were confined. הסּהר בּית: lit., the house of enclosure, from סהר, to surround or enclose (ὀχύρωμα, lxx); the state-prison surrounded by a wall. This was a very moderate punishment. For according to Diod. Sic. (i. 78) the laws of the Egyptians were πικροὶ περὶ τῶν γυναιῶν νόμοι. An attempt at adultery was to be punished with 1000 blows, and rape upon a free woman still more severely. It is possible that Potiphar was not fully convinced of his wife's chastity, and therefore did not place unlimited credence in what she said.

(Note: Credibile est aliquod fuisse indicium, quo Josephum innocentem esse Potiphari constiteret; neque enim servi vita tanti erat ut ei parceretur in tam gravi delicto. Sed licet innocuum, in carcere tamen detinebat, ut uxoris honori et suo consuleret (Clericus). The chastity of Egyptian women has been in bad repute from time immemorial (Diod. Sic. i. 59; Herod. ii. 111). Even in the middle ages the Fatimite Hakim thought it necessary to adopt severe measures against their immorality (Bar-Hebraei, chron. p. 217), and at the present day, according to Burckhardt (arab. Sprichwrter, pp. 222, 227), chastity is "a great rarity" among women of every rank in Cairo.)

But even in that case it was the mercy of the faithful covenant God, which now as before (Genesis 37:20.) rescued Joseph's life.

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