40 1 After these events, the wine steward and the chef for the king of Egypt offended their master, the king of Egypt. 2 Pharaoh was furious with his two officials, the chief wine steward and the chief baker, 3 and he put them under arrest in the house of the chief of the royal guard in the dungeon where Joseph was imprisoned. 4 The dungeon warden assigned Joseph to wait upon them.
After they had been under guard for some time, 5 both of them dreamt a dream one night, and each man’s dream had its meaning—wine steward and chef of the king of Egypt who were imprisoned in the dungeon. 6 When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were frowning. 7 He asked the Pharaoh’s officials who were with him in custody in his master’s house, “Why are your faces dejected today?”
8 They answered, “We’ve dreamt a dream, but there’s no one to interpret it.”
Joseph said to them, “Don’t interpretations belong to God? Tell your dreams to me.”
9 The chief wine steward recounted his dream to Joseph: “In my dream, a vine was right in front of me, 10 and on the vine were three tendrils. Then it budded, blossoms appeared, and its clusters ripened into grapes. 11 I took the grapes and crushed them into Pharaoh’s cup and placed the cup in Pharaoh’s palm.”
12 Joseph said to him, “This is the dream’s interpretation: The three tendrils are three days. 13 In three days, Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position, and you will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand like you did when you were his wine steward. 14 Keep me in mind when it goes well with you. Kindly remember me to Pharaoh and bring me out of this house. 15 For I was stolen from the land of the Hebrews, and I’ve done nothing to be thrown into this pit.”
16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was for good, he said to Joseph, “And in my dream, there were three baskets on my head. 17 In the topmost basket, there was all manner of baked goods for Pharaoh, but birds were eating from the basket on my head.”
18 Joseph responded, “This is the dream’s interpretation: The three baskets are three days. 19 In three days, Pharaoh will lift up your head from off you and impale you on a pole, and the birds will peck your flesh from you.”
20 In three days, it was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he made a great feast for all his servants. Before all of his servants, he lifted up the head of the chief wine steward and the chief chef. 21 He restored the chief wine steward to his stewarding, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s palm once again. 22 But the chief chef he impaled, just as Joseph had interpreted to them. 23 But the chief wine steward did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.
Success for Joseph is not contingent upon location. In Canaan, among family—his dream indicates success. In Egypt, among a new family—he experiences promotion. In response to a demotion to a dungeon—he manages the other prisoners.
In his role as acting warden, Joseph watches two recent prisoners, Pharaoh’s wine steward and chef.
Each has a dream that puzzles them. As they frown in concentration to figure out the significance of their dream, Joseph asks them to recount their dream.
In Egypt, dreams are so significant that schools of interpretation are established, and people treat dreams as factual (not fake reality) that need a “scientific” explanation. Joseph posits, from his monotheistic heritage, that G*D will reveal a dream’s meaning with no need for a degree in dreamology.
The chief wine steward takes Joseph up on his assertion and relates his dream.
“Hooray! In three days you’ll have your job back. Tell Pharaoh about me when you are back on the job.”
Encouraged by this response, Pharaoh’s chef relates his dream.
“Woe! In three days you’ll be food for the birds.”
The third day was Pharaoh’s birthday. A feast was held, and the head of both the wine steward and the chef were lifted up. The head of the wine steward was once again held high as he served Pharaoh. The head of the chef was held high by a pole as food for the birds.
Each dream proceeded to come true, as Joseph said. Note that there is nothing miraculous about these interpretations as Joseph had come to know the steward and chef as well as being in a position to know other scuttlebutt such as Pharaoh’s birthday and leaked information.
However, Joseph’s hope of coming to the attention of Pharaoh and being lifted out of this pit of a prison found no immediate satisfaction.