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THE BUTLER AND THE BAKER.
GEN. 40. 4. And the Captain of the guard
charged Joseph with them, and he served
them; and they continued a season in ward, THAT is the Butler and the Baker that were put under Joseph's immediate charge. He was responsible for their safety; he waited on them daily to supply their wants. This is one of the most remarkable Chapters in this Book. It contains the History of the means by which Joseph was delivered from prison and made Governor of Egypt. There is no station so low but the Lord can exalt us in it. Who would have thought of Joseph's advancement in a prison. We are told that " it came to pass after these things, that the Butler of the King of Egypt, and his Baker, had offended their Lord, the King of Egypt. And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the Butlers, and against the chief of the Bakers. And he put them in ward in the house of the Captain of the guard, into the H5
prison, the place where Joseph was bound." Then follow the words I have read to you, contained in the fourth verse.
We know not the crime for which the Butler and the Baker were put in prison: some think that they were accused of attempting to take away the king's life by poison. Probably they were only suspected, and on that accourt confined in the state prison, till the matter was examined, till they were brought to trial. It seems that Potiphar had the charge of this prison; that it was near his house, or else formed a part of the building in which he resided. The keeper of the prison was probably a person employed under Potiphar. If the Jailor was the deputy of Potiphar, then Joseph was the deputy of the Jailor. It should seem from his committing these prisoners to Joseph's care, that he was convinced by some means or other, that Joseph was innocent, and that he had been-un. justly accused. It is very remarkable that the Butler and the Baker should be put into the same prison where Joseph was confined. In this we see the hand of God. If they
had gone to another prison, he would not have had aù opportunity of interpreting their dreams. In this prison, Joseph is said to have served the Butler and the Baker; that is, being prisoners of rank, he carried them their daily provisions, and so he was in the habit of seeing and conversing with them every day.
1. We shall notice the BUTLER'S DREAM.
One morning Joseph went to visit them as usual, and observing that there was a look of sadness or melancholy in their faces, he kindly inquired the reason; they told him that during the night they had each of them dreamed a remarkable dream, they were anxious to know the meaning, but being confined, they could not apply to those who made it their business to interpret dreams.
And the chief Butler told his dream to Jo. seph, and said unto 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 clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes, And Pharaoli's cup
hand : and I H7
took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and I gaye the cup into Pharaoh's hand."
Joseph requested the Butler to relate his dream, and at the same time told him, that interpretatious belonged to God. They had complained that there was no man that could interpret their dreams, but Joseph told them that interpretations belonged unto God; he alone can foretel things to come, and he can. communicate the power of interpreting dreams to whom he pleases. Joseph was now a pri. soner, but also had been a dreamer as well as they, and the fulfilment of his dreams was yet to come. Thus he reproved them for looking to the pretended wise men of Egypt, instead of having come and offered to himself, as the servant of the true God, to be their interpreter. The dream of the Butler related to his past employ- , ment. It was probably the custom of the Butler to press the full ripe grapes immediately into Pharaoh's cup, and present it to him with the réal juice of the vine. They were not acquainted with the present mode of refining the wine after it is pressed from the grape, Such was the sila
plicity of the age in which Joseph lived. All dreams are not alike, the greater part of them are unworthy of regard. Yet God has sometimes made use of a dream to impress the mind of man, to bring back his soul from the pit, and to enlighten him with the light of ths living.
II. JOSEPH'S INTERPRETATION.
The Butler having told his dream to Joseph, he proceeds to tell him the meaning of it. “ And Joseph said, this is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days: yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift
up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place: and thou shall deliver Pharaoh's cup into his hand.” Thus he foretold, that the Butler should be delivered from prison and restored to his office. The rapid budding and blossoming of the vine, and ripening of the grapes, seems to have fixed the interpre. tation to three days, rather than weeks, months, or years : and the actual delivery of the cup into Pharaoh's hand, plainly denoo ted, that the event would be prosperous and good. What must have been the feelings