What does Genesis 40:19 mean?With revelation from God, Joseph is interpreting the dreams of his fellow inmates (Genesis 40:4–8). Having completed the cupbearer's positive interpretation (Genesis 40:9–13), Joseph proceeds to interpret the baker's prophetic dream.
The baker had dreamed that birds were eating baked goods from the topmost of three baskets he carried on his head (Genesis 40:16–17). Joseph has told him that the three baskets represent three days. Now he delivers the devastating conclusion: in three days, the baker will be killed by Pharaoh and hung from a tree. The birds will eat his flesh.
Speaking to the cupbearer, Joseph indicated Pharaoh would "lift up [his] head" (Genesis 40:13). This phrase is usually used as a symbol of reassurance or victory. The imagery is of a person with their face turned down in sorrow, only to have it raised up in victory (Psalm 3:3). In the baker's case, Joseph uses the same phrase—only to clarify that the baker's head will be literally removed from his body.
This most likely means the baker will be decapitated, though it might simply be a reference to an execution. What is clear is that the man's corpse will be hung and left to be desecrated by scavenger birds. Under the Egyptian worldview of the time, this may have been done to keep a person's spirit from finding rest in the afterlife.