Genesis 40:19 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 40:19, NIV: Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head and impale your body on a pole. And the birds will eat away your flesh.'

Genesis 40:19, ESV: In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head—from you!—and hang you on a tree. And the birds will eat the flesh from you.”

Genesis 40:19, KJV: Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee.

Genesis 40:19, NASB: within three more days Pharaoh will lift up your head from you and will hang you on a wooden post, and the birds will eat your flesh off you.'

Genesis 40:19, NLT: Three days from now Pharaoh will lift you up and impale your body on a pole. Then birds will come and peck away at your flesh.'

Genesis 40:19, CSB: In just three days Pharaoh will lift up your head--from off you--and hang you on a tree. Then the birds will eat the flesh from your body."

What does Genesis 40:19 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

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.