Genesis 40:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 40:8, NIV: We both had dreams,' they answered, 'but there is no one to interpret them.' Then Joseph said to them, 'Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.'

Genesis 40:8, ESV: They said to him, “We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.” And Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me.”

Genesis 40:8, KJV: And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.

Genesis 40:8, NASB: And they said to him, 'We have had a dream, and there is no one to interpret it.' Then Joseph said to them, 'Do interpretations not belong to God? Tell it to me, please.'

Genesis 40:8, NLT: And they replied, 'We both had dreams last night, but no one can tell us what they mean.' 'Interpreting dreams is God's business,' Joseph replied. 'Go ahead and tell me your dreams.'

Genesis 40:8, CSB: "We had dreams," they said to him, "but there is no one to interpret them."Then Joseph said to them, "Don't interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams."

What does Genesis 40:8 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Pharaoh's former cupbearer and baker sit languishing in prison for some untold crime (Genesis 40:1–3). Their caretaker is also a prisoner, but one unfairly jailed for a false charge (Genesis 39:11–15). Joseph has proven his use to the jailer and been given considerable responsibilities in the prison (Genesis 39:21–23). That includes some authority over these two men (Genesis 40:4). For all three men, their futures seem bleak. Recently, the baker and cupbearer are troubled for another reason. On the same night, they both had separate, deeply impactful dreams (Genesis 40:5–7).

The Egyptians held dreams to be very important, in general. They believed dreams allowed for contact with the dead and with the gods. Some Egyptians specialized in claiming to interpret significant-seeming dreams for people. The cupbearer and the baker cannot understand their visions, but they know they are important (Genesis 40:5–6). They likely wished they could talk to one of those dream specialists.

Joseph dismisses that superstition with a single statement: interpretations belong to God. Joseph saw his God as the revealer. Dream specialists were not required for someone who was in communication with the one, true God, as Joseph was. He asked the men to tell him the dreams, implying that God would give him the revelation and he would tell it to them. That's exactly what happens (Genesis 40:9, 16).