What does Genesis 40:5 mean?
ESV: And one night they both dreamed—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison—each his own dream, and each dream with its own interpretation.
NIV: each of the two men--the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were being held in prison--had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own.
NASB: Then the cupbearer and the baker for the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison, both had a dream the same night, each man with his own dream and each dream with its own interpretation.
CSB: The king of Egypt's cupbearer and baker, who were confined in the prison, each had a dream. Both had a dream on the same night, and each dream had its own meaning.
NLT: While they were in prison, Pharaoh’s cup-bearer and baker each had a dream one night, and each dream had its own meaning.
KJV: And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison.
NKJV: Then the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison, had a dream, both of them, each man’s dream in one night and each man’s dream with its own interpretation.
Verse Commentary:
Regardless of specific titles, unbridled power tends to be used in haphazard, unpredictable ways. Egyptian Pharaohs were subject to very few limits on their authority. The current Pharaoh has thrown his cupbearer and baker into prison in a fit of rage. We're not told what they did, only that they're guilty of some offense (Genesis 40:1–3). Once jailed, a prisoner could languish there indefinitely. No release dates were guaranteed. They might be suddenly executed or released if the king's anger cooled.

Along with Joseph, the cupbearer and baker were stuck in this limbo as time passed. At this point, Joseph has likely been in jail for several years. Punished for a false charge (Genesis 39:10–15), Joseph has been there for "some time." And it is, again, "some time" before anything noteworthy happens with these new prisoners.

Then, one night, both the cupbearer and the baker have remarkable dreams. These weren't ordinary experiences, or even vivid nightmares. Something about these visions made it clear they needed to be understood. Adding to their significance was the fact that both men's dreams occurred on the same night. These are prophetic dreams: pointing to a specific outcome in the lives of these two men.
Verse Context:
Genesis 40:1–23 takes place during Joseph's years in a prison, or dungeon, within the house of the captain of the guard. Two men join him there for a time and experience troubling, prophetic dreams. Joseph's interpretation reveals that the former cupbearer to Pharaoh will be restored to his old job. The former baker for Pharaoh will be executed. Both interpretations are fulfilled exactly, but Joseph is soon forgotten again.
Chapter Summary:
Genesis 40 describes Joseph's interpretation of dreams for two of his fellow prisoners. Pharaoh's chief cupbearer and baker are imprisoned and experience troubling, prophetic visions. Joseph reveals the meaning of those dreams and, just as he predicts, the cupbearer is restored to his position while the baker is executed. The redeemed cupbearer, despite Joseph's plea, says nothing to Pharaoh about Joseph's situation.
Chapter Context:
Joseph remains in prison after being accused of attempted rape by Potiphar's wife (Genesis 39:11–15). The Lord blesses Joseph even in jail (Genesis 39:21–23), but he longs to get out. His chance for release comes through an opportunity to interpret the dreams of two fellow prisoners. The dreams reveal that one will be restored to his old position, while the other will be killed. Joseph pleads with the servant to be restored, asking him to to plead with Pharaoh to get Joseph released, but the man fails to do so. Two years later (Genesis 41:1), another dream requires explanation, and Joseph will finally be freed (Genesis 41:12–14).
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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