Joseph, still incarcerated, and yet seeming to have some degree of authority over other prisoners, diligently performs his duties, even asking what might be bothering other inmates. He shows no competition, resentment, or indifference. On the contrary, he is quite happy to involve himself in their lives in ways that bless them (well, one of the men who learned the dark interpretation of his dream might not have felt like he was blessed). Joseph does plead with the cupbearer, in return, to remember his (Joseph’s) kindness when the man once again enjoyed his freedom. Unfortunately, Joseph’s request was not honored in a very timely manner, and it seemed that Joseph had been mistreated once again.
However, when we consider that God gave those men dreams so that Joseph would be able to give testimony to God being the Author of all interpretations, we can imagine that Joseph, the poster child for hard knocks, was encouraged to see the hand of God at work around him. God giving those men dreams provided Joseph with additional opportunities for blessing those around him (that is, after all, the purpose of the chosen people of God, to be a blessing to all the earth) and to remind Joseph that God is with him, even in dark seasons.
So, maybe you’re not a Christian, and maybe you don’t like the Christians you know. I can’t change that. But there is something you can’t change either: God is at work in your life, and He does bless you through that work–and through His people. Are you sure that’s not something that intrigues you just a little bit? God’s people blessing those around them and not cursing them when they are mistreated in return? What are you waiting for? Open the Bible. Call up that Jesus-follower friend of yours. It’s time for a prison-break!
“Some time after this, the cupbearer of the king of Egypt and his baker committed an offense against their lord the king of Egypt. And Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and he put them in custody in the house of the captian of the guard, in the prison where Joseph was confined. The captain of the guard appointed Joseph to be with them, and he attended them. They continued for some time in custody.
“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. When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were troubled. So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in custody in his master’s house, ‘Why are your faces downcast today?’ 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.’
“So the cupbearer told his dream to Joseph and said to him, ‘In my dream there was a vine before me, and on the vine there were three branches. As soon as it budded, its blossoms shot forth, and the clusters ripened into grapes. Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup and placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.’ Then Joseph said to him, ‘This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days. In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office, and you shall place Pharaoh’s cup in his hand as formerly, when you were his cupbearer. Only remember me, when it is well with you, and please do me the kindness to mention me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house. For I was indeed stolen out of the land of the Hebrews, and here also I have done nothing that they should put me into the pit.’
“When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was favorable, he said to Joseph, ‘I also had a dream: there were three cake baskets on my head, and in the uppermost basket there were all sorts of baked food for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating it out of the basket on my head.’ And Joseph answered and said, ‘This is its interpretation: the three baskets are three days. 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.’
“On the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, he made a fest for all his servants and lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. He restored the chief cupbearer to his postion, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand. But he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.” -Genesis 40:1-23