Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Genesis
Book: Genesis
Chapter: 40

The chief Butler and baker of Pharaoh in Prison, Their dreams
interpreted By Joseph. (1-19) The ingratitude of the chief
Butler. (20-23)

1-19 It was not So much the Prison that made the Butler and
baker sad, as their dreams. God has more ways than one to sadden
the spirits. Joseph had compassion towards them. Let us be
concerned for the sadness of our brethren's countenances. It is
often a relief to those that are in trouble to be noticed. Also
learn to look into the causes of our own sorrow. Is there a good
reason? Is there not comfort sufficient to Balance it, whatever
it is? Why art thou cast down, O my soul? Joseph was careful to
ascribe the Glory to God. The chief Butler's Dream foretold his
advancement. The chief baker's Dream his Death. It was not
Joseph's fault that he brought the baker No better tidings. And
thus ministers are but interpreters; they cannot make the thing
otherwise than it is: if they Deal faithfully, and their message
prove unpleasing, it is not their fault. Joseph does not reflect
upon his brethren that sold him; nor does he reflect On the
wrong done him By his mistress and his master, but mildly states
his own innocence. When we are called On to clear ourselves, we
should carefully avoid, as much as may be, speaking ill of
others. Let us be content to prove ourselves innocent, and not
upbraid others with their guilt.

20-23 Joseph's interpretation of the dreams came to pass On the
very Day fixed. On Pharaoh's Birth-Day, all his servants
attended him, and then the cases of these two came to be looked
into. We may all profitably take notice of our Birth-days, with
thankfulness for the mercies of our Birth, sorrow for the
sinfulness of our lives, and expectation of the Day of our
Death, as better than the Day of our Birth. But it seems strange
that worldly people, who are So fond of living here, should
rejoice at the End of one Year after another of their short span
of Life. A Christian has cause to rejoice that he was born, also
that he comes nearer to the End of his Sin and sorrow, and
nearer to his Everlasting happiness. The chief Butler remembered
not Joseph, but forgot him. Joseph had deserved Well at his
hands, yet he forgot him. We must not think it strange, if in
this world we have Hatred shown us for our Love, and slights for
our kindness. See how apt those who are themselves at ease are
to forget others in distress. Joseph learned By his
disappointment to trust in God only. We cannot expect too little
from Man, nor too much from God. Let us not forget the
sufferings, promises, and Love of our Redeemer. We blame the
chief Butler's ingratitude to Joseph, yet we ourselves act much
more ungratefully to the Lord Jesus. Joseph had but foretold the
chief Butler's enlargement, but Christ wrought out ours; he
mediated with the King of Kings for us; yet we forget him,
though often reminded of him, and though we have promised never
to forget him. Thus ill do we requite Him, like foolish people
and unwise.