Saturday, March 12, 2011

Genesis 40:16-23 The Baker's Dream

"When the chief baker saw that Joseph had given a favorable interpretation, he said to Joseph, 'I, too, had a dream:  On my head were three baskets of bread.  In the top basket were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.'

'This is what it means,' Joseph said.  'The three baskets are three days.  Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head and hang you on a tree.  And the birds will eat away your flesh.' " (Genesis 40:16-19 NIV)


I don't think that the baker was very pleased with that interpretation -- especially the rather grisly pun it contained which contrasted the idea of 'lifting up the head' and 'lifting off  the head'!  The part about 'lift up your head' (in the cupbearer's dream) meant that Pharaoh would pardon the cupbearer, lift him up from jail and restore him to his position of honor.  The baker's dream, however, indicated that Pharaoh would 'lift' his head off him!  And as for the flesh-eating birds of verse 18, well, nobody wants to hear that coming up in their near future....

Joseph had to tell the man the truth about what his dream meant, though, and he did. 

Sometimes the messages which God gave to his servants are difficult to tell others.  I think of the various prophets who had this difficult task.  For example,  Jeremiah had to tell his countrymen that Judah would be conquered by other nations and that her people would have to go into captivity for a while.  This caused Jeremiah great anguish and he is known as 'the weeping prophet' because of how these messages conflicted with his love for the people.  In Jeremiah's case, he also had the chance to proclaim God's coming mercy and faithfulness to His covenant.

Joseph did not have any news of mercy or deliverance to give the baker.  However, if there is a bright side to this part of the story, I do not believe that Joseph would have failed to give what comfort he could to the condemned man.  Perhaps he also had a chance to speak to him about the God of Israel, so that the baker would be ready to meet his Maker. 

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