Joseph in Prison

Reading: Genesis 39-40

A completely new life lay ahead for Joseph. After arriving in Egypt, Joseph was soon sold as a slave. A man called Potiphar, the commander of Pharaoh's army, bought him. Pharaoh was the supreme ruler of Egypt.

From then on Joseph had to learn to live like an Egyptian and to be able to speak their language, but he never forgot his father and the lessons he had taught him. Joseph continued to believe in and to trust God and to live his life in a manner pleasing to God. He did not grumble or try to escape, but was brave and patient. He worked hard to please his master and to give of his best. As a result God blessed his work and all that Joseph did prospered. Potiphar soon realised that he could trust Joseph completely and he put him in charge of all his affairs, giving him complete control over the running of his house.

Sadly, however, Joseph was to find himself in trouble again. Potiphar's wife liked Joseph and took to following him around whenever she could. Joseph tried to keep out of her way but, one day when he went into the house, Potiphar's wife grabbed hold of him. Joseph immediately pulled himself free and ran out of the house, leaving his coat in her hand.

Potiphar's wife was furious and, when her husband arrived home, she accused Joseph of attacking her. She even showed her husband Joseph's coat as 'proof'. Unfortunately, Potiphar believed his wife and Joseph was arrested and thrown into prison. He was no longer a trusted slave but a common criminal with shackled on his ankles and an iron collar around his neck.

God, however, remained with Joseph even in the dark prison and Joseph did not forget God! He continued to behave well and, in time, the chief jailer realised Joseph was a man who could be trusted and so placed him in charge of all the other prisoners.

Some time after Joseph arrived in prison, two other men were arrested and put in the same prison, this time by Pharaoh. One was his cupbearer and the other was his baker - two very important people in Pharaoh's court, especially the cupbearer. He had the job of pouring Pharaoh's wine and tasting it to make sure that it was not poisoned. If it were, he would die instead of Pharaoh!

One morning Joseph found them looking puzzled and asked them what the problem was. They told him that during the night they had each had a strange dream. They believed the dreams meant something but they did not know what and so were frightened at what the interpretations could possible be.

"God can explain dreams," Joseph said. "Tell them to me and I will let you know what they mean."

"I saw a vine" said the cupbearer. "It had three branches on which grapes grew. I picked the grapes, squeezed their juice into Pharaoh's cup and gave it to Pharaoh."

Joseph then explained. He told the cupbearer that the three branches stood for three days. After three days the cupbearer would be set free and be given his job back again.

The baker then told his dream. "I carried three baskets on my head," he said. "In them were all kinds of cakes but the birds flew down and ate them all up."

Alas, the baker's dream had a sad meaning. Joseph told him that three days later Pharaoh would bring him out of prison but not to give him his job back. Instead Pharaoh would hang him and the birds would peck the flesh from off his bones.

Everything happened as Joseph said. Three days later Pharaoh had a feast to celebrate his birthday and he sent for the cupbearer and the baker. He gave the cupbearer his job back, but the baker he sent to the gallows.

Joseph meanwhile remained in prison. One day he would be released….


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