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October 16, 2020

Joseph’s time in prison for a crime he did not commit is revealed in Genesis 40. Additionally, David wrote about Joseph’s imprisonment experience in Psalms 105:16-22, which states, “Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread. He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: Until the time that his word came: the word of the Lord tried him. The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free. He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance: To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom.” The scriptures and commentators are not clear concerning the time or times Joseph was shackled. I’m assuming it probably was on his way to Egypt after being sold to the Ishmaelites by his brothers and again when Potiphar incarcerated him for an alleged assault on his wife.

Though in pain physically and emotionally, Joseph did not spend his time idly or complaining but instead, he maintained a good attitude for as stated in Genesis 39:21-23, “But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to anything that was under his hand; because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.”.

During this time, Pharaoh’s chief butler and chief baker offended him, and he put them in prison and while they were there Potiphar placed them in the care of Joseph. One night both of these men had a troubling dream, which they shared with Joseph in the morning. After hearing the dreams, Joseph, with the help of God, interpreted both dreams. The dream of the butler revealed he would be reinstated to his former position in three days and the dream of the baker revealed in three days, the king would have him hung.

Thinking the butler could help him get out of prison; Joseph said to him, “But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon. “Three days passed, and the interpretation of the dreams came to pass; however, the reinstated butler forgot about Joseph.

In closing, as I did in the previous blogs of this series, I will end with points that I think are helpful for all of us to remember:

  1. So far, Joseph experienced verbal abuse, physical abuse, and rejection from his brothers, false accusations from Potiphar’s wife, and faulty handling and judgment from Potiphar. His experience was painful, yet he continued doing the right thing with an excellent spirit. How do you survive unjust treatment?
  2. There was a responsible trait about Joseph that was recognizable by Potiphar and the warden for both of them to promote Joseph. Additionally, though he had Joseph imprisoned, Potiphar still recognized Joseph’s capabilities; so, he entrusted him with the care of the butler and baker. No matter where you are, you are what you are; no one or event can take that from you.
  3. Despite his plight, Joseph showed genuine concern for the baker and butler.
  4. Dream interpretation needs the help of God. When you have a dream, seek God for the interpretation, don’t attempt to do it independently.
  5. As expressed in Joseph’s words to the butler, “Life is not always pleasant, and sometimes you experience one mishap after another.”
  6. The people that you helped and care for can forget the kindness you bestowed on them


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