Bible blog 1699

This blog is presently following the book of Genesis, using the Schocken Bible translation which represents the Hebrew idiom of the original . The daily headlines are reminders of the world we live in.




Then the two of them dreamt a dream, each man his own dream, in a single night,

each man according to his dream’s interpretation,

the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were imprisoned in the dungeon house.

When Yosef saw them in the morning, look, they were dejected!

so he asked Pharaoh’s officials who were with him in custody in the house of his Lord, saying:

why are your faces in such ill humour today?

They said to him:

we have dreamt a dream and there is no interpreter for it!

Yosef said to them:

Are not interpretations from God?

Pray recount them to me.

The chief cupbearer recounted his dream to Yosef, he said:

in my dream –

look, a vine was in front of me

and on the vine, three winding tendrils

and just as it was budding, blossom came up,

and its clusters ripened into grapes.

Now Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand-

I picked the grapes and squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup

and put the cup on Pharaoh’s hand.

Yosef said to him:

This  is the interpretation:

The three windings are three days –

in another three days,

Pharaoh will lift up your head

he will restore you to your position so that you will put the cup in Pharaoh’s hand once more,

according to the former practice when you were his cupbearer.

But keep me in mind when it goes well with you,

pray deal kindly with me, and call me to mind to Pharaoh,

so that you have me brought out of this house.

For I was stolen, yes, stolen from the land of the Hebrews

and here too I have  done nothing

that they should have put me in the pit. image

The storyteller reminds the audience by the cupbearer’s agricultural image of Yosef’s dream of the sheaves which got him into trouble precisely because he didn’t seek God’s interpretation of it, but teased his brothers with his self-aggrandisement. Now he acts as interpreter under God for his fellow prisoners. This role emphasises that God is not so much the author of dreams – which come from the fears and hopes of people – but rather the one who helps people to understand themselves. Yosef’s increasing self-knowledge is shown in his ability to interpret dreams, while the limits of his self-knowledge are shown by his desire to use his gift for self-advancement. There is nevertheless an issue of injustice in what has been done to Yosef, which he expresses in terms that cannot be denied. His confidence in complaining against injustice is part of his trust in God.

The audience remembers that Yosef is being tested by his bad luck and maybe more by his good luck. If things turn out for the better, will he still remember his God and his responsibility to neighbours and family?

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