Joseph Tells The Meaning Of The Prisoners’ Dreams

(Genesis 40:1-23)          Review Activities for this Lesson

While Joseph was in prison, both the king’s personal servant and his chief cook made the king angry. So he had them thrown into the same prison with Joseph.

One night each of the two men had a dream. The next morning, when Joseph went to see the men, he could tell they were upset, and he asked, “Why are you so worried today?” “We each had a dream last night,” they answered, “and there is no one to tell us what they mean.” Joseph replied, “God knows the meaning of dreams. Now tell me what you dreamed.”

The king’s personal servant told Joseph, “In my dream I saw a vine with three branches. As soon as it budded, it blossomed, and its grapes became ripe. I held the king’s cup and squeezed the grapes into it, then I gave the cup to the king.”

Joseph said “This is the meaning of your dream. The three branches stand for three days, and in three days the king will pardon you. He will make you his personal servant again, and you will serve him his wine, just as you used to do. But when these good things happen, please don’t forget to tell the king about me, so I can get out of this place. I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and here in Egypt I haven’t done anything to deserve being thrown in jail.”

When the chief cook saw that Joseph had given a good meaning to the dream, he told Joseph, “I also had a dream. In it I was carrying three breadbaskets stacked on top of my head. The top basket was full of all kinds of baked things for the king, but birds were eating them.” Joseph said: “This is the meaning of your dream. The three baskets are three days, and in three days the king will have you killed.”

Three days later, while the king was celebrating his birthday with a dinner, he sent for his personal servant and the chief cook. He put the personal servant back in his old job and had the cook put to death.

Everything happened just as Joseph had said it would, but the king’s personal servant completely forgot about Joseph.

Answer the following questions about today’s story:
1. Why do you think Potiphar made Joseph the servant of the king’s personal servant and his chief cook?
2. Who did Joseph say would help him interpret the dreams of the king’s personal servant and his chief cook?
3. What did the king’s personal servant dream?
4. What did Joseph say the servant’s dream meant?
5. What did the chief cook dream?
6. What did Joseph say the chief cook’s dream meant?
7. What happened on the king’s birthday?


  • Why did God keep helping Joseph?
  • How was Joseph able to interpret dreams?
  • Instead of causing trouble, how did Joseph spend his time in prison?
  • When things are going badly, what can you do besides complain or get mad?
Text by Jerri Fusch, used here with the kind permission of the author. Users are free to reproduce for use, but not for publication.