The cupbearer said in his dream he saw three branches on a vine. It budded, blossomed and ripened into grapes. Then he squeezed the three grapes into Pharaoh’s cup and gave it to him. Joseph told him that he would only be in jail for three days and then he will be restored to his position as chief cupbearer to Pharaoh and continue to put Pharaoh’s cup in Joseph’s hand. Joseph then asks the cupbearer to remember him with Pharaoh to help get him out of this prison since he is an innocent man.
The baker tells his dream to Joseph, saying he dreamed he had three baskets of bread on his head. The top basket has all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating the goods. Joseph tells that baker that in three days Pharaoh will behead the baker and hang him on a tree. The birds will eat his flesh.
Both dreams came to pass. The chief cupbearer was restored in three days, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, and the baker was hung. However, the cupbearer did not remember Joseph.
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 24, Day 5: Genesis 40:9-23
13) Joseph was honest in his assessment. He could have lied to the baker and said he would live, but he did not.
14) To remember him and mention him to Pharaoh so that he could go free since he has been wrongly imprisoned.
15) The cupbearer was restored his position. The baker was hung. Joseph was forgotten and stayed in jail.
16) Joseph still was in charge so he found comfort in his work. He knew God was with him. God has given him the correct interpretation of the dreams. He was still alive.
17) Taking it day-by-day. You get up and do all that you can do to keep going. You pray; you hope; you pray some more. That’s really all you can do.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 24, Day 5: Genesis 40:9-23
So many time those who have helped others are forgotten when someone reaches success. Remember it’s not about glory here on earth; it’s about the glory in heaven you will receive for doing your good deeds. God remembers; that’s all that really matters.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 24, Day 5: Genesis 40:9-23
God uses pictures that makes sense to the two men. Wine is made from grapes, which the chief cupbearer dealt in wine all the time.
Note that these are not far off dreams; both will happen in three days. This allows God to give Joseph immediate credibility.
Note how Joseph is working for his release. This shows us we have to take action, too, in what we want. God will help, but we must be active participants.
Joseph delivers the bad news along with the good news. How many of us want to know this as well and need to hear it? The message of judgment is just as important as the message of redemption.
We an assume that the baker was guilty of what he was accused of, while the cupbearer was not.
For Jesus, even a message of death can mean good news if you have accepted him as your Savior. Going to heaven is good news, indeed.
It was not Joseph’s time yet. He still must linger in prison. Preparation for greatness takes years to be molded. Having the patience is allow God to do His work is key.
Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker offended Pharaoh and were put in the same prison as Joseph. Both men had a dream that they could not interpret. Joseph saw that they were sad and asked them why. They said they could not interpret their dreams, so Joseph told them God could and to tell them the dreams.
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 24, Day 4: Genesis 40:1-8
11) Joseph noticed that they cupbearer and the baker were sad and asked them why. They said they could not interpret their dreams, so Joseph told them God could and to tell them the dreams. This shows that Joseph knew the men well enough to know when they were dejected and cared enough to ask and to offer help.
12) My family. Be more present with them, ask more questions, listen more.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 24, Day 4: Genesis 40:1-8
I’m wondering about the repeated phrases here I never noticed before: the repetition of their positions and the fact they were in prison. No word in the Bible is wasted, so there has to be some reason here.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 24, Day 4: Genesis 40:1-8
The cupbearer was responsible for tasting all of the drink and food before Pharaoh ate it to make sure it was not poisonous. The baker cooked Pharaoh’s food. Scholars believe there was a plot against Pharaoh, and these two were accused. However, the cupbearer and the baker were in prison for God’s reasons and plans.
Note how Potiphar, who is the captain of the guard, assigned these men to Joseph. Potiphar probably believes Joseph is innocent as indicated by this action. (Genesis 39:1).
Here’s we see Joseph’s heart is like Jesus’s. He helps others and pays attention to their feelings. Most people would not have cared about the sadness of these two men. After all, they were all leading desperate lives as prisoners, so why care about others?
Joseph had a sincere desire to help these men feel better about their dreams. He knew God used dreams to foretell the future like the dreams God had given him. (Genesis 37:5-11), Note how it’s God who knows. Joseph takes no credit for these dreams.
God Uses Dreams To Foretell the Future in the Bible
Joseph was purchased by Potiphar who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, his captain of the guard. God was with Joseph, and he prospered. Potiphar noticed that God was with him and blessed him in everything he did, so he put Joseph in charge of his household. Potiphar was blessed as well because of Joseph and did not have to do anything except feed himself.
Potiphar’s wife wanted to have an affair with Joseph because he was handsome, but Joseph refused to sin against God in that way. She kept asking, and Joseph kept refusing. One day, she grabbed his cloak and asked him to sleep with her. He refused and fled, but she kept his cloak. Potiphar’s wife then claimed that Joseph tried to sleep with her, using his cloak as proof.
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 24, Day 2: Genesis 39:1-18
3a) God blessed Joseph in Potiphar’s house, and Potiphar noticed so he had Joseph be his attendant. He put Joseph in charge of his entire home, and God blessed Potiphar because of it, both in the house and the field. Potiphar did not have to worry about anything.
b) I see God’s work in my life every day, and as I seek, He reveals. I keep on, keeping-on, but I know He is working through me to accomplish His plans. As God has blessed Joseph, so he does all of us.
4a) Potiphar’s wife flat out asked/told Joseph to come to bed with him. When he refused, she kept pestering him, hoping to wear him down. She grabbed his cloak one day when no one else was around and asked again, but Joseph fled. She was so angry to be rejected that she made up a lie about him.
b) I like how Joseph fled from temptation and avoided her probably at all costs and avoided being alone with her. Joseph was also honest with her and did not lie. It’s best to avoid situations altogether where you could face temptation.
5) I’m currently not facing any major situations, but daily situations to do the right thing can be a challenge as well, especially when you think no one is looking or noticing. That is what I plan to pray about and work on. This might cost money, reputation, or embarrassment.
6) God always provides a way out of temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13) and does not give us more than we can bear. Praying, staying close to God, and knowing He is good helps immensely.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 24, Day 2: Genesis 39:1-18
Kudos to Joseph here for standing by his boss and by God, especially when it seems he was being battered by Potiphar’s wife to sleep with him. A lot of men give in to this, especially one in Joseph’s position who was a mere slave and this could have been seen as an order.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 24, Day 2: Genesis 39:1-18
Potiphar’s name means devoted to the sun. The ancient Egyptians worshipped the sun god, Ra who was believed to have created the entire world. He was one of their central gods.
Bible scholars debate is Potiphar was a eunuch since many officials in ancient times were castrated so that they would forever be loyal to the king. There is no confirmation of this idea, however, in Potiphar’s case. If you are the captain of the guard of Pharaoh, you are a very important person. After all, you’re in charge of the Pharaoh’s security.
Note how God was with Potiphar from the beginning. Joseph could have been bought by anyone, including someone who would mistreat him. He was not. Joseph showed everyone that God existed through his actions. Even in our darkest hours (pretty sure going from the favored son of a rich man to a slave qualifies), God blesses and uses it for His good.
Odds are, Joseph’s brothers who put him here were probably not doing all that well.
Interestingly, God can bless our work and those we work with in the same way. This can include your home where you work as well.
Success Takes Time
Although this passage reads as such, Joseph did not become a success overnight. Working backwards with the timeframe, Joseph was sold into slavery at age 17 (Genesis 37:2). We are told he was 30 when Pharaoh promoted him (Genesis 41:46), and we know Joseph was imprisoned for two years before this (Genesis 41:1). Thus, it took Joseph 11 years to work his way up to be Potiphar’s right-hand man. Oftentimes, we are not patient enough to let God work in our lives. This is still quite young, even in our day, to rise to such fame.
We can also assume that Joseph worked hard to earn this position, and he was obviously good at it.
Fun Fact: The writers of the Bible only record two other men as being handsome:
Some Bible scholars say Moses, but Moses was called beautiful as a child (Exodus 2:2), which, as all of us parents know, all babies are beautiful!
If Potiphar was indeed a eunuch, Potiphar’s wife may have been seeking sexual intimacy then with other men. Remember, ancient cultures often saw marriage as more of an open relationship, and affairs were very common and sometimes even acceptable. Perhaps Potiphar’s wife was attracted to Joseph’s looks or to the challenge of bagging him. No one knows her motivations. We are only told her actions here.
Joseph Resists Temptation
Since we all know that Joseph was in Potiphar’s house for 11 years, this could have been going on that entire time. If you think of it in that way, then you can understand that one day Joseph’s refusal would anger Potiphar’s wife enough that she would take her revenge. Yet, Joseph stand firm, knowing he would sin against God and his master if he slept with her.
Note that Potiphar’s wife blamed her husband for bringing Joseph into the house. Note how this sin began in the Garden of Eden when Adam blamed God for the first sin because God made Eve (even though he wanted a companion). (Genesis 3:12-13) This sin of blaming others has been around since the beginning of time.
Many people in the Bible could not resist temptation (Abrah, Moses, David, Joh, Peter, Solomon, and, of course, Adam and Eve). Joseph and Daniel did.
Bible scholars believe Potiphar’s wife planned to get Joseph alone, hoping to finally seduce him with no one looking. Instead, Joseph flees sin once again, as we are commanded to do 2 Timothy 2:22.
She lies, knowing Joseph would be put to death. Yet, for someone who wants to sleep with him, she doesn’t seem to care. We are not told if Joseph defended himself. However, it would not matter. Joseph was a slave. His life didn’t matter. Still, Joseph trusted all things would work together for his good.(Romans 8:28).
Summary of passage: Jacob sees Esau coming towards him with 400 men so he divides up the women and children, putting the maidservants first, then Leah and her kids and finally Rachel and Joseph in the rear (obvious preference here). He went ahead and bowed 7 times to greet his brother.
Esau ran to meet Jacob and welcomed him with open arms. They wept and kissed. Jacob introduced his family and then insisted that Esau keep his gift of animals, saying to see his face is like seeing God’s.
Esau offered to accompany Jacob the rest of the way home, which Jacob refused, citing the fact his herds had a lot of babies and needed to go slow. Esau offered to leave some of his men with Jacob but Jacob refused that as well.
So Esau went back to Seir while Jacob went to Succoth to shelter. Then he ventured on to Shechem where he bought the land upon which to pitch his tent. He set up an altar.
14a) He bowed down to the ground 7 times upon meeting Esau. He calls himself Esau’s servant and his lord. He insists Esau keep his peace offering of animals.
b) They both wept. He compared seeing Esau’s face to seeing God’s face (no light statement).
c) Esau is genuinely glad to see Jacob. He runs to him, embraces him, kisses him, and he weeps. He asks to meet Jacob’s family and he attempts to refuse Jacob’s gift of animals. A selfish man would have gladly accepted. He offers to accompany Jacob back “home” and to offer an escort of men as well.
15) No where does it say in this passage Jacob passed 10 years at Shechem. In fact, it doesn’t say. This is a guess by scholars based off of a guess at Dinah’s age. Genesis 31:13 seems to imply that God is calling Jacob to Bethel. And in Genesis 35:1, God specifically calls Jacob to Bethel.
We all know if God calls, you go and go NOW! Don’t wait! Like the servant’s example in bringing back Rebekah, we must do God’s will and promptly. There is no time to wait. Especially when we know life is so very short.
Conclusions: In that culture, the act of Esau accepting the gifts was an act of forgiveness. You never accepted gifts from an enemy. With Esau’s acceptance, all was put right between the two brothers.
Jacob is still afraid of Esau. He doesn’t want Esau to accompany him and he ends up lying to him, saying he will follow him when Jacob instead goes the opposite direction. Despite having wrestled with God, Jacob is STILL not trusting God to be in control and lead him. Jacob inserts “Jacob” instead of “Israel” here and lingers where he should not.
Plus, Genesis 31:13 seems to imply God is calling Jacob to Bethel. So why does he stop here in Shechem? Fear. Obstinance. Desire to still be in charge.
One commentary I read suggested Jacob wanted to be close to the city (based off of Genesis 33:18), which is speculation in my view. I believe Jacob just wanted to be away from Esau so he went in the opposite direction and stopped somewhere, which happened to be Shechem.
Interesting, however, to note that Jacob is repeating Lot’s sin of wanting to be close to Sodom. As we shall see in chapter 34, sinful people have an unduly influence upon the godly.
Map Work: Map of Shechem and Bethel with Jabbok River HERE
Summary of passage: Jacob sends pacifying gifts to Esau ahead of him while he stayed behind. He sent his family and possessions across the River Jabbok. He was left alone and he wrestled with a man all night. The man touched the socket of Jacob’s hip as they wrestled. Jacob asked for a blessing from the man before he let him go. The man asked his name and then changed it to Israel because he had struggled with God and men had overcome.
He was blessed by the man and the place was called Peniel. Jacob was limping from his battle.
9) He hasn’t yet fully trusted in God. He hasn’t submitted his will to God’s. He hasn’t surrendered nor died to self.
10) We are told Jacob struggled with the angel and overcame him. Jacob then wept and begged for the angel’s favor. We are told this took place near Bethel.
11) The man was God in the person of Jesus for we know God himself never appeared to man (Exodus 33:20; John 1:18; John 6:46). Verse 28 says it clearly when the man speaks and tells Jacob “you have struggled with God”
12) Ok. A bit presumptuous, isn’t this question? No one “forces” God to do anything. So just knowing that one fact about God you know the answer to this question.
Jacob is accepting God’s blessing.
13) When we fight His will for our life.
Conclusions: Like Day 2, I’m left with mixed feelings on this lesson (as you may have been able to tell by their brevity). This is a very famous passage in the Bible. My Bible heading is “Jacob Wrestles With God” and it seems as though BSF focuses too much effort on getting us to realize this is God (the obvious) instead of focusing on the end results and how Jacob needed God to show up in his life again (as I do right now)–and the not-so-obvious.
I would have preferred more questions like 13 instead of like 11 and 12. My opinion, of course. This passage has such depth and meaning as it shows how we all wrestle with God until we finally submit to Him. Instead, we are left hanging. A missed opportunity by BSF.
We all need to surrender our will and our self-reliance (hard to do in America) to God. It is God’s way on His “Way of Holiness(Isaiah 35:8) or the other highway. God must be our center. God must be in control. God must conquer us. When we are defeated by this world and all that happens to us, we weep to God for His blessings as Jacob did. We come crawling to Him, broken. Right where we need to be in order to move forward into the Promised Land. As Jacob shows us.
“I will not let you go unless you bless me”. Jacob grasps the Lord with all his strength, knowing how much he needs God. We must do the same. All the time. Hold onto God and never let go.
Jacob’s enemy is not Esau. It is self. It is death to self that Jacob is struggling against.
The name change signifies the passing of Jacob’s old life into his new life of trusting God 100%. Of being ALL in.
God graced Jacob with a limp as a reminder for the rest of his life to turn to Him.
“Why do you ask my name?” God asks. For we all should know His name.
Analysis of Genesis 32 and Jacob: You can see why Jacob needed to wrestle with God from this passage. It starts out with God’s army camped next to Jacob. Still, he is afraid. Then Jacob prays to God. Still, he is afraid. Next, God wrestles with Jacob. Finally, he surrenders.
Good lesson for all of us how God never gives up on our unbelief and how He does whatever it takes to get us to SEE and turn and fall to the ground at his awesomeness.
Map of Peniel and Mahanaim: Not my favorite but the best one I could find HERE.
Summary of passage: Jacob sends messengers ahead to tell Esau that he is coming. He calls himself Esau’s servant and asks to find favor in his eyes.
The messengers return, telling Jacob that Esau is coming to meet along with 400 men. Jacob is afraid and assumes Esau will attack him so he divides his band into 2 groups in hopes if one is attacked the other group will survive.
Then Jacob prays to God, praising him and beseeching him to save him and his family from the wrath of Esau, quoting God’s promises to him.
Jacob decides to give Esau gifts of hundreds of goats, camels, and donkeys from his flocks. He told the servants to care for these animals, to go ahead of him, and to keep the animals separate. He tells the lead servant to tell Esau that these animals are his and are a gift to him and to say that Jacob is coming behind.
Jacob’s goal was to pacify Esau with the gifts so when he finally meets up with him Esau will not harm him and receive him instead.
Jacob and his family crosses the Jabbok along with his possessions.
5a) Verse 3 Jacob calls himself “your servant”. Jacob calls Esau “my lord” in verse 5. Verse 7 “in great fear and distress” Jacob divides his group.
b) In every way. He had to leave so Esau wouldn’t kill him for Jacob’s treachery at stealing the blessing (in Esau’s eyes. We all know the blessing was Jacob’s) in the way he did.
6) Before, he was merely panicked and completely being subservient, humbling himself before Esau. He was fearful and full of unbelief. He split his camps up, afraid Esau would attack and destroy at least one of them. Then Jacob prays and the prayer is amazing!
Then he had a plan. He offered animals to Esau as a peace offering. But he is coming behind the procession. Despite the fact Jacob offers up a prayer to God, he goes right back to relying on himself, not trusting God to protect him. If he did, he would have been at the head of the procession and his gift might not have been so extravagant as he attempts to placate Esau. He goes right back to relying on his own self and never surrendering himself to God.
7) Yes. He gave 580 (assuming every camel “with their young” had a baby) animals. That’s an incredible amount. It’s hard to picture because most farms these days don’t have that many animals. It takes an incredible amount of land to feed that many animals. And that’s just what Jacob gave! Can you imagine how many he had?
Plus, note a lot were female. These are more valuable in farmer’s eyes because they can produce young. You only need a few males to have babies.
8a) 1) He addresses God by his titles and names (verse 9)
2) He quotes God’s orders and promises to Him (verse 9)
3) Jacob says he is unworthy of God’s kindness and faithfulness. He humbles himself before the Lord (verse 10)
4) He lists the facts for God, saying what he had before and what he had now (verse 10)
5) Then Jacob states the reason for his prayer and what he wants God to do, which is save him (verse 11)
6) He lists the reasons why he is asking–because he is afraid of Esau and for the people with him (verse 11)
7) Jacob ends by repeating God’s promise to him (verse 12)
Jacob used God’s word for thanksgiving and in faith.
Note: Jacob is not only praying for himself (although that’s the primary reason) but he also states he is fearful for the women and children in his group. Great example of praying for others as well as yourself.
b) Although God knows our hearts and even what we will say (even if we can’t formulate the words), God likes to hear that we understand Him, that we know Him, that we acknowledge what He has done in our lives, that we know His promises and His character, and that we desire for Him to do His work in our lives. That what we are asking for aligns with His will and not ours. And that we are praying for others and not just ourselves. That we are not just praying “to get things” but to have things done in our life in accordance with His purpose and will. That we have faith in HIM and are surrendering it all to HIM.
Of course, we have to follow through. Our actions will prove our words once the ‘Amens’ are over.
Conclusions: Did anyone else think Jabbok sounded like a name out of Star Wars?
I was hoping BSF would ask about the prayer model because when I read the passage, I thought to myself “Isn’t this a great example of prayer?” It’s amazing how your thoughts change when you ponder God’s words often.
We see Jacob changing as well, praying before acting (well, almost!). But we didn’t see the follow through that is so important to God. It’s almost as if such a beautiful prayer is wasted. God finally had to wrestle with Jacob to make him GET IT! I hope I learn a bit quicker!
Summary of passages: Jacob leaves Mesopotamia and heads for the Promised Land. On the way, he sees angels of God who meet him and camp beside him. He sends messengers ahead to tell Esau that he is coming. He calls himself Esau’s servant and asks to find favor in his eyes.
The messengers return, telling Jacob that Esau is coming to meet along with 400 men. Jacob is afraid and assumes Esau will attack him so he divides his band into 2 groups in hopes if one is attacked the other group will survive.
2 Kings 6:8-23: Aram and Israel are at war. A man of God (Elisha the prophet) tells Israel’s king exactly what the king of Aram is planning. This enraged the king of Aram. He accuses his officers of warning the Israelites but they tell him it is Elisha. So the king of Aram tries to capture Elisha in Dothan. They surround the city.
Elisha’s servant who is afraid warns Elisha. Elisha prays and the Lord opens the servant’s eyes to see horses and chariots of fire all around (the supernatural forces of God around us).
The Elisha prays and Aram’s forces are struck with blindness. Elisha then leads Aram’s forces to Samaria. He prays for their eyes to be opened and the Lord does so. The king of Israel asks Elisha if he should kill them. Elisha responds no but instead feed and water them and send them back home.
The king of Israel prepared a great feast for his enemies and they returned home and stopped raiding Israel.
3a) God is with us even when we can’t see him. If you treat your enemies humbly and serve them, God will bless you. Jacob humbled himself before Esau, calling himself his servant (when we all know the prophecy states otherwise) and Elisha feeds the enemy with a grand feast and sends them home.
b) Personal Question. My answer: Treat even those whom we don’t like as we would want to be treated. Remember God is all around us. His forces surround us, protecting us from the devil even though we cannot see them. If we call upon them, they will fight for us. Something we need to remember.
4a) Genesis 32:1-2: God sends his angels to help us. We can see angels.
Psalm 34:7: Angels protect those who fear the Lord and delivers them.
Daniel 6:22: Angels do God’s bidding. Here, they shut the mouths of the lions to protect Daniel who was innocent before God.
1 Corinthians 6:2-3: Since the saints (us) will judge the world we will judge angels as well (since we are above angels. See Hebrews 1:4-14).
Hebrews 1:14: Angels are ministering spirits sent to serve us.
b) Personal Question. My answer: Angels serve us and help us. Good to know there are others sent to back me up in the spiritual battles I face.
Conclusions: Mixed on this lesson actually. It seems like every year we have a study of angels so I guess this was it. I liked the 2 Kings passage. It’s a great reminder that God is all around us, watching and helping us, even if we can’t see it, and He has sent helpers (angels) for our benefit. And a reminder to treat our enemies kindly. Then we will be blessed.
I would, however, like to see the camp of angels around me. Cool, huh?
One interesting note: Even though Jacob can see the angels around him, he quickly forgets God is with him and is still afraid–to the point he separates his group. He should trust in God (and His army) to protect him from Esau’s wrath.