Genesis 39


God is with us and prospers us


1 And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, chief executioner, an Egyptian, bought him from the hands of the Ishmeelites, that had brought him down there. 2 And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did prosper in his hand. 4 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and put into his hand all that he had.


  • Joseph’s dad had four wives. Joseph had 11 brothers. His father indulged him and his brothers hated him.
  • When Shechem raped his sister, her two brothers slaughtered a whole town because of it.
  • His brothers nearly killed Joseph: but instead, they sold him into slavery into Egypt.
  • Joseph could have solved his problems by evil but chose instead to trust God.
  • God was with Joseph and prospered him.
  • God promoted Joseph.
  • God promises this to those who meditate in His word day and night (Psalm 1:1-3, Joshua 1:8).
  • God desires to be with everyone and to bless everyone.
  • Deuteronomy 31:8 It is the LORD that goes before you; he will be with you, he will not fail you or forsake you; do not fear, or be dismayed.
  • Psalm 75:6 promotion does not come from the east or from the west or from the south. 7But God is the judge: he puts one down, and sets up another.


5 And from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had in the house and in the field. 6 And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he did not concern himself with anything except the food that he ate. And Joseph was a well built and handsome. 7 And it happened after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes on Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. 8 But he refused and said to his master's wife, Behold, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand; 9 There is no one greater in this house than I; he has kept back nothing from me but you, because you are his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? 10 And as she spoke to Joseph day by day, he did not listen to her, to lie by her or to be with her.


  • A person who thinks that sex is happiness is wrong.
  • God made sex. He set the boundaries for sex. He has forbidden adultery for our good.
  • How happy are the tears of a neglected mate? How happy is a broken home and not seeing your children? How happy is marital counseling and divorce?
  • Proverbs 6:32 But whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding: he that does it destroys his own soul.
  • Psalm 16:11 In your presence is fullness of joy and at your right hand pleasures forever.


11 And it happened about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his work; and none of the men were inside the house. 12 And she caught him by his garment saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and ran and got out. 13 And when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand ran out. 14 So she called the men of her house and spoke to them saying, See, he has brought in a Hebrew to us to mock us; he came in to me to lie with me and I screamed with a loud voice: 15 And when he heard that I lifted up my voice and screamed, he left his garment with me and fled and got out. 16 And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home. 17 And she spoke these words to him saying, The Hebrew servant that you have brought to us came in to me to make sport of me: 18 And when I screamed, he left his garment with me and ran out. 19 Now when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spoke to him saying, This is what your slave did to me, his anger burned. 20 And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were held: and he was there in the prison.


  • Joseph suffered greatly for doing the right thing.
  • He was careful to live rightly before God and God brought great blessing into His life because he honored God first.
  • 1Corinthians 6:18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is outside the body; but he that commits fornication sins against his own body.


The Lord was with Joseph; He showed him mercy and gave him favor


21 But the LORD was with Joseph, and showed him mercy, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatever they did there, he was the doer of it. 23 The keeper of the prison did not concern himself with anything that was under his hand because the LORD was with him, and the LORD prospered everything that he did.


  • Genesis 39 corrects the error that bad experiences in childhood build bad character or criminal behavior.
  • It is personal choice that builds our character.
  • All that happened to Joseph built his relationship with his Maker.
  • Through it all God was with Joseph working it for good. God was not showing favoritism to Joseph. He wants to do the same in every life.
  • Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
  • 1Corinthians 2:9 Eye has not seen nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for them that love him.

                                            Genesis 40


1 And after these things, that the cupbearer of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord, the king of Egypt. 2 Pharaoh was furious against two of his officers, against the head cupbearer and against the head baker. 3 And he put them in custody in the house of the chief executioner, in the prison, the place where Joseph was imprisoned. 4 And the chief executioner charged Joseph with them, and he served them: they were in custody many days. 5 And they both dreamed a dream, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison. 6 And Joseph came in to them in the morning and looked at them, and saw they were sad. 7 And he asked Pharaoh's officers that were with him in custody of his lord's house saying, Why do you look so sad today?


  • The word ‘served’ in verse 4 is the same word used for ministering in God’s sanctuary.
  • Joseph served them ‘as unto the LORD (Colossians 3:23).’
  • Joseph had great cause to be sad himself, but God’s presence and provision for us in all circumstances transcends the outward circumstances of life.
  • He makes us cheerful in adverse circumstances.
  • Colossians 3:23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men
  • Psalm 16:11 You will show me the path of life: in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

God interprets dreams


8 And they said to him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said to them, Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell me them. 9 And the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph and said to him, In my dream, behold, I saw a vine before me; 10 And in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot out; and its clusters brought forth ripe grapes: 11 And Pharaoh's cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand.


  • The Egyptians didn’t drink fermented drink.
  • The cupbearer brought fresh grapes and squeezed them into the king’s cup right before the king drank it.
  • Joseph didn’t take credit for the ability that God gave him to interpret dreams.
  • 1 Corinthians 4:7 For who makes you to differ from another? What do you have that you did not receive? Now if you received it, why do you boast, as if you had not received it?


12 And Joseph said to him, This is its interpretation: The three branches are three days: 13 Within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head, and restore you to your place: and you will deliver Pharaoh's cup into his hand as you did before when you were his cupbearer. 14 Think about me when it is well with you, and please show kindness to me and mention me to Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: 15 For I was in fact kidnapped out of the land of the Hebrews: and I have done nothing wrong here that they should put me into the dungeon.


  • Like Job’s unjust suffering and Moses on the backside of the desert, God shapes His people with suffering for their good where it is needed.
  • Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.


16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good he said to Joseph, I also was in my dream, and behold, I had three white baskets on my head: 17 And in the uppermost basket there was of all kinds of baked foods for Pharaoh; and the birds ate them out of the basket on my head. 18 And Joseph answered and said, This is its interpretation: The three baskets are three days: 19 Within three days Pharaoh will lift your head from off you and will hang you on a tree; and the birds will eat your flesh from off you. 20 And it happened the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday that he made a feast for all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and of the chief baker among his servants. 21 And he restored the chief cupbearer to his service again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand: 22 But he hanged the chief baker as Joseph had interpreted to them. 23 Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.


  • Joseph was honest even when it was hard.
  • We have to tell it like it is, with love.
  • It wasn’t God’s time for Joseph to be released.
  • His faith and closeness to God needed more growth.
  • God is the feast of our hearts.
  • The Bible has good news for those who seek God but bad news for those who refuse His gift of salvation.
  • 1 Peter 1:7 That the testing of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it is tested with fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
  • Psalm 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he will strengthen your heart: I say, wait on the LORD.
  • John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me will never hunger; and he that believes on me will never thirst.
  • Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will feast with him, and he with me.


                                             Genesis 41


1 Then at the end of two full years Pharaoh had a dream; and behold, he stood by the river. 2 Suddenly seven cows came up out of the river, fine looking and fat; and they fed in the meadow. 3 Then behold, seven other cows came up after them out of the river, ugly and gaunt, and stood by the other cows on the bank of the river. 4 And the ugly and gaunt cows ate up the seven fine looking and fat cows. So Pharaoh awoke. 5 He slept and dreamed a second time; and suddenly seven ears of grain came up on one stalk, plump and good. 6 Then behold, seven thin ears, scorched by the east wind, sprung up after them. 7 And the seven thin ears devoured the seven plump and full ears. So Pharaoh awoke, and indeed, it was a dream. 8 So it happened in the morning that his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. And Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them for Pharaoh.


  • Genesis 40:8…Do not interpretations belong to God?


9 Then the chief cupbearer spoke to Pharaoh saying: I remember my faults today. 10 When Pharaoh was angry with his servants, and put me in custody in the house of the chief executioner, both me and the chief baker, 11we each dreamed a dream in one night, he and I. Each of us dreamed according to the interpretation of his own dream. 12 Now there was a young Hebrew man with us there, a servant of the chief executioner. And we told him, and he interpreted our dreams for us; to each man he interpreted according to his own dream. 13 And it came to pass, just as he interpreted for us, that’s what happened. He restored me to my office, and he hanged him. 14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh.


  • The Egyptians were clean-shaven but the Pharaoh’s wore little goatees.

15 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it. 16 So Joseph answered Pharaoh saying, It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace. 17 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph: Behold, in my dream I stood on the bank of the river. 18 Suddenly seven cows came up out of the river, fine looking and fat; and they fed in the meadow. 19 Then behold, seven other cows came up after them, poor, very ugly and gaunt; I have never seen such ugliness in all the land of Egypt. 20 And the gaunt and ugly cows ate up the first seven, the fat cows. 21 When they had eaten them up, no one would have known that they had eaten them, for they were just as ugly as at the beginning. So I awoke. 22 Also I saw in my dream, and suddenly seven ears of grain came up on one stalk, full and good. 23 Then behold, seven ears of grain, withered, thin, and scorched by the east wind, sprang up after them. 24 And the thin ears devoured the seven good ears. So I told this to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me.

  • God gives answers of peace. All the glory and credit go to God alone.
  • Daniel 2:28 But there is a God in heaven that reveals secrets, and makes known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days.
  • John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid.


God shows what He is about to do


25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do: 26 The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads are seven years; the dreams are one. 27 And the seven thin and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty ears blighted by the east wind are seven years of famine. 28 This is the thing that I have spoken to Pharaoh. God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do. 29 Indeed seven years of great plenty will come throughout all the land of Egypt; 30 but after them seven years of famine will arise, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine will consume the land. 31 And the plenty will not be known in the land because of the famine following, for it will be very severe. 32 And the dream was repeated to Pharaoh twice because the thing is prepared by God and God will shortly bring it to pass.


  • God warned them, He gave them time to prepare, and He gave them a way to prepare for the coming disaster.
  • Throughout history God has shown and told those who were listening what He was doing and why.
  • Philippians 4:19 But my God will supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

33 Now let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh do this: let him appoint officers over the land, to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years. 35 And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming, and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. 36 Then that food will be a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which will be in the land of Egypt, that the land not perish during the famine. 37 Now the advice seemed good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants.


  • How wonderful it is when people listen to and heed God’s warnings.
  • The people of the world would not be steeped in famine and warfare today if they listened to God and turned from their worship of false things. _


38 And Pharaoh said to his servants, Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God? 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you.


  • He puts His Spirit in us. He gives His own wisdom. King Solomon is God’s best example of this.
  • Proverbs 2:6 For the LORD gives wisdom: out of his mouth comes knowledge and understanding.
  • Luke 11:13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

40 You will be over my house, and all my people will be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne I will be greater than you. 41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt. 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Joseph's hand; and he clothed him in clothing of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 And he had him ride in the second chariot that he had; and they cried out before him, Bow the knee! So he set him over all the land of Egypt. 44 Pharaoh also said to Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no man may lift his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.


  • Pharaoh is going to be blessed mightily because of this decision.
  • Fourteen years into the future he will own all the land of Egypt rather than just being their leader.
  • The ring was the power of attorney and power to disburse funds.
  • Joseph is an illustration of Jesus Christ in that God gave all things into Jesus hands just like Pharaoh gave everything into Joseph’s control.
  • John 13:3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he came from God, and went to God;


45 And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnath-Paaneah. And he gave him as a wife Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On. So Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt. 46 Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt. 47 Now in the seven plentiful years the ground brought forth abundantly. 48 So he gathered up all the food of the seven years that was in the land of Egypt, and stored the food in the cities; he laid up the food of the fields that surrounded them in every city. 49 Joseph gathered very much grain, like the sand of the sea, until he stopped counting, for it was without number.


  • It was BC 1715-1708 when they stored excess grain in the store cities.
  • Zaphnath-paaneah means ‘sustenance of the land is the living one, or revealer of secrets.’
  • Joseph is seen here as a type of Christ, the Savior of the world.
  • During the famine, all the world had to come to him for food to stay alive.
  • The story of Joseph teaches us that God is sovereign over the affairs of men.
  • He says when there will be plenty when there will be lack, based on the whether the people are seeking Him or following idols.
  • This event of history also teaches us the value of putting something aside for those difficult times that will come. And far more important, investing in the service of God where it can never be lost but will earn hundredfold forever (Matthew 19:29).
  • John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me will never hunger; and he that believes on me will never thirst.
  • John 10:28 And I give to them eternal life; and they will never perish, neither will any man pluck them out of my hand.


God makes us forget the hard things; He makes us fruitful in our affliction


50 Two sons were born to Joseph before the years of famine came, whom Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On, bore to him. 51 Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh/forgetting: ForGod has made me forget all my toil and all my father's house. 52 And the name of the second he called Ephraim/fruitful: For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction. 53 Then the seven years of plenty that were in the land of Egypt ended, 54 and the seven years of famine began to come, as Joseph had said. The famine was in all lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was food.

  • God uses famine to call the world back to Himself for He is life.
  • II Kings 8:1 Then Elisha spoke to the woman whose son he had restored to life saying, "Rise up and go, you and your household, and stay wherever you can; for the LORD has called for a famine, and furthermore, it will come upon the land for seven years."


55 So when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for food. Then Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, Go to Joseph; whatever he says to you, do. 56 The famine was over all the face of the earth, and Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians. And the famine became severe in the land of Egypt. 57 So all countries came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, because the famine was severe in all lands.


  • God provides for His own in famine
  • Job 5:20 In famine He will redeem you from death, in war from the power of the sword.




SUMMARY: Genesis 39-41


  • The Lord is with us, prospers us, shows mercy, and gives favor in the sight of others.
  • He gives and interprets dreams
  • He shows what He is about to do
  • He makes us forget the hard things
  • He makes us fruitful in our afflictions