Things were going along fine for Joseph. He was making the best of his situation as a slave in Potiphar’s house. But suddenly, due to circumstances beyond his control, his life took a tragic turn.
This chapter finds Joseph in prison, falsely accused of attempted rape. Here is Joseph’s matter-of-fact assessment in his own words (v.14-15): “Get me out of this jail-house, for I was stolen out of the land of the Hebrews…I have done nothing that they should put me into the pit.”
Knowing those facts, we would expect Joseph to either become bitter and angry or curl up and die. “But in the prison,” says author John Phillips, “Joseph quietly submitted himself to the will of God.” He did not understand why he was where he was, but he trusted the Lord.
This chapter puts Joseph’s excellent character on display. He was thoughtful and sensitive to the needs of others, noticing the sadness of Pharaoh’s disgraced officers and offering to help them (v.6-7). He pointed them to the one true God: “God knows what dreams mean, and I know God! Let me help you!”
The God who once gave Joseph his own dreams now gave him the gift to interpret the dreams of others. Both his interpretations were accurate. The cupbearer lived to get his job back, and the baker was executed.
All Joseph had asked of the cupbearer was to put in a good word for him with the Pharaoh. But the man forgot about his prison friend, leaving Joseph in “the pit” (v.15, also translated “the dungeon”).
It was there that Jacob’s favorite son learned that people often break promises; people often forget those who help them; people will let you down. But he also learned that God is faithful: He never breaks His promises, never forgets His own, never lets you down.
I think Joseph would like Kristian Stanfill’s song, “One Thing Remains”…click the link below to hear it: