Bible stories : 09 Joseph, part 4.

Part 4 : Prison life.

1600 - 1700-ish B.C.

Joseph is awesome at making the best of wherever he’s at. Including prison. He hangs onto the integrity, initiative, and work ethic he’s always had and quickly becomes known as a responsible guy at the prison. Pretty soon he’s overseer, where he keeps an eye on everything going on.

There’s two fellows who are especially interesting. There’s Thurmos the cup-bearer and there’s Matmos the baker. Both used to work for Pharaoh until they got on his bad side. They’ve been having dreams. Bad dreams. Joseph finds out.

“Tell me what’s going on, guys,” he says.

Thurmos the cup-bearer - also known as a butler, tells Joseph his dream about grapes and crushing them and stuff.

Joseph nods. “Totally cool dream, bro. You’re gonna get freed in three days. And hey...could you put in a good word for me when you’re free?”

Thurmos nods his head vigorously. “Absolutely, no way I’ll forget you, Joe!”

Matmos the baker is waiting his turn. He tells a super long story that has to do with white bread and birds. Finally he finishes. “So what does it mean?” he asks excitedly.

Joseph nods. “Totally cool dream, bro. You’re gonna have, uh, some stuff happening in three days too! Hey Mat, actually got some stuff I gotta take care of, let’s catch up next week!”

Matmos keeps nodding excitedly. “Well I won’t be here next week, I’ll be free and outta prison, right? Right? Right?”

He looks at Joseph’s face, and Joseph’s face is the face of someone trying to look like they’re deeply concentrating on something else and totally failing at it.

“What’s the deal, Joe?” he demands. “My dream’s a good one too. Right? Right, right?”

“It’s not, like, totally a hundred percent good news,” Joseph says.

“So what it is it?” Matmos keeps pressing him.

“You know what would be cool?” Joseph says, “You know, we should totally try to get together soon and have a big long chat about...everything. You know, just everything going on and stuff.”

“Cool cool cool,” says Matmos, refusing to be distracted. “So I’m going free in three days too?

“In a sense,” Joseph says.

“What do you mean, ‘in a sense?’” Matmos says, confused.

“In the sense that - “ Joseph pauses. “You’ll be free of having to worry about anything else.”

Matmos still doesn’t understand. “You mean like I’m getting a promotion once I’m out?”

Joseph grimaces. “No...not exactly. Free as in...you’ll be dead. They’re gonna hang you.”

Matmos’s face starts to fall as recognition dawns. “But...but...I don’t wanna die!”

Joseph kindly pats his shoulder. “I don’t want that either,” he says. “But it happens to all of us at some point. Maybe we can get together and do something cool tomorrow, or soon.”

And he walks off.

But there’s too much going on the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that, the guards come, and somebody gets freed, and somebody gets hung, and that’s the way life goes. You do your best and the days just keep rolling along.

And the butler completely forgets, for a short time, his promise to speak up on Joseph’s behalf.

A short time being two years.

But then Pharaoh starts to have dreams. Bad dreams.

Additional notes

If you’re a cup-bearer or a baker for the Pharaoh...how do you get on his bad side without being immediately executed?