It thus came about that the governor of the prison having heard nothing but good of Joseph, began himself to show him favour. He discovered that this young Hebrew was not only a man whom he could trust in word and in deed, but that he was of a rare sagacity of mind, wise in counsel, swift in decision, and fearless in acting as he deemed right. At length he set Joseph next in authority under himself, and gave not only his chief captives into his charge but even the control of the prison.

Years passed by, and though Joseph was now no longer wretched in body, and had many things to busy his mind, the freedom he longed for seemed as far away as Canaan itself. Yet he did not repine; nor did he ever despair of his release at last. Whatever the days or the years might bring, he trusted in the Lord, and in that trust his mind was at peace.

Now there came a day when the chief butler and the chief baker of Pharaoh the King of Egypt—the one his cupbearer or high chamberlain and the other his steward—offended against their lord, the king. So hot was his wrath against them that he not only banished them from his presence, but commanded that they should be given into the charge of the governor of the prison, who was captain of the guard, until he himself had considered what punishment they merited.

These two, the chief butler and the chief baker, were men of high standing in the court of Pharaoh. Wherefore the governor of the prison bade Joseph himself attend on them, instructing him to show them the courtesies due to their rank and office, but none the less to be vigilant that they did not escape. Morning and evening Joseph waited upon them, and they found such solace in his company, and came so much to trust in his discretion that they would talk freely with him and confide in him their hopes and cares.

The days of their confinement in the prison had continued for many months when on one and the same night these two, the chief butler and the chief baker, dreamed each of them a dream, then awoke and dreamed no more. Even when daylight was come they could not rid their minds of what had troubled their sleep. And as they sat together in the room that had been set apart for them in the prison-house, they told one another their dreams. They were deeply troubled and perplexed, for their dreams were of a kind that seem to be haunted with a hidden meaning, yet neither of them could discover it or expound it the one to the other.

So it was that when Joseph came in to them in the morning, and greeted them, their voices were low and spiritless, and their faces dejected as if they had some burden on their minds. And though there were few in the prison under him who were never wretched and in despair, he did his utmost to enhearten all he could, not only because this was natural to him, but because he himself was in not much better case than they.

At last, looking upon these two as friend to friend, he questioned them. ‘Why,’ he said, ‘are your faces downcast, and why do you look so sadly this morning?’

The chief butler answered: ‘This night that is gone we have each of us dreamed a dream. Dreams closely resembling one another that have haunted our minds ever since, yet that we can neither understand nor forget. Were we free men, we could consult some diviner of dreams who would declare them to us and make them clear. But in this prison-house where shall we find anyone who has the least knowledge of the matter?’

‘The divination of dreams,’ said Joseph, ‘is with God. I too have been a dreamer. Tell me your dreams, I might help you. It grieves me to see you so sad.’

Then first the chief butler told Joseph his dream. It was in this wise. ‘I dreamed,’ he said, ‘I saw a vine, greener in its freshness to the sight than any vine my waking eyes have ever beheld. This vine had three branches, and little by little yet all in an instant and even as I watched, they broke into buds which themselves unfolded into blossom, and these having dropped their petals became clusters of green grapes that ripened and swelled before my very eyes. All in a moment the vine that had been winter- bare was heavy with fruit. And behold, the cup of the king, of King Pharaoh, was in my hand, though till

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.