“No-Name”; Pharoah’s Cupbearer

The “no-name” we looked at last week was found in the New Testament in the book of Acts. As we learned, it was Paul’s nephew and He made it possible for Paul to escape harm and possibly death. He had overheard a plot of a group of the Jewish religious leaders of that day to kill Paul and thus informed Paul of the plan. Paul then informed the Roman captain of the guard and they devised a pan to move Paul under cover of darkness to insure his safety. The plan was successful and the rest is history.

This week we are going back to the Old Testament for another story of a “no-name” that God used to take care of one His own. The story revolves around Joseph and how God was using him to continue with His master plan and keep His covenant with Abraham. The story is found in the book of Genesis and begins in chapter 40 and continues through chapter 41. We will begin with a brief summary of the events leading up to this.

In preceding chapters in Genesis we can read about the life of Joseph up to the start of our story. We know that he was loved by his father more than any of his brothers and his brothers hated him for that. We know that God had given him a special gift to interpret his own dreams when they occurred. When he told his brothers his dreams and then gave them the interpretation of his dreams, the brothers realized that, according to Joseph, the dreams revealed that at some point he would rule over his brothers. This did not set well with his brothers so they planned to kill him. However one of them did not want him to be killed so he convinced the others to put Joseph in a deep pit to die from starvation or from attack by a wild animal. However, he planned to go back for Joseph by himself and return him to his father. After they placed him in the pit a caravan of traders came by on their way to Egypt and the brothers sold Joseph to them. And off they went to Egypt.

Upon arrival in Egypt, Joseph was sold to a man named Potiphar who was an officer to Pharoah, specifically the captain of the bodyguard. Potiphar was so pleased with Joseph over time that he put him in charge of everything concerning his household. Potiphar’s wife had her eye on Joseph and began to make advances toward him when Potiphar was away. Joseph refused to have anything to do with her but eventually she cornered him and pulled his robe of when exposed his nakedness. Joseph fled from her but she kept his robe. She then used the robe to back up her lie that Joseph had attacked her. Potiphar then had Joseph placed in the jail where the king’s prisoners were kept. However, he found favor in the eyes of the chief jailer because God was with him. The chief jailer then placed Joseph in charge of the other prisoners and this is where we pick up our story of “No-Name”; Pharoah’s Cupbearer.

The king’s baker and cupbearer had displeased the king in some way and so they were put in jail where Joseph was in charge of the prisoners. They were to be held there until their fate would be determined by the king. While they were there, both of them had a dream that they did not understand. They were so dejected that it showed on their faces thus prompting Joseph to ask them what was their trouble. When they explained to Joseph that there was no one to interpret their dreams, Joseph asked them to tell him the dreams. When they had finished, Joseph began to explain to them what they meant.

The cupbearer’s dream consisted of three grape-vine branches that produced a cluster of grapes on each which the cupbearer then squeezed into the king’s cup and then gave the cup to the king. Joseph interpreted his dream to mean that in three days the king would spare his life and restore him to his cupbearer position. The baker’s dream consisted three baskets of white bread on his head and in the top basket were many baked good for the king. However, the birds were eating the baked goods and not the king was not. Joseph interpreted his dream to mean that in three days the king would have him hanged and the birds would eat his flesh. And as the Bible so vividly describes, it all came to pass just as Joseph had said. The cupbearer was restored and the baker was executed.

After Joseph had favorably interpreted the cupbearer’s dream he asked the cupbearer to remember him and put in a good word for him in hopes that he would be released from the jail. However, the cupbearer did not remember to do that and Joseph continued to be confined for another two years. But God had not forgotten him and the plans he had for his life. So the story is not finished.

When the two years had passed Pharoah himself two dreams. The first was that seven fat cows came up out of the Nile and started grazing. Then seven ugly cows came up out of the Nile and consumed the fat cows but there was no change in their appearance. His second dream was that seven plump ears of corn grew up on a single stalk . Then seven other ears, scorched and thin, sprouted up and consumed the seven plump ears. He was so troubled by the two dreams that he called all of his magicians and wise men together and told them the dreams but they were unable to interpret them. This is the point where our “No-Name” cupbearer remembers what Joseph had done for him. He then spoke to Pharoah and told him about Joseph’s ability. He calls for Joseph and Joseph successfully interpret’s the dreams. He makes Pharoah aware that the two dreams are actually the same and that they represent seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. He also advises Pharoah that he has a plan for the situation and explains it to Pharoah. As a result Pharoah appoints Joseph to head up this plan and eventually Joseph becomes a powerful man in Egypt, second only to Pharoah himself. Another “No-Name”, the cupbearer, has made a difference!

God again insured that He had His man in the right place at the right time to do His will to carry out His plan. A man whose name was never mentioned. A man who probably never realized the impact he had on the future of mankind. As I have said before, we have no idea how many “no-names” that God still uses today to carry out His plan. We should all pray that He uses us whether anyone else knows our name or not. I, for one, would be proud to be a “No-Name” for His service.