20 And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. 21 And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership 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 did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.
Just as Joseph foretold, three days later the fate of the chief butler and the chief baker were forever changed. It happened to be Pharaoh’s birthday, a time for refreshing, and the ruler turned to the cases of these two men and brought each to their final conclusion. One was elevated back to Pharaoh’s good graces, the other consigned to death.
This idea of judgment and dichotomy is a powerful image in our society. It immediately calls to mind the great judgment that awaits us all after we die, on the one hand to the justifying and redeeming of the innocent, and on the other to condemning and damning of the guilty.
As for Joseph, though, he remains in purgatory, forgotten in prison and still awaiting his own judgment. He knows that in the day of evaluation that he will be worthy, but that time has not yet arrived. After all the other virtues he had already displayed, he still must exercise the one of patience.