Word Study – Remember
Zacar – Keep in mind, mention, remember
Genesis 40:14: “Only keep me in mind when it goes well with you, and please do me a kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh, and get out of this house.”
For 15 years Joseph kept Jehovah on his lips as he moved from a pit to the position of prime minister of the most powerful nation in the world. Yet, that does not mean he didn’t have his moments. Egyptian prisons were no picnic. If you are up to an hour lecture, I will give you the low down on Egyptian prisons. However, let me just point out that this was no ordinary prison Joseph was in, this was the royal prison were only those who are threat to the kingdom go. There are two ways out of that prison. The cupbearer and the baker found them both. Either a person is pardoned from the Pharaoh himself, or he gets his head lopped off. What really caught my attention were the words “keep me in mind” and “mentioning me.” Both are the same words, “zacar” which means “to remember.” This word is not often used when considering good memories. In fact one use of the word is to express a memorial. There is sort of a sense of pathos associated with this word.
In the first use this word, zacar in this passage, we find it in a construct state to the word “im.” Im is a word used to express “if” or “suppose.” Joseph is expressing this as : “If it is not too much trouble could you remember me? Then Joseph uses the same word, “zacar” for the cup bearer to make mention of him to Pharaoh. This time zacar is in a hiphal form and would suggest that Joseph was not necessarily asking the cup bearer to mention him, but to cause the Pharaoh to remember him. Joseph was a little skittish about the cup bearer mentioning him to Pharaoh. He knew you do not ask such direct favors to the great and powerful Pharaoh. Such a thing before the great god Pharaoh could end quite sadly for Joseph as well as the cup bearer. Yet, Joseph was so desperate he was willing to take the risk. Poor Joseph had to wait two years for a response because the cupbearer forgot about him. More than likely the cupbearer did not want to risk the same fate as the baker. What kind of torture is that, sitting around waiting for a possible execution.
The point of all this is Joseph was most likely at the lowest point of his life. He was so desperate that he actually took a risk to have his name brought before the Pharaoh. Then what does the cup bear do but forget about him.
Yet, God’s perfect timing came when the Pharaoh happened to have a dream two years later and of course the rest is history. God is not adverse to bringing you to the point of despair, not if it will keep His name on your lips. Maybe we go through a period where we feel like a real loser, but let Joseph serve as our model and always keep the name of Jehovah (or YHWH if that is your preference) on your lips.