John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary

Verse 20 (Genesis 40:20)

And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday ,.... The third day from the time the dreams were told, and the interpretation of them given, was the birthday of Pharaoh; either the day in which a son of his was born, or in which he himself was born, as Ben Melech observes; but the latter is more probable, since the former could not with propriety be called Pharaoh's birthday; and this might be either the day of his natural birth, or of his political birth, the time of his accession to the throne, which with the Romans was called "natalis imperii", and was observed with feasting and rejoicing F3 Plin. Ep. l. 1. ep. 61. Herodot. Calliope, sive, l. 9. c. 109. , as well as the former, both among them and other nations: it is most likely this was Pharaoh's natural birthday, which was observed among the Egyptians as birthdays were among the Persians F4 Herodot. Clio, sive, l. 1. c. 133. , and as Herod's was at his court in the days of Christ, Matthew 14:6 ; and as is usual in our times in most countries:

that he made a feast unto all his servants ; his ministers of state, his courtiers, and all in his palace:

and he lifted up the head of his chief butler and of his chief baker ,

among his servants ; that is, among his servants, when their names were called over; or at this festival, these two were taken notice of, as being charged with crimes, and their cases were looked into and examined, and their heads were lifted up in a different sense: they were both lifted out of prison, but the one was lifted up to his former post and place in Pharaoh's court, and the other was lifted up to a gallows or gibbet, as follows; though perhaps this lifting of them both may only signify the trial of them, when they were set on high to be seen by the judge and all the court, see 1 Kings 21:9 .

- John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary