Christian History

Introduction to Joseph

Joseph is one of the important characters in the Book of Genesis. He was known to be sold into slavery by his jealous brothers but he rose to become vizier, the second most powerful man in Egypt next to Pharaoh, and he had caused Israel to leave Canaan and settle in Egypt. Let us know more about Joseph and the major events that happened in his life.

JosephName: Joseph

Family: Jacob (Father), Rachel (Mother), Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Benjamin (Brothers)

Personality:

  • Tattletale (initially)
  • Proud (initially)
  • Prophetic
  • Dream Interpreter
  • Stalwart
  • Powerful
  • Faithful
  • Wise

Major Events in Joseph’s Life

Joseph was one of the sons of Jacob and was known to be the favored son of his father. Often increased his standing in his father’s eyes by diminishing his brother’s and their actions. However, his brothers became jealous of him that’s why they tried to get rid of him. They threw him into a pit and then sold him to slavers. Jacob also had a multicolored coat given by his father but his brothers ripped it up and dipped it in blood to make it seem like Joseph died.

Joseph was sold to a wealthy Egyptian merchant named Potiphar by the Ishmaelite traders. He worked his way up to a position of relative power in Potiphar’s house. Potiphar’s wife liked Joseph and attempted to seduce him. However, Joseph rebuffed her, so she accused him of rape and had him thrown in prison.

Joseph was in prison with Pharaoh’s former baker and butler. Both of them have dreams, which Joseph interprets to mean that the butler will be released and restored to his former position in three days’ time and that the baker will be put to death. Both predictions come true.

Joseph asked the butler to remember him after working for Pharaoh again, the butler does not remember him for another two years, after Pharaoh has several disturbing dreams. These dreams were that seven sickly cows devoured seven healthy cows, and that the same thing occurred but with grain. According to Joseph, these dreams mean that there will be seven prosperous years and seven years of famine. Pharaoh believed him and Egypt prepared well. Joseph was eventually placed as second in command of Egypt, only under Pharaoh himself.

The famine had brought Joseph’s brothers to Egypt looking for food. He then disguised himself and tested them, saying they are spies, Joseph pretended to not believe them. He gave them food to stay home, but kept Simeon behind with him. He also demanded that they bring their youngest, Benjamin back with them when they return.

Eventually, despite Jacob’s protests, the brothers return with Benjamin for more grain. Joseph gave them more food, but plants his silver cup into Benjamin’s bag. He catches them and accused them of stealing. He then threatened to have Benjamin serve as a slave for the rest of his life, while the rest of them are free to go, but Judah offered to take his place. After Joseph saw that his brothers have changed since those many years ago, he revealed his true self to them and told them to bring their entire family to Egypt. That meant, they would never have to worry about not having enough food to eat again.

Joseph died at the age of 110, his remains were carried out of Egypt by Moses when the Israelites left during Exodus.

The story of Joseph shows us how God works in the grand scheme of things. That He knows every detail of our lives and Joseph understood that all of the things that happened in his life were according to God’s plan. His story teaches us to have faith that God has a plan for each of us and He is currently working with us. We just need to be patient and let God direct our lives.

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