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Bible story: Jacob Joseph

Updated on November 26, 2010

Joseph's dream

Of the twelve sons of Jacob, the youngest but one was Joseph, the child of Rachel. Although the char­acter of Joseph is one of the purest to be found in Scripture, we see in it the injurious effects of parental partiality. Joseph, elated unduly by his father's pre­ference, became a censor and informer upon his bre­thren, and thus incurred their bitter enmity. To add to their hostility, Jo­seph dreamed two dreams, which even his father, who seems to have discerned their prophetic character, cen­sured his im­prudence in re­peating. In the first dream h i s brothers' sheaves of corn bowed down to his, w h i c h stood upright in their midst; a most fit type not only of their submis­sion to him, but of their suing to him for corn in Egypt. The second dream was of a wider and higher im­port. It in­cluded his fa­ther and his mother, as well as his brethren, in the rever­ence done to him; and the emblems cho­sen leave little doubt that the dream prefigured the homage of all nature to Him whose sign was the Star of Bethlehem, and of whom Joseph was one of the clearest types. 

Joseph sold by his brethren

The hatred of the sons of Jacob to their brother Joseph calumniated in a determination to take his life. The occasion they sought soon presented itself.    Jacob was sojourning with his father, Isaac, at Hebron, and had sent his ten sons to feed the flocks at She-chem. Being anxious to hear how they fared, he sent Joseph to them with a loving message. Upon reaching Shechem, Jo­seph found that his brethren had gone on to Dothan, a place in the neighborhood, and he hastened after them. They recognized him at a distance, and resolved to kill him as soon as he came up. Reuben op­posed their bloody design, and succeeded in changing it into a resolution to cast him into a neighboring pit, from which, he intended   to  deliver him.    As  soon as he arrived, they seized Joseph and cast him into the pit, and then sat down to eat bread. While thus engaged they saw a caravan of Arab merchants approaching by the highway which leads from Gilead through Dothan to Egypt, carrying to the latter country the spices and gums of the Syrian desert. At the suggestion of Judah, Joseph was sold to these Midianite merchants for twenty pieces of silver. The sons of Jacob then went back to their father with the tale that a wild beast had devoured Joseph, and the merchants went on to Egypt, carrying their captive with them. Upon reaching Egypt they sold him to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh's guard. Jo­seph was seventeen years old at this time.

Putting the cup in Benjamin's sack

The adventures of Joseph in Egypt, and the events which gained him the favor of Pha­raoh, are known to all readers of the Bible. He became the chief minister of the great king, and rose to the second place in the kingdom. Having predicted the terrible famine, he prepared for it with so much wisdom and vigor thatwhen the neighboring countries were suffering the keenest want, the kingdom of Pharaoh was abundantly supplied, and able even to furnish food to its neighbors. The famine lasted seven years, and during its course the corn of the chosen family of Israel became exhausted, and Jacob was obliged to send his sons into Egypt to buy corn. Benjamin, the youngest, he kept at home. The sons of Jacob reached Egypt, and Joseph at once recognized his brethren, but they failed to recognize him, and fulfilled his first dream by doing humble homage to him, as the powerful minister of a mighty king. He affected great harshness this was done only to gain over them the power he was ready to use for their good. Benjamin having been sent down to Egypt in accordance with Joseph's demand, the latter determined to put into effect a stratagem which should test the strength of his brethren's affection for Benjamin. To effect this design, he ordered his steward to fill his brethren's sacks with corn, and to put every man's money in his sack, but to put into the sack of the youngest not only his money, but also the silver cup out of which he used to drink. This done, early the next morning they proceeded on their journey homeward, but had not gone far when they were overtaken by Joseph's steward, who reproached them with having stolen his lord's drinking cup. they indignantly denied the charge, but were dumbfounded when their sacks were searched and the cup found in Benjamin's sack. Over­whelmed with grief, for they had declared that he who should be proven the thief, should become the slave of Joseph, they returned to the city, and,- arriving in the presence of the viceroy, they fell on their faces at his feet in sorrowful submission. Judah made an elo­quent plea in-behalf of Benjamin, and begged that Joseph would -take him as a slave in Benjamin's stead, and send the lad back to his father. Joseph, overcome with emotion at this generous offer, re­vealed himself to his brethren, and, calming their fears that he would revenge himself upon them, revealed to them his purpose to bring Jacob and his family into Egypt, where he could care for them and ensure them against suffering from the famine. (Gen. xliv., xlv.)

Joseph reveals himself to his brethren


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    • Michael Adams1959 profile image

      Michael Adams1959 7 years ago from Wherever God leads us.

      Very well done I appreciate a good lesson like this.