Winners and Losers: Part 21 - Joseph: A Man of Integrity
Kathy's Sunday School Lessons - Written for Young Boys and Girls by Kathryn Capoccia
© Copyright Kathryn Capoccia 2001. This file may be freely copied, printed out, and distributed as long as copyright and source statements remain intact, and that it is not sold.
Joseph is one of the Bible’s most interesting characters. Like another Biblical figure, Daniel (who would live 1,000 years later), he was taken prisoner as a teenager and served idolaters in a pagan environment. Like Daniel, he endured the tests of his life with “sound moral principle”: he was “upright, honest, and sincere”. And like Daniel, he had a strong faith and the gift of interpreting dreams; these would chart the direction of his life. God used the trials of his life to shape him and to prepare him for important service to Him. Perhaps his story encouraged Daniel as he faced the trials of his life; hopefully, it will teach us truths for our lives. Let’s turn to the Book of Genesis and look at the life of Joseph to see what we can learn about walking in integrity and growing in usefulness.
I. Who Was He? GEN 37-50.
A. What was his name? Joseph means, “He shall add” or “may He add”, in Hebrew: his Egyptian name was Zaphenath-Paneah (meaning uncertain: GEN 41:45).
B. When and where did he live? He lived in Palestine and Egypt during the period of the Second Intermediate Dynasty of Egypt (1780-1570 B.C.).
C. Who were his people?
1. His father was Jacob, who was known as Israel.
2.His mother was Rachel, daughter of Laban (GEN 28:10).
3. His brothers and sisters were (GEN 29-31):
a. Reuben (son of Leah).
b. Simeon (son of Leah).
c. Levi (son of Leah).
d. Judah (son of Leah).
e. Dan (son of Bilhah).
f. Naphtali (son of Bilhah).
g. Gad (son of Zilpah).
h. Asher (son of Zilpah).
i. Issachar (son of Leah).
j. Zebulun (son of Leah).
k. Dinah (daughter of Leah).
l. Benjamin (son of Rachel).
4. His wife and children were (GEN 41:45,50-52):
a. Asenath (“she belongs to the goddess Neth”) daughter of Potiphera (“he whom the sun-god” has given”), priest of On (a city located 10 mi. S.E. of Cairo, also called Heliopolis, “the city of the sun”; it was a major center of the sun-god, Ra, worship).
b. Manasseh (“forget”), his 1st born son.
c. Ephraim (“twice fruitful”), his 2nd born son.
D. How long did he live? He lived to be 110 years old, an age considered to be ideal by the Egyptians (GEN 50:26).
II. What Did He Do?
A. He was a gifted son.
1. He was faithful: He brought his father an honest (bad) report about his brother’s work (GEN 37:2).
“Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.”
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…” (LUK 16:10).
2. He was favored:
a. His father made a richly ornamented coat for him (GEN 37:3,4).
1) This garment was a long coat reaching to the ankles with sleeves reaching the wrists, such as nobility wore.
2) This garment was “richly ornamented”, not “a coat of many colors”.
WHAT WAS HIS BROTHERS’ REACTION?
a) His brothers hated him.
b) His brothers could not speak a kind word to him.
b. He had prophetic dreams (GEN 37:5-11).
“Joseph had a dream…”
1) The dream of the sheaves which bowed down to his sheaf .
WHAT WAS HIS BROTHERS’ REACTION?
“His brothers said to him, ‘Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?’ And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.”
2) The dream of the sun, moon and 11 stars which bowed down to him.
“Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers… he told his father, as well as his brothers…”
a) “His father rebuked him and said, ‘ What is this dream you had? Will your mother [probably Leah] and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?’ … His father kept the matter in mind” (GEN 37:10,11).
b) “His brothers were jealous of him…”
WHY WERE THEY JEALOUS OF HIM?
THEY UNDERSTOOD THEIR FATHER’S FAVOR AND FEARED THAT JOSEPH WOULD BYPASS THEIR BIRTHORDER.
i. Joseph would become “the prince among his brothers” (DEU 33:16) despite their enmity.
ii. Joseph would receive the rights of the first-born’s double inheritance (1CH 5:2) when his two sons were adopted by Jacob (GEN 48:5).
3. He was forsaken.
a. He was sent away.
1) His father sent Joseph to his brothers at Shechem to see how they and their flocks fared (GEN 37:12-17).
*Jacob’s camp was in the Valley of Hebron, so this was a distance of possibly 60 mi.
WHO LIVED IN SHECHEM THEN?
SHECHEM WAS A CANAANITE CITY, PROBABLY NAMED AFTER SHECHEM SON OF HAMOR THE HIVITE (GEN 34:2). THE ENTIRE MALE POPULATION OF THE CITY HAD BEEN KILLED AND THE CITY LOOTED BY SIMEON AND LEVI IN RETALIATION FOR DINAH’S RAPE BY SHECHEM ABOUT 16 YEARS PREVIOUSLY (GEN 34:25-31).
2) He traveled on to Dothan, an ancient city, to find them (which was 12 mi. N. of Samaria, another 25 or so miles away from Shechem: GEN 37:17-36).
a) Dothan was known for its rich pastureland.
b) Dothan was located on a major trade route which connected Syria in the north with Egypt in the south.
b. He was trapped.
1) His brothers plotted to murder him.
“Here comes that dreamer (“master of dreams”)! Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams”.
a) The brothers saw an opportunity to murder Joseph.
i. They saw Joseph alone in the distance, far from home and traveling in the wilderness.
ii. They developed a plan to kill him, hide his body in a cistern, and pretend that wild animals had devoured him in the wilderness.
b) Reuben saw an opportunity to save Joseph.
i. He persuaded the brothers to change their plan and cast Joseph into a pit, or cistern, to die of natural causes so that they would not be guilty of shedding blood.
ii. He planned to later rescue Joseph: GEN 37:22). However, he had forfeited his family leadership by committing incest with Bilhah in GEN 35:22, so his efforts were futile.
2) His brothers rid themselves of Joseph.
a) Joseph was captured.
i. He was stripped of his robe.
ii. He was thrown into an empty cistern.
* A cistern
b) Judah (the effective family leader) changed their plan.
i. He proposed that the brothers profit from Joseph by selling him to the nearby caravan of traders instead of killing him.
ii. Reuben was not present for this decision; he was standing watch over the flock (vs. 29).
c) The brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him to the traders.
i. Joseph was sold to the traders for 20 shekels, the price Moses set for a slave between 5 and 20 years of age (GEN
ii. The price set for Joseph would only buy one ram each (V. Gilbert Beers, “The Victor Handbook of Bible Knowledge”, Victor Books, © 1981, pg. 72.)
WHAT WAS JOSEPH DOING ALL THIS TIME?
He was pleading with his brothers to let him go (GEN
c. He was transported
1) By traders.
a) They are called MIDIANITES, ISHMAELITES and MEDANITES- These seem to the casual eye to be the same group in that they were commonly descended from Abraham through Ishmael and Lot. They had become “a great nation” even as foretold in GEN 22:18.
b) They shared the same nomadic life-style
c) They shared the same trade: they were merchants.
i. The Ishmaelites were coming from Gilead, a fertile region southeast of the Sea of Galilee.
* The cargo they carried was spices, balm and myrrh. The balm of Gilead was an oil or gum exuded by the stems of certain trees and said to be medicinally effective.
* The myrrh was a fragrant oil derived from the leaves of the cistus rose which was used in beauty treatments and funeral preparations or which could be mixed with wine to relieve pain.
ii. The Ishmaelites were traveling by camel caravan.
* “A band of people or migrants or traders traveling together for mutual protection through desert or hostile regions, usually with pack animals”, “The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible”, vol. 1, pg. 751.
* Caravans could have as many as 3,000 people in them, some walking or riding on donkeys, the rich riding on camels.
iii. The Ishmaelites needed to travel a distance of over 200 miles to reach Egypt, a journey of at least 10 days at a slow caravan pace.
2) To Egypt (GEN 37:28).
a) Egypt at this time was divided into two kingdoms- the area around the Delta controlled was by the Semite Hyksos (who would have a line of kings ruling for 108 years), and in the S. was the non-Asiatic Egyptians, centered in Thebes.
b) Chariotry, cavalry, cattle farming, literature and religion were interests in Egypt at this time.
c) Slaves were popular in Egyptian kitchens and weaving rooms, in her army, and in constructing her public buildings, such as tombs. Poor slaves worked in copper mines (certain death), were oarsmen on Egyptian warships, were brickmakers or metalworkers; some women were forced to become prostitutes. Egypt had no caste system so slaves could have rights in Egypt- they could engage in business, borrow money or rise to high positions and purchase their own freedom.
B. He was a conscientious prisoner
1. He was faithful in Potiphar’s house.
a. He was blessed (GEN 39:1-6).
1) He was purchased by Potiphar (GEN 37:36;39:1).
a) Potiphar was an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh.
i. Pharaoh was probably a Hyksos, not an Egyptian, so for Potiphar to be an official of the king meant that he had earned his position.
ii. Potiphar probably was a man of wealth and his home and property luxurious .
b) Potiphar was captain of the guard for Pharaoh.
i. The Captain of the Guard may have commanded a force of men who guarded Pharaoh, i.e. bodyguards.
ii. The ASV translates this word as “chief of executioners”.
c) Potiphar was in charge of Pharaoh’s prison, “the keeper of the prison” (GEN 40:3).
2) The LORD was with Joseph.
a) Joseph prospered.
b) Joseph lived in Potiphar’s house.
c) Joseph was successful.
d) Joseph found favor.
3) Joseph was entrusted with Potiphar’s household.
a) Joseph became Potiphar’s attendant (personal servant).
b) Joseph was entrusted with everything both in the fields and in the house, i.e. a “comptroller”, “an official in charge of expenditures’’.
i. field duties
ii. household duties
c) Joseph became a blessing to Potiphar
i. The LORD blessed Potiphar.
ii. The LORD blessed everything Potiphar had.
iii. Potiphar trusted Joseph and concerned himself only with his food.
b. He was blamed (GEN 39:6-20).
1) He suffered temptation.
a) Potiphar’s wife tempted him.
i. She “took notice of Joseph”, i.e. “looked at with desire”.
* Joseph was probably in his middle to late 20’s at this time (GEN 37:1; 41:1; 41:46).
* Joseph was “well-built and handsome”
HOW DID SHE KNOW THIS?
EGYPTIAN CLOTHING LEFT A MAN BARE-CHESTED: POTIPHAR’S WIFE COULD SEE EXACTLY WHAT JOSEPH LOOKED LIKE. Our own society favors revealing clothing: our number one problem in immorality- the connection is obvious.
* Joseph was accessible
AS A SLAVE WHO WORKED BOTH IN AND OUT OF THE HOUSE JOSEPH WAS ALWAYS NEARBY; HE HAD NO PLACE ELSE TO GO.
ii. She tried to entice him (continuously: GEN 39:10).
b) Joseph refused the temptation.
i. on the grounds that he would be betraying his position.
ii. on the grounds that she was rightly forbidden.
iii. on the grounds that it would be sin against God.
c) He made no provision for the flesh- he refused to even be with her
CONTRAST THIS WITH THE WAY THAT DAVID ACTED WITH BATHSHEBA: WHO ACTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH GOD’S WILL?
2) He was unjustly accused.
a) Potiphar’s wife approached Joseph.
i. Joseph was alone in the house with Potiphar’s wife.
ii. Potiphar’s wife grabbed Joseph by the cloak and enticed him.
iii. Joseph fled the sexual temptation by “leaving the cloak in her hand and running out of the house”.
“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” (1CO 6:18).
b) Potiphar’s wife framed Joseph.
i. She called to her household servants, showed them Joseph’s cloak and lied to them about Joseph’s character and actions.
ii. She showed her husband Joseph’s cloak and lied to her husband about Joseph.
WHY WOULD SHE DO THIS?
“HELL HATH NO FURY LIKE A WOMAN SPURNED”.
iii. Potiphar burned with anger.
“Jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge” (PRO 6:34).
3) He was unfairly punished.
a) Potiphar cast Joseph into the prison where the king’s prisoners were confined (GEN 39:20).
i. This was “a round structure, perhaps a fortress” (GEN 39:20), “The Zondervan Pictorial encyclopedia of the Bible, vol.4, pg. 870.
ii. Joseph was put into prison without a trial.
* This was standard treatment in Egypt where “Guilty until proven innocent” was the justice system of ancient times.
* Prisoners could languish in jail for years before they received a trial, and often a trial never took place at all.
* Many prisons offered no food or water and prisoners would starve to death if their relatives or some other benefactor did not care for their needs (V. Gilbert Beers, “The Victor Handbook of Bible Knowledge”, pg. 75).
iii. Joseph was put into the dungeon part of the prison (GEN 40:15, 41:14).
* Dungeons (“house of the pit”) were sunken rooms of confinement.
* Dungeons were dark and gloomy subterranean chambers, sometimes damp.
b) Potiphar cast Joseph into “the prison of the Captain of the Guard” (GEN 40:2).
i. This was the prison over which Potiphar had jurisdiction.
ii. This was probably the “best” of the prisons.
c) Potiphar was lenient.
i. The penalty for adultery in Egyptian law was 1,000 lashes.
ii. The penalty for attempted rape of a free woman was more sever than flogging (from Keil-Delietech’s “Commentary on the Old Testament” vol. 1, pg.345.)
2. He was faithful as an overseer in Pharaoh’s prison.
a. He was faithful in his responsibilities (GEN 39:20-23).
1) Joseph was put in charge of the prisoners.
2) Joseph was responsible for running the prison.
a) God granted Joseph favor with the warden (vs. 21).
b) The warden trusted Joseph (vs. 23).
c) God made Joseph successful (vs. 23).
2) Joseph was responsible for two royal prisoners.
a) These men had offended Pharaoh and were taken to Joseph’s prison.
i. The cupbearer:
* He served wine to Pharaoh from his own hand (after first pouring some in his own palm and tasting it), a position of responsibility and trust (since poisoning was a real threat).
* His chief duty would be to guard the Pharaoh’s person.
* This position was one of intimate contact with Pharaoh and his household (see NEH 1:11).
ii. The baker:
* He had the responsibility of preparing food for the Pharaoh and his table.
* This position required trustworthiness as this individual prepared not only the Pharaoh’s food but also that which was served to important visitors.
b) Joseph was assigned to attend them by the Captain of the Guard.
i. Potiphar put Joseph in charge of the cupbearer and baker.
ii. Joseph attended them “for some time” (vs. 4).
iii. Joseph had compassion on them (vs.6).
3. He was faithful in interpreting dreams
a. He was faithful in interpreting the prisoners’ dreams.
1) They had prophetic dreams (GEN 40:8-19).
a) The cupbearer revealed his dream:
i. His dream was of squeezing 3 branches worth of grapes and restoring Pharaoh’s cup to his hand.
ii. Joseph interpreted it as meaning that he would be restored to his place in 3 days.
iii. Joseph requested that the cupbearer arrange his release when he was freed.
b) The baker revealed his dream:
i. His dream was of 3 baskets of baked goods upon his head which were being eaten by birds.
ii. Joseph interpreted it as meaning that in 3 days he would be hanged to death and the birds would eat his flesh.
2) They had predicted ends (GEN 40:20-23).
a) In 3 days the cupbearer was freed and restored.
b) In 3 days the baker was killed.
b. He was faithful in interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams (GEN 41:1-13).
1) Pharaoh’s dreams were:
a) Of seven sleek and fat cows consumed by seven ugly and gaunt cows.
b). Of seven plump and good ears of grain that were swallowed up by seven scorched and thin ears of grain.
2) These dreams could not be interpreted by the magicians and wise-men of Egypt.
WHO WERE THE MAGICIANS AND WISE-MEN OF EGYPT?
a) Magicians (“chartom”, an engraver, writer; i.e. “one possessed of occult knowledge”).
i. Magic was under the patronage of Thoth and Isis and learned in the temple schools; entire priesthoods were devoted to magic.
ii. Medicine and the interpretation of dreams were linked with magic.
iii. Wonder-working and extraordinary acts were recorded of them.
THIS MAY HAVE BEEN FROM REAL OCCULTIC POWER OR FROM TRICKERY OR KNOWLEDGE OF SCIENCE.
b) Wise-men (“chakam”, wise or shrewd; those who were eminent in learning and science and had charge of all sacred rites).
THESE MAGIANS AND WISE-MEN WERE OFTEN CHARLATANS (THE CODE OF HAMMURABI “LEGISLATED AGAINST THEM”, “THE ZONDERVAN PICTORAIL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIBLICAL KNOWLEGDE”, VOL. 4, PGS. 35-38.
MAGICIANS HAD THEIR LIMITS; THEY COULD NOT INTERPRET ALL THINGS (SEE DANIEL 4 AND 5) NOR DUPLICATE ALL MIRACLES (SEE EXODUS 8:19). HOWEVER, MAGIC PERMEATED ALL ASPECTS OF LIFE.
3) The cupbearer remembered Joseph’s ability.
a) Two years had passed from the prison days (GEN 41:1).
b) Joseph was remembered as “a Hebrew youth” who successfully “interpreted our dreams for us”.
4) Pharaoh called for Joseph to be brought to court.
a) Joseph was sent for.
b) Joseph was prepared to stand before Pharaoh.
i. He was shaved (Egyptians were clean-shaven so Joseph was shaved to be pleasing to Pharaoh).
ii. He had changed his clothes (Pharaoh’s court was a place of luxury; prison clothes would have been unacceptable there).
c) Joseph was released from prison and presented to Pharaoh.
i. Pharaoh acknowledged that Joseph could interpret dreams and requested that he interpret Pharaoh’s dreams.
ii. Joseph gave God the credit.
iii. Joseph interpreted the dreams (GEN 41:25-32).
* The dreams were sent by God to “reveal to Pharaoh what he is about to do”.
* The meanings of both dreams were the same: seven years of plenty would be followed by seven years of want.
* The reason that the prophecy was given in two forms was:
* the matter “had been firmly decided by God”.
* “God would do it soon”.
WHAT WAS PHARAOH’S REACTION TO THIS?
Pharaoh and his advisers were convinced of Joseph’s supernatural abilities, vs. 38.
C. He was a wise man
1. He was a wise administrator
a. He advised Pharaoh with wisdom.
1) What Pharaoh was this?
a) The pharaoh is not named but the Hyksos, a Semitic Dynasty, was in power at the time of Joseph’s imprisonment
b) The capital was located in the Delta near Goshen (PSA 78:12,43), which indicates the Hyksos.
2) What was Joseph’s advice?
a) “Let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt”, vs. 33.
b) “Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners” to oversee collection of “a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance”, vs. 34.
c) The food should be collected and the grain stored up in cities in reserve for the upcoming seven years of need, vs. 35,36.
3) What was Pharaoh’s reaction?
a) He approved Joseph’s plan, vs. 37.
b) He promoted Joseph to the position of “grand vizier”, or Prime Minister, at the age of 30, vs. 37-41, 46.
i. Pharaoh gave Joseph his signet ring
* This ring symbolized the authority of Pharaoh; anyone bearing the ring was next in importance to Pharaoh himself.
* The signet ring allowed Joseph to sign documents and transact official business in Pharaoh’s name; pressing the ring into hot wax or into clay was equivalent to signing Pharaoh’s name.
ii. Pharaoh clothed Joseph in fine linen and “put the gold necklace around his neck” (see DAN 5:7 for a similar scene of investiture), and had him ride in his own chariot commanding, “Bow the knee”.
iii. Pharaoh instructed Joseph in the extent of his power- “no one shall raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt” without your permission.
iv. Pharaoh gave Joseph a name of naturalization, “Zaphnath-Paneah and married him to an Egyptian (Asenath, “she belongs to Neath”, a daughter of the priest of On.)
DID GOD APPROVE?
God gave Joseph two sons, Manasseh (“one who causes to forget”), and Ephraim (“fruitful”).
b. He managed the land with wisdom.
1) Joseph supervised the harvest
a) He went throughout the land of Egypt and stored the harvest of each city in its own storehouses, vs. 46-48).
b) He kept records of the harvest until the grain could not be counted anymore, vs. 49.
2) Joseph supervised the distribution of food
a) Egyptians came to buy grain from Joseph as the seven years of famine began.
i. They bought grain with cash (GEN 47:14).
ii. They bought the grain in exchange for their livestock (GEN 47:16).
iii. They bought the grain in exchange for their land and selves (GEN 47:19,20).
b) His brothers came to Egypt to buy grain (because the famine was in Canaan too; normally the rains which originated in the Mediterranean fed the alpine regions of Abyssinia and thus the Nile Valley, and Palestine- without those rains both areas suffered at the same time.
2. He was a wise investigator (GEN 42-45)
a. He tested his brothers to so if Benjamin was alive (GEN 42)
1) He hid his identity from them
a) He did not confess who he was
b) He acted as a foreigner towards them
i. He acted harshly toward them
ii. He accused them of being spies
c) He used an interpreter
2) He questioned his brothers about their family
3) He pretended to doubt their story
a) He arrested them as spies and imprisoned them for three days.
b) He released them saying, “I fear God” but detained Simeon (the next oldest after Reuben who had tried to save him) until Benjamin was produced.
i. The brothers confessed their sin against Joseph accused themselves saying their mistreatment was in payment for mistreating him.
ii. Grain was given to all and they were sent on their way.
iii. Their money was put in the top of their sacks.
b. He tested his brothers’ love for Benjamin (GEN 43-45)
1) The brothers returned to Egypt for more grain
a) Jacob refused to let Benjamin go to Egypt to release Simeon until the grain was consumed.
b) Jacob relented and sent the brothers, including Benjamin back to Egypt with double the money and gifts for Joseph.
c) The brothers appeared before Joseph and he ordered them to be taken to his house for dinner.
i. They approached the house steward and explained about the money.
* The brothers were afraid at their unusual treatment.
* They dreaded punishment for failure to pay for the grain they bought the first time- to become slaves.
ii. Simeon was released to them.
iii. They were received in Joseph’s house as guests of Joseph.
2) Joseph arranged a test for them (GEN 43,44).
a) He arranged dinner (GEN 43)
i. Joseph met with the brothers
* The brothers presented their gifts to Joseph
* Joseph inquired of Jacob’s welfare
* Joseph blessed Benjamin (and was overcome with emotion.)
ii. He seated them with wisdom
* He seated them separately according to age.
* He ate apart as befitted a minister of state and a member of the priestly caste.
* He seated the Egyptians at a third table (because the Hebrews killed and ate animals, even female animals, which were sacred to the Egyptians).
i. He gave Benjamin a food portion 5 times greater than anyone else’s (5 is a blessed number in Egyptian thought).
b) He arranged a trap (GEN 44)
i. Joseph ordered his silver cup to be concealed in Benjamin’s grain sack and the brothers to be sent home.
* This cup was called a “cup of divination” but it is unlikely that Joseph practiced this occult activity.
* Divination with a cup or bowl was accomplished by filling clean water into a goblet and peering into the depths for representations of future events; or, pouring water into a goblet or dish, dropping in gold or silver pieces, or precious stones, and looking at these objects in the water, “Commentary on The Old Testament”, pg. 363.
ii. The cup was discovered in Benjamin’s sack and Benjamin was arrested to become Joseph’s slave.
* The brothers had previously affirmed their innocence and agreed to become Joseph’s slaves and the guilty one killed should the cup be found among them.
* The steward offered to free everyone but the guilty party.
iii. The brothers returned to Joseph
* Judah affirmed the offer they had made to all become slaves.
* Joseph demanded only Benjamin’s enslavement.
* Judah pleaded with Joseph not to keep Benjamin for the sake of Jacob, and to let Judah substitute for Benjamin.
c) The result of the test (GEN 45)
i. Joseph learned that the brothers felt remorse for mistreating him.
ii. Joseph learned that his brothers truly loved Benjamin.
iii. Joseph was able to reveal himself to his brothers, assure them of his forgiveness (vs. 5), warned the brothers of the length of the famine remaining (5 more years), and offered to care for them.
iv. Joseph glorified God for providentially sending him to Egypt to be in a position to help his family.
3. He was a wise provider (GEN 45:7- 50:26).
a. He met his families physical needs
1) He selected Goshen to be their home in Egypt
a) It was near Joseph.
b) It was fertile for their animals (the eastern section of the Nile delta was 40 mi. long).
c) It was the best of the land in Egypt (GEN 47:11).
2) He provided transportation to Egypt
a) He provided them with wagons and provisions and garments
b) He sent gifts to Jacob (and warned them not to quarrel.)
c) He guided the family group (66 persons, GEN 46: 26) to Goshen personally (GEN 46:29).
3) He briefed Pharaoh about their arrival
a) Pharaoh interviewed the family
i. He gave them permission to sojourn in Goshen.
ii. He gave them the opportunity to work for him as shepherds.
b) Pharaoh interviewed Jacob
i. Jacob blessed Pharaoh (Jacob was 130 years old) and spoke about his life.
ii. Jacob again blessed Pharaoh
b. He tried to meet the spiritual needs of his family (GEN 47:29- 48:22).
1) Jacob was old and recognized that he would die soon (147yrs. old).
a) Jacob made Joseph swear to take Jacob’s body back to Canaan after his death.
b) Joseph brought his sons to receive Jacob’s blessing
i. Jacob adopted Joseph’s sons as his heirs, vs. 5., giving Joseph a double portion, vs. 22.
ii. Jacob bypassed the older son for the younger in blessing making the younger the dominant one (as it turned out to be: Ephraim did dominate the N. part of Israel).
c) Jacob blessed all his sons and prophesied their futures (GEN 49:1-27).
2) Jacob died, was embalmed, and was taken back to the field of Machpelah, in Palestine, as he had requested.
3) Joseph requested that his bones be taken back to Palestine when he too died (GEN 50:24).
a) Joseph believed that the family would return to their spiritual inheritance in Palestine someday and he wanted to be buried there.
b) Joseph died at 110 years of age (GEN 50:26).
i. His body was embalmed
ii. His body was placed in a coffin (a mummy case), awaiting the time it would be taken back.
c) Joseph’s body was carried to Palestine in the Exodus (EXO 13: 19).
WAS HE A WINNER OR A LOSER?
III. What Can We Learn From Him?
1. God is totally sovereign over the events of a person’s life and He has a plan for each of us that is good.
2. Our job as believers is to humbly serve God no matter where we are, no matter what our circumstances and let Him take care of the direction of our lives.
3. If we humble ourselves before the LORD He will indeed lift us up at the proper time.
4. We do not need to seek revenge for ourselves- God will right any wrong we suffer if we allow Him to.
5. The proverb, “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will not stand before obscure men- he will stand before the king” (PRO 22:29), was true for Joseph and it can be true for each of us if God wills it.
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