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Joseph was the first son of Jacob by his second wife Rachel, and the eleventh son Jacob had fathered. He was favored by Jacob as the favorite son, and so was sold into slavery by his brothers in jealously. Despite the predicament, God was with Joseph and so he eventually rose to become his master's attendant.

After his master's wife tried to get Joseph to have an affair with her and he refused, she had Joseph imprisoned. Eventually the Egyptian Pharaoh began to having strange dreams, and when Joseph successfully interpreted them was given authority over the whole land of Egypt. When a famine arose in Canaan, Joseph's brothers came to ask for his aide, not realizing it was their brother. He then invited his family to move into Egypt.


Early Life


Jacob's wife Rachel, had not been bearing children to her husband[1]. She became jealous of her sister and so had Jacob sleep with a servant Bilhah to bear her children[2]. Rachel's sister, Leah became jealous of Bilhah's offspring and when she stopped having children had her servant Zilpah sleep with Jacob in order to compete with her sister[3].

Eventually God gave Rachel the ability to conceive[4]. So Rachel conceived and bore a child named Joseph[5], because her disgrace had been taken away[6].

Favored Son

Joseph was a favored child among the sons Jacob because he fathered him in his old age. He gave Joseph an ornate "coat of many colors"[7], which made his brothers angry and jealous of him[8]. At age seventeen, Joseph was a shepherd who attended the flocks alongside some of the other brothers[9].

Joseph's dreams

At one point Joseph had a dream: he and his brothers were preparing bales of grain and when Joseph's grain stood up and the brother's grain gathered around and bowed to it[10]. He told this to his brothers[11], who hated him even more because of it[12]. His brothers became fearful that perhaps Joseph thought he would reign over them eventually[13].

Then Joseph had another dream,which he also told his father and mother along with his brothers—he saw the sun, moon, and eleven stars all bowing down before him[14]. This time his father rebuked him for telling the dream, wondering if that meant even he and his mother will have to bow before him[15].


Brothers plot to kill Joseph

One day Joseph's brothers were out working Jacob's fields in Shechem[16], and so Jacob send Joseph to go visit them[17]. When get to Shechem and didn't see his brothers, he asked a stranger who told him his brothers went to Dothan[18].

So Joseph went to Dothan, and his brothers saw him heading towards them in the distance and so they plotted to kill him[19]. They mockingly called him a dreamer amongst themselves[20], and planned to kill him and throw him in a well and say that a wild animal killed him[21].

Reuben, wishing to save Joseph[22], told them to just put him in a pit and don't lay a hand on him[23]. Reuben said this as he planned to rescue Joseph and bring him back to their father.

Sold into slavery

So when Joseph arrived, his brothers stripped him of his "coat of many colors"[24] and he was dumped into an empty cistern[25]. As Joseph was trapped in the well, his brothers ate a meal and when they saw Ishmaelite traders passing by[26], Judah suggested that they should sell him and have him be taken away[27]. So when the merchants came by, they raised Joseph out of the well and sold Joseph for twenty pieces of silver[28], then after he was led away they took his coat and dipped it in fresh goat's blood before showing it to their father[29]. Jacob felt for sure his son had been killed by a wild beast and so mourned for him in sackcloth[30].

Under Potiphar

Well Favored

So Joseph was taken to Egypt[28] and was sold by the Ishmaelites to Potiphar, the captain of the Pharaoh's guard[31].

God was with Joseph while in servitude, and blessed him in everything he did. He lived in Potiphar's house[32]. Eventually Joseph found favor with Potiphar and so was made his personal attendant; in charge of managing the entire house and all the property[33].

Joseph deals with Potiphar's wife

Joseph, being handsome, attracted the attention of Potiphar's wife, who wanted him to to sleep with her[34]. But Joseph refused[35], saying that his master hasn't kept anything back from him but his wife, and that would[36] be sinning[37] against God.

Potiphar's wife continuously asked Joseph to be intimate with her, and Joseph refused every time[38]. Joseph kept refusing her[38] until one day when he was alone in the house with the wife[39], she grabbed him by the coat, and he ran[40] off, leaving the coat in her hand[41]. She then had Joseph framed in front of her husband for "trying to commit adultery" with her and making her "a sport"[42]. This angered Potiphar[43][44].


Rising in Rank

So Potiphar imprisoned Joseph in the royal prison[45] . While Joseph was in prison, God was with Joseph showing him kindness and Joseph found favor with the prison warden[46] and so was put in charge of all the prisoners[47], without supervision[48].

Interpreting his first dreams

At one point the Pharaoh's chief cupbearer and chief baker angered the Pharaoh and so they were imprisoned in the royal prison[49]. Potiphar had jurisdiction over the prison and assigned them under the care of Joseph[50]. While under Joseph's management, both the baker and the cupbearer had dreams on the same night[51], and Joseph seeing their sadness[52] offered dream interpretations from God[53].

In the cupbearer's dream he saw[54] three branches on a vine that budded three bunches of grapes[55]. The Pharaoh's cup was being brought before the Pharaoh and the grapes were squeeze and given to the Pharaoh[56]. Joseph explained that the three branches represented three days[57] and that in that time frame he would be given his role back[58]. Joseph also asked the cupbearer to remember him after his position was restored, and to plead for a release from imprisonment[59]. Joseph went on to tell the cupbearer that he had been forced[45] into prison and did not break any law[60]. The baker seeing Joseph had given a fortunate interpretation went on and told his dream: there were three baskets on his head[61], with the topmost one having baked goods, and birds were eating from it[62]. Joseph explained that the three baskets are three days[63], and on the third day he would be released and be hanged for the birds to eat his body[64].

So on the third day during the Pharoah's birthday festival,[65] the cupbearer's position was restored[66] while the baker was executed, just as Joseph had predicted[67]. The cupbearer forgot[60] Joseph[68] and so Joseph remained imprisoned.

Interpreting the Pharaoh's dreams

Two years later, the Pharaoh had two dreams[69]: one where seven fat cows were eaten by seven thin cows[70], and another where seven thick stalks of wheat were devoured by seven thin stalks of wheat[71]. So the Pharaoh called for his magicians who were unable to explain the meaning of Pharaoh's dreams[72], but his cupbearer recalled[60] Joseph who explained the dreams he and the baker had that came true[73]. So Pharaoh had Joseph brought out of prison into his court (after he had been shaved and changed clothes)[74]. The Pharaoh then explained to Joseph he had a dream in which no could interpret and hearing that he had the ability to do so needed him to interpret it[75].

Joseph responded to Pharaoh that he could not interpret dreams, but rather God would answer[76].

and explained the dreams to him. Joseph then said that the dreams are God's message to Pharaoh: the seven fat cows and seven thick stalks of wheat were seven good years of crops, while the seven thin cows and the seven thin stalks of wheat were seven years of famine that would follow after. He advised the Pharaoh to store up grain during the seven good years so that the nation would not perish. Realizing that the Spirit of God was in Joseph, the Pharaoh made him ruler of Egypt and gave him power and authority as second to himself on the throne. During the seven good years, Joseph went out and had all the grain stored up, which was beyond counting. Joseph was given Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Phera priest of On, as a wife, and she bore him Manasseh and Ephraim. When the seven years of famine started, Joseph began to sell the grain that was stored up to both Egypt and the surrounding nations.

It was then that Joseph saw his brothers again, when they except for Benjamin were sent to Egypt by their father Jacob to buy grain. Joseph recognized them and treated them rather harshly, accusing them of being spies to see where Egypt was not defended. Joseph put them in prison for three days, and then sent them back to their father while keeping Simeon in custody, telling them to bring their youngest brother with them or else they won't see his face again. He also put their money back in the sacks after having them filled. They would return a year or so later with Benjamin under Judah's care, promising his father his safe return. Joseph then released Simeon unto them and had them eat with him in his house, giving Benjamin five times the portion his brothers were given. Before they left, Joseph had his servant put his silver cup into Benjamin's sack and then go after them and accuse them of stealing the cup he "uses" for "divination". When his brothers found the cup in Benjamin's sack, they returned to Joseph and Judah pleaded for him to take him into custody in place of Benjamin for fear that his father would die if Benjamin was not safely returned. It was at that point that Joseph revealed himself to his brothers and told them to bring their father and their house to Egypt, where they will live.

When Joseph's brothers brought back word to Jacob that Joseph was still alive, he couldn't believe the news until they showed what they brought back from Egypt, and soon he and the rest of his house moved to Egypt, where Jacob saw his son Joseph alive again. By the Pharaoh's decree, Joseph had his family settle in the land of Goshen. By this time, the famine got worse and the people were running out of money, so Joseph had them sell off their livestock in exchange for food. A year later, the people had nothing left but their bodies and their land, and so offered themselves and their land in exchange for food. Joseph told the people that when they plant seed and the harvest comes, they were to give one-fifth of the produce to Pharaoh and keep the rest for themselves.

Years later, when Jacob was about to die, he made his son Joseph promise to bury him in the cave at Machpelah, and he also blessed Joseph's two sons, though he gave Ephraim the younger the firstborn son's blessing over Manasseh the firstborn. Jacob spoke over all his sons about their futures in "blessings" before he died. Joseph closed his father's eyes and had him embalmed before he and his family journeyed to Machpelah to bury their father. Afterward Joseph's brothers feared that he would now take revenge against them for what they did to him, and so begged for his forgiveness. Joseph told them not to be afraid, for though they thought to do evil against him, God had planned it for good so that they could be saved.

Joseph lived to 110 years old and dwelt in Egypt, seeing Ephraim's children to the third generation. When he died, he made his brethren swear to bring his bones out of Egypt when God delivers them out of there. During the time of Moses, Joseph's bones were brought out of Egypt, and after the children of Israel had settled in their land, he was buried at Shechem, in the plot of ground which Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for one hundred pieces of silver, which had become an inheritance of the sons of Joseph.


  1. Gen 30:1
  2. Gen 30:3-8
  3. Gen 30:9-21
  4. Gen 30:22
  5. Gen 30:24
  6. Gen 30:23
  7. Gen 37:3
  8. Gen 37:4
  9. Gen 37:2
  10. Gen 37:8
  11. Gen 37:6
  12. Gen 37:5
  13. Gen 37:8
  14. Gen 37:9
  15. Gen 37:10-11
  16. Gen 37:12
  17. Gen 37:13-14
  18. Gen 37:15-17
  19. Gen 37:18
  20. Gen 37:19
  21. Gen 37:20
  22. Gen 37:21
  23. Gen 37:22
  24. Gen 37:23
  25. Gen 37:24
  26. Gen 37:25
  27. Gen 37:26-27
  28. 28.0 28.1 Gen 37:28
  29. Gen 37:29-32
  30. Gen 37:33-34
  31. Gen 37:36, 39:1
  32. Gen 39:2
  33. Gen 39:3-4
  34. Gen 39:7
  35. Gen 39:8
  36. Gen 39:9
  37. Exo 20:14, Lev 18:20, Rom 13:9, James 2:11
  38. 38.0 38.1 Gen 39:10
  39. Gen 39:11
  40. Prov 5:8,1 Cor 6:18, 2 Tim 2:22
  41. Gen 39:12
  42. Gen 39:13-18
  43. Gen 39:19
  44. Numbers 5:14, Prov 6:26, 29, 34-35
  45. 45.0 45.1 Gen 39:20
  46. Gen 39:21
  47. Gen 39:22
  48. Gen 39:39
  49. Gen 40:1-3
  50. Gen 40:4
  51. Gen 40:5
  52. Gen 40:7
  53. Gen 40:8
  54. Gen 40:9
  55. Gen 40:10
  56. Gen 40:11
  57. Gen 40:12
  58. Gen 40:13
  59. Gen 40:14
  60. 60.0 60.1 60.2 Gen 40:15
  61. Gen 40:16
  62. Gen 40:17
  63. Gen 40:18
  64. Gen 40:19
  65. Gen 40:20
  66. Gen 40:21
  67. Gen 40:22
  68. Gen 40:23
  69. Gen 41:1
  70. Gen 41:2-4, 18-21
  71. Gen 41:5-7, 22-23
  72. Gen 41:8
  73. Gen 41:9-13
  74. Gen 41:14
  75. Gen 41:15
  76. Gen 41:16

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