GENESIS 30–50, THE STORY OF JOSEPH
Bible Background: This is the longest story of the patriarchs of the Jewish people. Abraham and Sarah have a son, Isaac; Isaac and Rebecca have twin sons, Jacob and Esau; Jacob has 12 sons (this leads us to the 12 Tribes of Israel) by Rachel and Leah. Joseph is the most well-known. The story of Joseph shows us how God and God’s promises work even through flawed human beings!
Highlights of the Story of Joseph: 1. Joseph is born to Rachel (Genesis 30) after a tough time of being childless. He’s born into an already dysfunctional family!
- Joseph is the favored child, and maybe a spoiled teen? (37:1-4). You know there will be trouble when we’re told that Jacob loved Joseph more than the others!
- Joseph dreams of greatness (37:5-11). Unfortunately, he can’t keep this dream to himself and tells his brothers who can’t stand this kid!
- Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery, Joseph ends up in Egypt. (37:12-36). The brothers tell their father, Jacob, that his favorite son is dead.
- Joseph becomes successful, and then another disaster strikes. (39:1-23) Joseph serves capably in the house of Potiphar, an Egyptian official. Potiphar’s wife tries to seduce Joseph. Joseph refuses her advances and lands in prison.
- Things start looking up for Joseph, the Dreamer! (41:1-36). Joseph wins the Pharaoh’s favor. He is put in charge of preparing the country for years of famine.
- Joseph’s family journeys to Egypt. (41–44) Jacob’s sons come to Egypt in search of food. Joseph knows who they are. They do not recognize Joseph!
- Joseph reveals himself to his family; family comes together-somewhat! (45–47). Notice how much weeping there is in this story!
- Father Jacob dies, brothers worry! They ask Joseph to forgive them. (50) The key verse here is 50:19-20 Joseph says: “Do not be afraid. Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good…”
Who can you relate to in this family’s story? How can it give hope or direction to your family’s struggles? How might this help us view some of the intractable differences between people and nations of the world?