You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lived.
Genesis 50:20
Occupation
Slave, Governor of Egypt
Era
Patriarchs and Prophets
Level
Level 14
Strategy
Find out more about him by reading Genesis 37; 39-50.
Occupation
Slave, Governor of Egypt
Era
Patriarchs and Prophets
Level
Level 14
Strategy
Find out more about him by reading Genesis 37; 39-50.
Story
Part 1 of 8

Dreams of Greatness

Joseph grew up as the clear favorite of his father, Jacob. He was the first born of Rachel, Jacob's favorite wife, who had passed away giving birth to her second child, Benjamin. In a showy display of love for Joseph, Jacob gave him a special coat of many colors. Joseph's ten half-brothers loathed his special status. They were born to Leah whose father, Laban, had tricked Jacob into marrying. Sadly, Jacob did not love Leah as much as he did Rachel.

Even more frustrating to Joseph's brothers were his grandiose dreams. He once dreamed eleven bundles of grain, each representing one of his brothers, bowed to his bundle. In another dream, which Joseph faithfully recounted, the sun (representing his father), moon (his mother) and eleven stars (no guesses here), all bowed to him.

With his beautiful coat, preferential treatment and dreams of greatness, Joseph was a marked man as far as his brothers were concerned.

Part 2 of 8

Treacherous Plotting

One day, Jacob sent Joseph to take supplies to his brothers who were away herding sheep. When he found them in a place called Dothan, the majority of Joseph's jealous brothers wanted to kill him and throw his body into an empty well.

One of the brothers, Reuben, urged restraint and suggested they simply throw Joseph alive into the well. Reuben secretly planned to return later to rescue his dreamer brother, and bring him back to their father.

The brothers agreed and threw Joseph into the well but, before Reuben could rescue the boy, instead the brothers sold him as a slave to some passing merchants who were heading to Egypt. The brothers decided to explain Joseph’s disappearance to their father Jacob by staining his coat with goat’s blood. When Jacob saw the coat, he was understandably devastated and convinced his favorite son was dead.

Meanwhile, Joseph had gone from a spoiled, privileged son, to a powerless slave heading for a foreign land.

Part 3 of 8

Potiphar's Wife

Upon arriving in Egypt, the merchants sold Joseph as a slave to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh's guard. Joseph did a great job working for Potiphar and he was soon promoted to head of the entire household. Joseph was put in charge of everything Potiphar owned. Things were looking up for Joseph, but a certain member of Potiphar's household was about to undo all his success.

Joseph was a good-looking guy and his master's wife had noticed. In fact, she was so enamored with him that she tried on several occasions to get him to sleep with her.

Joseph refused, saying that his master had entrusted him with everything except his wife, and that sleeping with her would be sinning against God.

The temptress didn't give up though. She cornered him one day and grabbed his cloak when he tried to run away. Cloak in hand, Potiphar's wife claimed to the men of the household that Joseph had tried to rape her.

Part 4 of 8

Prison Time

Faced with his wife's wild claims about Joseph, Potiphar had little choice but to have Joseph thrown into prison. Joseph was innocent of any crime and rose to the occasion. He impressed the prison warden so much that he put Joseph in charge of the other prisoners.

While in prison, Joseph interpreted the dreams of two fellow inmates: Pharaoh's cupbearer and his chief baker. The dream the cupbearer had about serving Pharaoh freshly squeezed grape juice was a sign he would be restored to his former position. Joseph told the baker that his dream of birds eating bread out of baskets intended for the Pharaoh unfortunately pointed to his impending execution.

Both predictions came true. The baker was executed and the birds fed on his corpse, while the cupbearer was reinstated. He promptly forgot all about Joseph, which was particularly ungrateful since Joseph had specifically asked him to petition the Pharaoh for his release.

Part 5 of 8

Second-In-Command

It wasn't until Pharaoh himself had a bad dream two years later that the forgetful cupbearer thought to mention Joseph. Pharaoh dreamed of seven skinny cows eating seven fat ones and seven withered ears of grain consuming seven fat ears. When Pharaoh's officials failed to interpret the dream, the restored cupbearer remembered Joseph and suggested his wisdom be sought.

Joseph revealed to Pharaoh that his dream would herald in seven years of plenty preceding a famine that would also last seven years. He suggested that Pharaoh think ahead and stockpile grain in preparation for the predicted famine seven years in the future.

The interpretation of the dream, combined with the good counsel he received, made a great impression on Pharaoh who decided to make Joseph his second-in command in Egypt. Joseph went on to supervise the stockpiling of grain in preparation for the great famine that was coming. At thirty years of age, Joseph had ascended to the second most powerful position in the land.

Part 6 of 8

Blast From The Past

Just as Joseph had predicted, seven years of abundance ensued and he oversaw the collection and storage of grain. So vast was the quantity of grain stored that it was impossible to keep an accurate record.

But the happy seven years of plenty screeched to a halt when, sure enough, famine struck the land with a vengeance. Not only was there famine in Egypt but also the entire world suffered.

The Egyptians were directed by Pharaoh to see Joseph in order to buy grain from the storehouses. Word spread that there was grain in Egypt and in the course of time an elderly man, Jacob, sent his sons to buy some.

And so it was that many years later, Joseph, now governor of Egypt, came face to face with his treacherous brothers. They did not recognize him but bowed down before him. Joseph pretended not to recognize them.

Part 7 of 8

Silver Cup

The governor of Egypt decided to test his brothers. He spoke harshly to them, demanding to know where they had come from and accused them of being spies. Terrified, they insisted they were brothers, that their youngest brother was at home and that one brother "was no more." Joseph asked them if their father was still alive.

Joseph had his brothers thrown into prison for three days. He then ordered that one brother must remain a hostage in prison until the remaining brothers returned with their youngest brother.

At this point, the brothers felt convinced they were being punished for their heartless treatment of Joseph so many years before. Simeon was tied up before their eyes and then they were sent home with sacks of grain. Unknown to them, the silver with which they had purchased the grain was hidden in the sacks.

Full of sorrow, Jacob realized he must allow Benjamin to return to Egypt with his brothers.

Part 8 of 8

The Reunion

When the brothers returned to Egypt with Benjamin, Joseph was overwhelmed with emotion. But he hid his feelings and invited his brothers, including Simeon who had been released, to join him at a feast.

That night, Joseph ordered that his brothers' donkeys be loaded with all the grain they required, together with the silver they had brought with them (which was double the amount to make up for the last trip). Joseph also ordered that his silver cup be hidden in Benjamin's sack.

No sooner had the brothers set off for home than Joseph’s steward made chase searching for the silver cup. When the cup was discovered in Benjamin’s sack, he was ordered to remain as Joseph’s slave. Judah begged Joseph to allow him to be a slave in Benjamin's place.

At this point, Joseph could no longer contain himself but broke down in tears, telling his brothers who he really was. He assured his terrified brothers that he would not harm them and instead had them summon his father to Egypt.

Jacob was reunited with his long-lost son before he died. Joseph, a true biblical hero, had saved his family and showed the tremendous power of forgiveness.

Find out more about Joseph by reading Genesis 37 and 39-50.