Who is Joseph?
Joseph was the son of Jacob and Rachel. Jacob and Rachel had two sons including Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph was the favorite child of Jacob because Jacob lost Rachel who died when giving birth to Benjamin. When Joseph was 17 years old, he helped his father tend the flocks along with his brothers. He always brought a bad report about his brothers to his father. Later, Jacob made a colorful robe for Joseph. This made his brothers jealous and they hated him and boycotted him.
Joseph had dreams and he told them to his brothers. In the first dream, Joseph dreamed that he and his brothers were binding sheaves of grain. Suddenly, the brothers’ sheaves of grain gathered around Joseph’s sheave of grain and bowed down to it. His brothers rebuked him, asking him if he intend to reign over them. In the second dream, Joseph dreamed of the sun, moo and eleven stars bowing down to him. Jacob rebuked Joseph for the dream, asking if he wants him and his mother and brothers to bow down to him. However, Joseph kept the dream in mind.
Joseph was Sold into Egypt
One day, Jacob sent Joseph to find out the well being of his brothers who were shepherding the flocks at the Valley of Hebron. When Joseph couldn’t find them, he asked a man at Shechem and he told him that he heard them saying they want to go to Dothan.
When Joseph come towards his brothers at Dothan from afar, they conspired to kill him. When Reuben overheard their plot, he tried to save Joseph by making them throw him into the cistern in the wilderness instead. Reuben said this so that he can save Joseph later and bring him back to his father, Jacob.
When Joseph got near his brothers, they stripped off his ornamental robe and threw him into the empty cistern. While sitting down to eat their meals, a caravan of Ishmaelites arrived with camels loaded with spices, balm and myrrh. Judah suggested to sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites instead of killing him and they agreed.
They pulled up Joseph from the cistern and sold him to the Ishmaelites for 20 shekels of silver. The Ishmaelites took Joseph to Egypt.
After that, they dipped Joseph’s coat into goat blood. When they brought the coat to Jacob, Jacob thought Joseph was tor to pieces by a ferocious animal and he refused to be comforted.
Joseph was Thrown into Prison
Joseph was sold to Potiphar, the captain of guard in Egypt. God was with Joseph and everything he did prospered. This pleased Potiphar and he promoted him and put him in charge of all things in his household. There is nothing that Potiphar has to worry except the choice of the food served in his meal. With Joseph in charge of his household, Potiphar has nothing to worry.
Joseph had a handsome and muscular figure and this made Potiphar’s wife lust for him. Potiphar’s wife asked Joseph to have sex with her, Joseph refused but she kept nagging him day after day. One day, Potiphar’s wife grabbed hold of Joseph’s cloak and asked him to have sex with her. Joseph refused and his cloak was left in her hand. When Potiphar’s wife saw this, she blamed it on Joseph, telling the servants, that, it was Joseph who wanted to rape her and when she screamed for help, he ran away, leaving his cloak with her.
When Potiphar returned home, she lied to him about what happened and Joseph was thrown into prison. God was with Joseph and the warden of the prison put him in charge of all the prisoners. With Joseph in charge of the prison, he did not have to worry anything.
A cupbearer and baker happened to offend Pharaoh and they were confined in the same prison as Joseph. One night, both the cupbearer and baker had a dream. In the morning, Joseph saw that their faces looked downcasted. He asked them why they looked gloomy and they told him about their dreams.
The chief cupbearer dreamed of a vine with 3 branches. As soon as the vine budded and blossomed and produced grapes, he took the grapes and squeezed the juice into Pharaoh’s cup.
Joseph interpreted the cupbearer’s dream, that, the 3 branches symbolizes 3 days. In 3 days, Pharaoh will set the cupbearer free from the prison and restore his position so that he can serve him again. Joseph asked the chief cupbearer to remember him and get him out of the prison after Pharaoh had restored him.
The chief baker dreamed of carrying 3 baskets of bread on his head. The top baskets has all kinds of baked goods but the birds were eating them away.
Joseph interpreted the chief baker’s dream, that, the 3 baskets symbolizes 3 days. In 3 days, Pharaoh will sentence him to death by impaling his body on a pole and the birds will eat away his flesh.
Everything happened as Joseph said. The chief cupbearer was restored to his positioned but the chief baker was impaled on a pole. However, the chief cupbearer forgot about Joseph.
Joseph Became Governor of Egypt
After 2 years, Pharaoh had a dream. He dreamed of 7 ugly and gaunt cows swallowing 7 sleek and fat cows coming up from among the reeds.. After that, Pharaoh had another dream. In the second dream, Pharaoh dreamed of 7 thin and scorched heads of grains swallow up 7 heads of healthy and good grains.
Pharaoh was troubled after having the dreams as he did not understand the dreams. He sent for all magicians and wise men to interpret his dreams but they couldn’t interpret the dreams.
At this time, the chief cupbearer remembered Joseph and he mentioned him to Pharaoh, about how Joseph interpreted his dream and the chief baker’s dreams and they came true as he said. Therefore, Pharaoh sent for Joseph and had him brought to him.
After shaving and changing his clothes, Joseph was brought before Pharaoh. Pharaoh told Joseph his dreams and he interpreted it for him. According to Joseph, Pharaoh’s dreams had the same meaning. The 7 sleek and fat cows and the 7 heads of healthy and good grains stand for 7 years of great abundance in crops. Similarly, the 7 ugly and gaunt cows and 7 thin and scorched heads of grains stand for 7 famine years. There will be 7 years of great abundance in Egypt. After the 7 years of great abundance, there will be 7 famine years.
Joseph advised Pharaoh to find a wise man to collect 1/5 of the harvest and store in the cities for food so that they can be use during the 7 famine years. The plan looked good to Pharaoh and Pharaoh appointed Joseph as governor over Egypt.
Pharaoh also give Joseph as wife, Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On. Joseph was 30 years old when he became the governor of Egypt. Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath Paneah. Joseph had two sons including Ephraim and Manasseh.
Joseph Accused His Brothers as Spy
During the 7 years of great abundance, Joseph collected 1/5 of grain and there was so much grain that he stop keeping records. After the 7 years of great abundance, there was famine everywhere in Egypt. The famine also affected the neighboring regions. It affected Canaan, the place where Jacob and his family lived. Because of the severe famine, Jacob sent his sons to come down to Egypt to buy grains.
When Joseph saw his brothers, he pretended he did not recognized them. He went away to weep and then wiped away his tears. He accused them of trying to spy on Egypt and asked about the youngest son of Jacob, Benjamin. Joseph forced them to leave one brother behind until they get Benjamin to him. Joseph bounded Simeon and put him in prison.
At this time, Reuben started to feel guilty about how they treated Joseph and now God is calling them into account of his blood. Joseph had their sacks filled with grains and their silvers returned. While on their way back, the brothers discovered their own silvers in their sacks and they became panic.
When they arrived home, they told everything to their father, Jacob. Jacob felt even more sad when they say they want to take Benjamin back in order to bring Simeon back and he did not allow them to bring Benjamin.
Some time later, there is no more food and Jacob asked his sons to go down to Egypt to buy food. They would not go unless Jacob let them bring along Benjamin. Finally, Jacob agreed to let them bring Benjamin. He also instructed them to bring double portions of silver, some balm, honey, spices, myrrh, pistachio, nuts and almonds
When they arrived, Joseph had his steward brought them to his house. While at the house, they the double portions of silver. They explained why they bring double portions of silver to the steward. They presented the gifts to Joseph when he arrive home. When Joseph saw Benjamin, he hurried out to his private room and wept. After that, he washed his face and had a meal with his brothers. When the portions were served during the meal, Benjamin was given 5 times more.
Before he sent the brothers away, he instructed his steward to fill the sacks with grain and put his silver cup in Benjamin’s sack. When they were on their way back, Joseph sent his steward to check on his missing silver cup. When the steward caught up with them, he accused them of stealing Joseph’s silver cup but they said they did not take it. As the steward check each sack, he found the silver cup in Benjamin’s sack.
Therefore, the brothers were brought back to Joseph’s house. Eventually, Joseph revealed that he was their brother whom they had sold into Egypt. Then, Joseph sent carts to relocate the entire family of Jacob from Canaan to Goshen because of the severe famine. He also gave new clothing to each of the brother. However, to Benjamin, he gave 300 shekels of silver and 5 sets of clothes.
What Can We Learn from Joseph?
Joseph was a humble man. He always give credit to God on the interpretations of dream because he knew God gave him this gift to help others. He knew that it was God who helped him to be successful. Because he was a humble man, God exalted him to become the governor of Egypt.
Joseph was merciful and forgiving. Instead of taking vengeance, he forgive them and provided them a place to stay in Egypt. He helpted the entire family to move to Goshen so that they will always be provided with food during the years of famine.
God always do things at the right timing. Joseph became governor when he was 30 years old, at the right timing, when God has decided to bring about 7 good years of abundance and 7 years of famine.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31-32 KJV)
And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. (Mark 11:25 KJV)
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. (Colossians 3:13 KJV)
But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. (Luke 6:27-36 KJV)
Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. (Romans 12:14 KJV)
Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth. (Proverbs 24:17 KJV)
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (James 4:6 KJV)
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud. (Proverbs 16:18-19 KJV)
Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another. (Romans 12:10 KJV)
The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. (Psalm 25:9 KJV)
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (James 4:10 KJV)
For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. (Habakkuk 2:3 KJV)
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 KJV)
Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. (Psalm 27:14 KJV)
Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. (Ecclesiastes 8:6 KJV)