The Story of Joseph in the bible


What Does the Bible Say About Joseph

Joseph is one of the most important characters in the Bible. The life of Joseph describes how Jacob’s descendants became a nation in Egypt. His faithfulness and obedience took him to another level which was only in the mind of God that revealed by the Lord.

Since his childhood, he had gone through many trials and temptations but he was determined not to commit a single sin that might cause him to separate from the LORD. He always put God first and acted according to His will in spite of facing many hardships.

When he was a teenager he was sold by his brothers. Joseph was born at Jacob’s old age that is why he was beloved to his father. Because of his father’s favouritism upon him, his brothers envied him. 

Ultimately, the Lord led him and blessed him to fulfill His promise that He made with Abraham to create a nation from his seed.

Who is Joseph in the Bible Summary

Joseph was the eleventh son of Jacob by Rachel. Jacob favored him and gifted him a tunic of many colors.  That made the rest of his brothers envied him. God gave him a gift to interpret someone’s dream.

He was sold by his brothers in Egypt and later on, he became the governor in Egypt. By him, Jacob’s family entered Egypt and settled there. His life and deeds are mentioned in (Genesis 37-50).

What is the Hebrew Meaning of Joseph?

The name Joseph is derived from the hebrew name Yosof which means “ He will add”.

Father of Joseph in the Bible

Joseph was the son of Jacob. His mother was Rachel.

Brothers of Joseph in the Bible

His brothers are Simeon, Levi, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher and Naphtali.

How Many Joseph in the Bible

There are many Josephs that can be seen in the Bible but out of them two are famous. In Genesis 37 we can find Joseph who was the son of Jacob by Rachel and Joseph of a Hebrew with whom Mary got married , the mother of Jesus.

Joseph’s Dream

Joseph lived with his father and brothers in the land of Canaan where Abraham was a stranger. Being a son of Jacob’s old age, his father loved him more than his other children.  Jacob also gave him a long coat with many colours.

His other sons hated Joseph and did not talk gently as they noticed his father’s favoritism upon him.

Jacob was a wealthy man in his time. He had a huge number of flocks and cattle. All of his children used to look after them. At the age of seventeen years, Joseph saw two dreams which caused his brothers to conspire against him. Once Joseph called all his brothers and shared the dream that he saw.

He said one day we were binding sheaves together in the field but suddenly my sheaf arose and stood upwards while your sheaves bowed down before mine.

It was just a dream which he had spoken to his brothers but he had no intention to rule over his brothers. His brothers misunderstood him and hated him immensely for his dream. It was God’s plan, that He gave a glimpse to Joseph that one day really he will rule his brothers.

Again for the second time he saw another dream which was little different from the previous one. As a young boy he did not understand its meaning and told his brothers about the dream. He told them that the sun, the moon and the eleven stars bowed down before me.

When he told this dream to his father, he was angry at him and scolded him for saying such a dream. But Jacob started pondering the meaning of the dream. On the other hand, his brothers were extremely jealous of him.

Why was Joseph Sold by His Brothers?


Joseph’s brothers were always tried to avoid him as they hated him because of his dreams and Jacob’s affection upon him. Joseph was at home, while rest of his brothers went to feed their flock in Shechem, Jacob told him to visit his brothers to notice them. He left the home to search of his brothers who were feeding the flocks in Shechem.

He did not find his brothers and wandered in the field. A man asked him the reason for wandering. Joseph replied that he was seeking his brothers. The man directed him towards Dothan as he heard from his brothers while they talked. Joseph moved toward Dothan to meet his brothers.

As Joseph’s brothers saw his arrival, they made fun of him by saying, the dreamer is coming to us and they conspired against him to kill him. They decided to kill him but Reuben suggested they not shed blood. They accepted Reuben’s suggestion and cast him into a pit in that wilderness.

Joseph had no idea about what his brothers had planned against him. As soon as he reached his brothers, they stripped his tunic of many colours. They threw him into the pit which was empty.

As they sat down to eat, they saw a company of Ishmaelites who were on their way to Egypt. Judah said to his brothers instead of killing Joseph in the pit it would be better if we sell him in the hands of Ishmaelites.

All the brothers were agreed with Judah and they sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver and they sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard.

Reuben was absent when all these took place. He came to the pit and he did not find Joseph there, so, he tore his clothes in pieces.

His brothers killed a goat and dipped tunic in its blood and brought it to their father. Jacob recognized that it belonged to Joseph then he was confirmed that a wild beast had devoured him. 

Jacob mourned many  days for Joseph as he was his beloved son. All his family members gathered to comfort him but he refused them to be comforted.

Joseph in Egypt(Joseph in Prison)

As the ishmaelites delivered Joseph in the hands of Potiphar, he had taken him in his house. Joseph was put into a foreign land with different people. In his loneliness God accompanied him.

He performed his excellence in every field as the LORD was with him. When his master saw that God favored him in his ways and was a successful man, he made him overseer of his house.

His Egyptian experience shows that God has blessed him for the sake of Joseph. 

Now Joseph was handsome, smart with good appearance which leads Potiphar’s wife to seduce him. She wanted to make a physical relationship with Joseph but he refused her. He feared God and replied to his master’s wife that he can do such a great sin.

Repeatedly she seduced him but every time Joseph denied to accompany her. Eventually, she decided to punish him by her husband.

One day when Joseph was working inside the house alone, his master’s wife caught him by his cloth to have physical relation with her but he fled away leaving his garment on her hand. Being refused often, she called all the men in her house and accused Joseph that he attempted to rape her.

Without any proper investigation, Joseph’s master sent him behind the bar. He was put into prison along with the king’s prisoners. But God was with him and comforted him by giving a favor in the sight of the prison keeper.

God blessed him and got the responsibility to look after all the prisoners. Even in prison, the LORD prospers him.

Prisoner’s Dreams

The butler and the baker of the king were sent to the prison where Joseph was assigned as an overseer of the prisoners. These two men had seen dreams and they were extremely worried. Joseph came to meet them in the morning and he saw that they were so sad. So, he asked the reason and told him about their dreams.

Joseph told them to share their dreams with him so that he can tell them the meaning of their dreams. The chief butler told that before him there was a vine that had three branches. The moment it budded, it blossomed and its clusters ripened into grapes.

At that time Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand and I took the grapes and squeezed them into the cup and gave the cup in Pharaoh’s hand. Joseph explained to him the meaning of his dream.

He said the three branches are three days, after three days the Pharaoh will take him out and restore him in his previous position and you will be assigned to hold the cup before him. Joseph also told him to remember him when he will get out of prison.

Now the chief baker narrated his dream to Joseph. He saw that on his head there were three baskets of bread, on the top basket all sorts of baked items were for the Pharaoh, but suddenly birds ate all of them.

Joseph replied to him by saying that three baskets mean three days and after that Pharaoh will set you free from the prison but hang you up in a tree.

On the third day it was Pharaoh’s birthday so he released both the butler and baker. He placed the butler in his position to bear the cup but he hanged the baker in a tree as it was interpreted by Joseph earlier. After all, the chief butler forgot Joseph.

What was Pharaoh’s Dream

After two years, Pharaoh had seen a dream and caused him depressed. In his dream, he saw that he was standing at the bank of the river. All of a sudden, seven fine-looking and healthy cows appeared from the river and fed in the pastureland.

Right after this, another seven cows arose out of the river which were lean and ugly. They stood besides those other fine looking cows on the bank of the river.

While Pharaoh saw those thin cows  devoured seven healthy cows he awoke from his dream. 

For the second time he saw another dream. This time seven heads of grain appread from one stalk which was plump and good. After them seven other heads of grain sprouted which were thin and blighted by the east wind. The seven thin heads of grand swallowed up healthy grains. When Pharaoh woke up he comforted himself by saying it was just a dream.

The peace of his mind was taken away by these dreams. He informed all the wise men and magicians in Egypt to clarify the meaning of his dreams.

He narrated his dreams to them but no one could interpret the intention of the dreams.

Now the chief butler found his fault that he forgot to tell Pharaoh who interpreted his dream while he was imprisoned. He told how Joseph, the Hebrew who was a servant of the caption of the guard interpreted his dream and the dream of the chief baker.

According to his interpretation, it happened. I got my previous position and the chief baker was hanged.

After hearing from the butler, Pharaoh immediately sent his people to set free Joseph and bring him in front of him. Joseph heard the dreams from Pharaoh and he said it is God who will give the peace.

Joseph told Pharaoh that these dreams are one. God has shown as He will do to perform in your land. Joseph now told that seven good cows and seven healthy heads are seven years.

The seven ugly, thin cows are seven years and seven thin heads of grans which were blighted by the east wind are seven years of famine. There will be plenty of grains in the field of Egypt which will be followed by the seven years of severe famine. 

The reason for the dream’s repetition meant that it would be established by God and he will make it happen shortly.

Now Pharaoh had to put someone who can collect one-fifth of the grains and gather the grains in the first seven years for the time of famine. He found Joseph would be eligible as the LORD was with him.

Pharaoh appointed him over his house and his people will obey his commandments. Pharaoh put his signet ring on Joseph’s hand and gave him clothes of fine linen to wear and put a gold chain on his neck.

Joseph got the privilege to ride in the second chariot and obtained the position after Pharaoh. Here his name was changed by Pharaoh and his new name was Zaphnath-Paaneah and he got married to Asenath.

He was was thirty years old when God put him in the place of Pharaoh. He was assigned to look after the land of Egypt. According to dreams the first seven years whole Egypt produced plenty of grains. Joseph made a storehouse in every city to gather the grains. When he completed grains it was immeasurable.

Before the famine had hit the land he gave birth to two sons. He gave his first son’s name Manasseh which means ‘As God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house.’ He called his second son Ephraim which means ‘ For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.’

When the first seven years had ended Joseph approached Pharaoh to let him beware of the terrible seven years which will be accompanied by the severe famine. It was so and all the land of Egypt and their surrounding land faced the famine but there was enough bread in Egypt.

All the people sought Pharaoh to provide them food as the land was famished. Pharaoh told them to meet Joseph and obey him. Joseph sold the grains to all the people of Egypt.

Joseph’s Brothers Came to Egypt


Due to famine, everyone was seeking food badly. Jacob came to know that in Egypt grains are available. So, he sent his ten sons to buy the grain from Egypt but he did not send Joseph’s brother along with them.

Pharaoh appointed Joseph over the land of Egypt. When his brothers came to him for the grains at once he recognized them but acted them as strangers. He asked them where “ where do them they come from?

His brothers told him that they are from Canaan to buy food. His brothers failed to recognize that he is their own brother whom they sold in their childhood.

Joseph remembered his dreams that he saw while he was very young. He accused his brothers as spies . his brothers claimed themselves as honest men and they are sons of one man. Joseph was looking for Benjamin, that’s why he tested them.

He commanded them to bring Benjamin before him to prove that they were really honest. If they do not bring their brother they must be put before Pharaoh.

They left Simeon in Egypt and carried their bags full of grains, starting their journey toward Canaan. When they reached Jacob told him everything. But Jacob was not intended to send Benjamin in Egypt but finally by the interference of Reuben Jacob agreed to send Benjamin away to Egypt.

When Joseph saw Benjamin his own brother had come, he invited all of his brothers in his house to have food together. 

Next day Joseph ordered his people to give them grains as much as they can carry. So, they did so and they also put each man’s money in the sack.  He also told his steward to keep his silver cup in the sack of Benjamin. They acted according to what Joseph said. 

As soon as Joseph’s brothers left the city, Joseph sent his steward to stop them and ask them why they take their master’s cup ? He made them return to Joseph’s house while he was standing and his brothers fell down before him. They claimed themselves as innocent as they did nothing.

At last Joseph revealed himself in front of his brothers and cried with a loud voice. Then he told them to tell Jacob what they had seen.

Pharaoh and all his people were happy and he gave them the best land for his father and brothers.

Jacob prepared to move to Egypt and he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. God spoke to him not to fear to go to Egypt and there he will be the father of a great nation. Jacob  lived in Goshen in the land of Egypt with his sons.

Joseph and Mary in the Bible

Joseph and Mary were Jesus’ parents. But Jesus was born by the Holy Spirit. When Joseph came to know that Mary was pregnant, he decide to leave her but the angel of the Lord told him to accept her. He followed what the angel told him.

Lessons From the Life of Joseph

God called Abraham from his native land and promised him to make a great nation from him. He obeyed God, left his home, and moved where God guided him. Abraham gave birth to Jacob at his old age.

God blessed Jacob to prosper him so that he would fulfill His promise through him to make a nation from Abraham’s seed. Jacob had twelve sons. The LORD told Abraham that his descendants will be in a foreign land for four hundred years and they will be served that land’s people.

After four hundred years they will seek from the tortures and persecution of Egyptians. Then the LORD will bring them out and settle them in the land of Canaan.

Jacob lived in the land of Canaan with his twelve sons and households. They had a large number of flocks. Jacob loved Joseph very much. He gave him a tinic that led his brothers envied him.

One day when Joseph’s brother went to feed their flocks in Scheme, Jacob told him to go to his brothers to visit them. But his brothers sold him to the Ishmaelites.

Those Ishmalites traders sold Joseph in Egypt, and he had gone through many temptations but at last God awarded him for his righteousness. There are many lessons that we can learn from his life. 

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