Slide 15 of 50
Jacob had twelve sons. These sons were named: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin. DISCUSSION QUESTION: How were the names of these twelve men related to the twelve tribes of Israel and how were they not? Ten of the names of the men are the same names of ten of the tribes of Israel. Joshua, had two of the tribes named after his sons, Mannasah and Ephraim. Levi did was the tribe for the priests and although this tribe would later be given cities in the conquering of Canaan, they did not have a regional land to call their own. Thus, Joseph and Levi did not have tribal regions named after them.
At this time, it was acceptable for men to have several wives at once. Joseph was born to Jacob’s favorite wife, Rachel in Jacob’s old age and Joseph became Jacob’s favorite son. Jacob gave Joseph a coat of many colors (Genesis 37:3). We don’t think too much of such clothes in modern times but in a time that all cloth and dyes were made laboriously by hand such a gift would have been worth a lot of money. God gave Joseph a dream which prophesied that his brothers would serve him. Joseph’s brothers were furious with jealousy and plotted to kill him. His older brother, Reuben intervened and instead they threw him in a deep cistern where he was trapped. Later, when a Ismaelite caravan happened by they saw an opportunity for money and sold him to the Ismaelites (Midianites) as a slave (Genesis 37:27-28).
DISCUSSION QUESTION: Jacob deceived his brother Esau. Later, how was Jacob deceived by his sons? The brothers took Joseph’s precious coat and stained it with the blood of a goat and took it to his father, Jacob as evidence of the death of Joseph by some wild beast. Jacob, who had deceived his brother Esau for the birthright was now being deceived by his sons.
Joseph was taken as a slave to Potiphar, in Egypt who was one of Pharaohs officials over the guard. In this position, Joseph was recognized for his leadership abilities and directed the work of Potiphar’s other servants (Genesis 39:4-6). Joseph was handsome and when he refused the advances of Potiphar’s wife she falsely accused him of attempted rape. Potiphar had him thrown into prison where Joseph’s intelligence and skill again advanced him to head the prison’s workers (Genesis 39:20-23). Finally, Joseph met some of Pharaoh’s servants who had been thrown into prison. Joseph correctly interpreted a prophetic vision of the servants. One of the servants was released from prison to work again for Pharaoh. When Pharaoh had a dream that his wise men couldn’t interpret, the servant remembered Joseph. When Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream as being a prophecy from God about a coming famine, Pharaoh had Joseph appointed to be in charge of the work of the kingdom including the preparations for the 7 year famine (Genesis 41:39-42). Joseph’s family back in Canaan were affected by the famine and came to Egypt for food. They didn’t recognize Joseph and bowed down to him as he had earlier prophesied. Finally, Joseph had them along with his elderly father come to live with him in Egypt in the fertile land of Goshen (Genesis 45). The Egyptians held herders in low esteem and gave them this fertile pasture land (Genesis 46:34). Joseph had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. Over the years the number of descendants of these twelve sons became extremely numerous until the point that the Egyptians became concerned that this group of people had too much potential power and made them their slaves (Exodus 1:6-11) .
DISCUSSION QUESTION: How did Joseph’s experiences prepare him to be a leader in Egypt? Joseph started as a hard working herdsman. Later, he got experience in management as the director of Potiphar’s servants and then again in the Prison as he managed the work being done there. Despite his difficulties, Joseph never quit having faith in God and made the best of his situations. God’s gift of miraculous insight to Joseph put him in a position to become the second in command to Pharaoh.