Joseph and his brothers
This is the story of Jacob’s favourite son Joseph. Joseph had two dreams and told his brothers abort them. Dreams were thought to be messages from God When Joseph explained his dreams, he was really saying. “God is speaking.”
Jacob stayed on in the land of Canaan where his father had lived. This is the story of Jacob’s family. Joseph was 17 years old. He took care of the sheep and goats with his brothers. He used to bring bad reports to his father about what his brothers did.
Jacob loved Joseph more than all his other sons, because he had been born to him when he was old. He made a special robe for him. His brothers knew that their father loved Joseph more than he loved them. So they hated him and were rude to him.
Once Joseph had a dream. When he told his brothers about it, they hated him even more. He said, “Listen to the dream I had. We were all in the field harvesting wheat. When we were tying up the bundles, my bundle stood up straight. Your bundles came around mine and bowed to it.”
“Do you think you are going to be a king and rule over us?” his brothers asked. So they hated him even more because of his dreams and what he said about them.
Later Joseph had a second dream. He said to his brothers, “I had another dream. I saw the sun, the moon, and eleven stars bowing to me.”
He told this dream to his father also. His father scolded him, “What kind of a dream is that? Do you think that your mother, your brothers, and I are going to come and bow down to you?” Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept thinking about it all.
Joseph’s brothers had gone to Shechem to take care of their father’s sheep and goats.
Jacob said to Joseph, “Go to Shechem and see if your brothers and the flocks are all right. Then come back and tell me.”
Joseph answered, “Yes, I’ll go.”
So his father sent him on his way from Hebron Valley.
Joseph arrived at Shechem and was looking here and there. A man saw him and asked him, “What are you looking for?”
The man said, “They have already gone. I heard them say that they were going to Dothan.” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.
When they saw him far away, they planned to kill him. They said to one another, “Here comes that dreamer. Come, let’s kill him and throw his body into a dry well. We’ll tell everyone that a wild animal killed him. Then we’ll see what happens to his creams.”
Reuben heard them end tried to save Joseph. “Let’s not dill him,” he said. “Just throw him into this well here, but don’t hurt him.” He said this, wanting to save him and send him hack to his father. When Joseph came to his brothers, they tore off his special robe. Then they threw him into the dry well.
While they were eating, they suddenly saw a group of Ishmaelite traders on their way to Egypt. Their camels were carrying spices and precious ointments. Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother and then telling a lie about him? Let’s sell him to these traders. Then we won’t have to hurt him. After all De is our own brother.” His brothers agreed. When the traders came by, the brothers pulled Joseph out of the well mid sold him for 20 silver coins. The traders took him to Egypt.
At this time, Reuben was not there. When tie came back to the well and found Joseph missing, he was very sad. He returned to his brothers and said, “The boy is not there! What am I going to do?”
Then they killed a goat and dipped Joseph’s robe in its blood. They took the robe to their father and said, “We found this. Does it belong to your son?”
Jacob knew it was Joseph’s robe and said, “Yes, it is his! Some wild animal has killed him. My son Joseph has been torn to pieces!” Jacob was in deep sorrow for a very long time. All his sons and daughters tried to comfort him, but he would not listen. He said, “I will keep mourning for my son until the day I die.”
Joseph in Egypt
Many things happened to Joseph in Egypt. The LORD was with him and lie became successful. But he as blamed for something he did not do and put in prison for a time. He helped many people while in prison. God’s spirit helped Joseph to explain dreams. The king of Egypt had a dream and sent for Joseph.
Joseph was immediately brought out of prison. He came before the king, shaved and clean. The king said to Joseph, “I had a dream. No one can explain it. I hear that you understand dreams.”
Joseph answered, “Your Majesty, it is God who helps me to understand!”
The king said, “I dreamt that I was standing on the bank of the River Nile. Suddenly seven fat cows came up out of the river and were eating the grass. Then seven thin cows came up. They were the most bony cows I have ever seen. The thin cows ate up the fat ones. But still they looked just as thin as before. Then I woke up. Later I had another dream: I saw seven heads of grain growing on one stalk. They were full and ripe. Then seven thin and dry heads of grain came up. They swallowed the full ones. I told the dreams to the wise men. But none of them could explain them to me.”
Joseph said to the king, “The two dreams mean the same thing. God has told you what he is going to do. The seven fat cows and the seven full heads of grain are seven years of plenty. The seven thin cows and the seven thin heads of grain are seven years of famine. There will be seven years of rich harvests all over Egypt. After that, there will be seven years of famine. People will forget all the good years, because the famine will be terrible. It will ruin the country. You saw the same thing twice. It is planned by God. He will make it happen soon.
“Your Majesty must find a wise and able man and put him in charge of the country. You must also appoint other officers. They should collect a fifth of the grain during the seven years of plenty. Let them store up the grain in the cities and keep it safe. The food will be enough for the country during the seven years of famine. In this way the people will not starve.”
The king and his officers agreed to this plan. He said to them, “We will never find a better man than Joseph. He has God’s spirit in him.” The king said to Joseph, “Cod has shown you all this. It is clear that you are wiser than anyone else. I will put you in charge of my country. All my people will obey your orders. You will be second only to me. I now appoint you governor over all Egypt.”
The king then put his own ring with the royal seal on Joseph’s finger.
He also put a fine linen robe on him. He placed a gold chain around his neck. He gave him the second royal chariot to ride in. Joseph’s guard of honour went ahead of him and cried out, “Make way! Make way!” The king put Joseph in charge of all of Egypt. He said to Joseph, “I am the king. I order that no one in Egypt shall do anything without your permission.” He gave Joseph an Egyptian name. He also gave him an Egyptian wife, the daughter of a priest.
Joseph was 30 years old when he began to serve the king of Egypt. He travelled all over the land.
Joseph surprise his brothers
Joseph’s plans were followed. When the seven years of famine came, Egypt was well prepared with plenty of grain.
Because of the famine, Jacob sent his sons to Egypt to buy food. But they did not know that the man in charge was Joseph. Joseph pretended they were spies. But Joseph really loved his brothers. They told Joseph about their father and how they had left their youngest brother at home.
When they left, Joseph secretly put their money back into their sacks. He told them that they could not buy any food next time, unless they brought their youngest brothel; Benjamin. Joseph was very keen to see his own .younger brother:
Jacob’s sons refused to go to Egypt for more food without Benjamin. At last things were so bad that Jacob let Benjamin go to Egypt, even though he was afraid he would never see him again.
When Joseph saw his brother Benjamin, he said, “So this is your youngest brother, the one you told me about. God bless you, my son.” But Joseph left quickly, because he was about to cry. He went to his room and cried. Then he washed his face and came out. Without showing his feelings, he ordered the meal to be served. Joseph was served at one table and his brothers at another. The brothers were seated at a table in front of Joseph, in the order of their age. This was a real surprise to them! Food was served to them from Joseph’s table. Benjamin was served much more than the rest of them. They ate and drank as much as they could.
The missing cup
Joseph ordered the chief servant, “Fill the men’s sacks with as much grain as they can carry. Put each man’s money on top of the grain. Put my silver cup in the top of the youngest brother’s sack, together with the money for his grain.” The servant did as he was told. Early in the morning the brothers went on their way with their donkeys. They had only gone a short distance from the city. Joseph said to his chief servant, “Hurry after those men. When you catch up with them, ask them, ‘Why have you done wrong to me when I was so good to you? Why did you steal my master’s silver cup? He uses it not only for drinking, but also for telling the future.”
When the servant caught up with them, he repeated Joseph’s words. They answered him, “What do you mean, sir, by talking like this? Believe us, we have done no such thing. You know that we brought back the money we found on top of our sacks. Why then should we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? Sir, if the cup is found with any one of us, let him be put to death. The rest of us will become your slaves.”
The servant said, “All right, but only the one who has stolen the cup will become my slave. The rest of you can go free.” So they quickly lifted down their sacks. Each man opened his sack. Joseph’s servant searched carefully, beginning with the eldest and ending with the youngest. At last, the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. The brothers were shocked! They loaded their donkeys again and returned to the city.
When they came to Joseph’s house, they bowed down before him. Joseph said, “What have you done? Didn’t you know that I have my way of finding out?”
“What can we say to you, sir?” Judah answered. “How can we explain this? Through this God has shown us our sin. All of us are now your slaves, not just the one who was found with the cup.”
Joseph said, “Oh, no! I would never do that! Only the one who had the cup will be my slave. The rest of you are free to go back to your father.”
Judah went up to Joseph and said, “Please, sir, let me speak to you. Don’t be angry with me. You are like the king himself. Sir, you asked us, “Do you have a father or another brother”? We answered, ‘we have a father who is old, and a younger brother, born to him in his old age. The boy’s brother is dead. His father is so fond of him”. Sir, you told us to bring him here, so that you could see him.
We answered that the boy could not leave his father. If he did, his father would die. Then you said, ‘You cannot come to see me again unless you bring your youngest brother.’
“We went back to our father and told him what you had said. Later he told us to return and buy more food. We answered, ‘We cannot go. We will not be allowed to see the governor, unless our youngest brother is with us’. Our father told us, ‘You know that I had only two sons born to my wife Rachel. I have already lost one. He must have been torn to pieces by wild animals. If something happens to this one, I will die of sorrow in my old age’.
“And now, sir,” Judah continued, “if I go back to my father without the boy, he will die. He is so old and loves the boy so much. He will die of sorrow. What is more, I told my father that if I did not bring the boy back to him, I would bear the blame all my life. So now, sir, I will stay here as your slave in place of the boy. Let him go back with his brothers. How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I cannot bear to see my father die of sorrow. ”
Joseph tells his brothers who he is
Joseph was no longer able to keep back his tears. His servants saw him crying. So he sent them out of the room. Then Joseph told his brothers who he was. He cried so loudly that the Egyptians heard him. The news was also taken to the king’s palace. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But when his brothers heard this, they were very frightened. They could not speak. Then Joseph said to them, “Please come closer.” They did! He said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. Now do not be upset or blame yourselves because you sold me. It was really God who sent me here to Egypt to save people’s lives. This is only the second year of the famine. There will be five more years with no harvests. God sent me here to save you and your children in this wonderful way. So it was not really you who sent me here, but God! He has made me the king’s highest official. I am the governor of this whole country.
“Now hurry back to my father and tell him what his son Joseph says, ‘God has made me governor of all Egypt. Come to me quickly. You can live in Goshen, where you can be near me. Bring your children, your grandchildren, your sheep, your goats, your cattle, and everything else that you have. I can take care of you. There will be five more years of famine. I do not want my own people and their animals to starve.”
Joseph continued, “Now all of you, and you too, Benjamin, can see that I am really Joseph. Tell my father of my great position here in Egypt. Tell him about everything that you have seen. Hurry, and bring him here.”
He threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and began to cry. Benjamin also cried as he hugged him. Then, still weeping, Joseph hugged each of his brothers and kissed them. After that his brothers began to talk with him.
When the news reached the palace that Joseph’s brothers had come, the king and his officers were pleased. The king said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers to load their animals and return to the land of Canaan. Let them bring their father and their families back here. I will give them the best land in Egypt.”
So they left Egypt and went back home to their father Jacob in Canaan. They told him, “Joseph is still alive! He is the ruler of all Egypt!” Jacob was so surprised! He could not believe them!
But they told him all that Joseph had said to them. When he saw the carts which Joseph had sent to take him to Egypt, he knew this wonderful news must be true. “My son Joseph is still alive!” he said. “This is all I could ask for! I must go and see him before I die.”
So Jacob set out for Egypt with his whole family. His sons put him, their small children, and their wives in the carts. They took their flocks and everything they had with them.