Jacob, the son of Issac, had 12 sons.
Joseph was married more than once,
so his sons had different mothers.
Jacob had many sheep, therefore his
sons were all shepherds. They were
all very strong and sometimes they
were violent. But, there was one son,
named Joseph, who was a thoughtful boy.
His mother was Rachel. His older
brothers didn't like him. They
believed he was the favorite
in the family, and was
treated better than them.
When Joseph was about 17 years of age,
his father gave him a long robe that
was made of many colors.
This made his brothers even
more jealous than before.
To make matters worse, Joseph began
telling stories of dreams that he
was having. In one of these dreams,
his brothers were working in the
fields binding grain into sheaves,
or bundles as we call them. In his
dreams Joseph saw the bundles that his
brothers had tied bow down to his
sheaf. In his second dream, he
dreamed that the sun, the moon,
and 11 stars all bowed down to him.
Jacob was very angry at this dream.
He told Joseph, "Shall I and thy mother,
and thy brethren indeed come to bow
down ourselves to thee to the earth?"
One day, Jacob sent Joseph to deliver
a message to his brothers out
in the fields. The sight of Joseph
with that coat of many colors was
more than they could stand. They
plotted to kill Joseph and throw his
body in a pit. The oldest brother, Reuben,
did not want to do this terrible
thing. He thought that he
would come back
and rescue Joseph later. They tore
off his beautiful robe and threw him
in a pit. Before they had time to do
this horrible deed, they saw some merchants
coming down the road. They decided they
would sell Joseph instead. It was common
in those days to sell the children
they could not take care of.
The brother's then took a young goat
and killed it. They put the
blood on Joseph's coat and took
it to Jacob. They told their
father that Joseph had been
killed by a wild animal.
Jacob was very heart broken.
The merchants took Joseph to Egypt.
There they sold him to a man
named Potiphar. He was an important
officer of the Pharoah. The Pharoah
was the king of Egypt. Because
Joseph was very well liked by the
Pharoah and did as he was asked, he was
put in charge of his household. After
a time, the Pharoah's wife made
trouble for Joseph and he
was put in prison.
But, God watched over Joseph. He gave
him the ability to know the meaning
of dreams. In prison with Joseph was
the Pharoah's butler and his cook.
One night both of them had dreams.
They told Joseph their dreams. The
butler dreamed there was 3 branches
with buds on them. The buds turned to blossoms,
and the blossoms ripened into grapes.
The butler dreamed that he pressed the
grapes into the Pharoah's cup and
placed the cup into the Pharoah's
hand. Joseph told the butler that
his dream meant that in 3 days the
Pharoah would free him from prison.
He would get his old job back and
would hand Pharoah his cup
as he did before.
The baker dreamed there was 3 cake
baskets on his head. In the top basket
there was all kinds of baked food for the
Pharoah, but birds were eating out of
the basket. Joseph told the baker that
his dream meant that in 3 days time the
Pharoah would hang him from a tree
full of birds.
Joseph was right on both occassions.
The things he had told them happened
just as he said. Joseph asked the butler to
help him get out of prison. He said he
would, but once out he forget about
his promise. He didn't remember
for 2 years.
One day the Pharoah told his servant
about a dream he had had. He
asked the butler if he knew anyone
that could interpret dreams. That
is when he remembered about Joseph.
He told the Pharoah how Joseph had
interpreted his and the baker's dreams.
The Pharoah immediately sent for Joseph.
The Pharoah told Joseph that he
dreamed that 7 fat cattle were grazing
in a field, and 7 lean cattle came up
and ate the fat cattle. Then there
was 7 good ears of corn on a stalk, and
7 withered ears grew up and ate
the good ears.
Joseph told the Pharoah that God
was telling him through the dream
that there would be 7 years of rich
harvests, followed by 7 years of famine.
This meant that there would not be
enough rain and food would not grow
for 7 years. Joseph advised the Pharoah that they
get all the spare food they could during
the 7 good years. And store it for use in the
7 bad years.
The Pharoah was very impressed
with Joseph. He made him the overseer
of this important task. When the famine
hit, Egypt was the only land that had food.
People had to send other people to Egypt
to buy food to keep them
and their families alive.
This famine had also struck Caanan,
the land where Joseph was from.
His family still lived there. Jacob had
to send his sons to Egypt to buy grain.
He kept his youngest son, named
Benjamin, with him in Caanan. Benjamin
was Joseph's only full brother. They had
the same mother and father, where the
other brothers were half-brothers
because they had a different mother.
When the brothers appeared before
Joseph they did not know him.
Joseph knew who they were from
the first time he saw them. He also
noticed that Benjamin was not with them.
Joseph had his brother put in prison
and accused them of being spies.
Joseph still treated his brothers harshly.
He tied up his brother Simeon, and told
his other brothers that he would keep
Simeon in prison until they returned with
their younger brother Benjamin.
The brothers returned to Caanan. There,
they pleaded with their father to let them
take Benjamin to Egypt with them. They
promised to protect him with their lives.
Simeon was still in prison, they still
had no food, so Jacob finally agreed
to allow Benjamin to go.
When Joseph saw Benjamin he was so
moved that he left the room and wept.
In the morning, Joseph instructed his servants
to fill the brothers bags with grain.
In Benjamin's bag they were to put
Joseph's silver cup. Then Joseph demanded
that all bags be searched until his
missing cup was found. They searched
them all and when they came to
Benjamin's bag, they found the cup.
The brothers refused to part with Benjamin.
They told Joseph that their father would
be in deep sorrow if they did not
return with Benjamin. Then they
told Joseph that they had allready
lost one brother who was torn
to bits by a wild animal.
Then one of the brothers, Judah,
pleaded with Joseph to let Benjamin
go back. He offered to become
Joseph's slave in exchange. Moved by
this display of brotherly love, Joseph
said, "I am your brother, Joseph,
whom you sold into Egypt."
His brother's wept for joy at seeing
Joseph then sent for his father.
His father was very suprised and very
happy to see his son alive and well.
Joseph brought all of his family to Egypt
to live. There they lived for many
years. They were treated very well.
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