Lesson 23 第二十三课

God guided and protected Joseph

1. Jacob lived in Canaan.

After Jacob had lived in the land of Mesopotamia for many years, God had brought him safely back to the land of Canaan. God kept all His promises to Jacob.

Read Genesis 37:1.

Jacob lived in the land of Canaan. It’s the land where his father had stayed.

God had given Jacob the same promises He had given to Abraham and Isaac. He had promised that the coming Deliverer would be one of Jacob’s descendants. He had also promised that Jacob and his descendants would inherit the land that God had given to Abraham.

2. Joseph believed God.

Read Genesis 37:2-3.

2 Here is the story of Jacob.

Joseph was a young man. He was 17 years old. He was taking care of the flocks with some of his brothers. They were the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives. Joseph brought their father a bad report about them.

3 Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons. Joseph had been born to him when he was old. Israel made him a beautiful robe.

Jacob had twelve sons. Joseph was his favorite son, because he had been born to Jacob in his old age.

Joseph knew he was a sinner and could only be forgiven by God’s mercy. He trusted in God’s promises just as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had.

3. Joseph was hated by his older brothers.

Read Genesis 37:4.

4 Joseph’s brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them. So they hated Joseph. They couldn’t even speak one kind word to him.

When Joseph’s brothers did things which were wrong, Joseph reported that to his father. Because Joseph told his father about the evil things his brothers did and because Joseph was his father’s favorite son, his older brothers hated him.

People get angry and hate one another because everyone has been born separated from God and has an evil heart. This is why there is anger, hatred and evil things in your hearts and minds. You were all born separated from God, and there is no way you can change yourselves.

4. Joseph dreamed about his future.

Read Genesis 37:5-11

5 Joseph had a dream. When he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, “Listen to the dream I had. 7 We were tying up bundles of grain out in the field. Suddenly my bundle rose and stood up straight. Your bundles gathered around my bundle and bowed down to it.”

8 His brothers said to him, “Do you plan to be king over us? Will you really rule over us?” So they hated him even more because of his dream. They didn’t like what he had said.

9 Then Joseph had another dream. He told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said. “I had another dream. This time the sun and moon and 11 stars were bowing down to me.”

10 He told his father as well as his brothers. Then his father objected. He said, “What about this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers really do that? Will we really come and bow down to the ground in front of you?”

11 His brothers were jealous of him. But his father kept the matter in mind.

God knew exactly what was going to happen to Joseph and to the rest of Jacob's family. Joseph did not know how his dreams would be fulfilled, but God made it clear that Joseph would become the leader and ruler over his family. God knows the future of all people. He knows your future just as He knew Joseph’s future.

5. Joseph was sold and taken into Egypt.

Read Genesis 37:12-28

12 Joseph’s brothers had gone to take care of their father’s flocks near Shechem. 13 Israel said to Joseph, “As you know, your brothers are taking care of the flocks near Shechem. Come. I’m going to send you to them.”

“All right,” Joseph replied.

14 So Israel said to him, “Go to your brothers. See how they are doing. Also see how the flocks are doing. Then come back and tell me.” So he sent him away from the Hebron Valley.

Joseph arrived at Shechem. 15 A man found him wandering around in the fields. He asked Joseph, “What are you looking for?”

16 He replied, “I’m looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are taking care of their flocks?”

17 “They’ve moved on from here,” the man answered. “I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’”

So Joseph went to look for his brothers. He found them near Dothan. 18 But they saw him a long way off. Before he reached them, they made plans to kill him.

19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to one another. 20 “Come. Let’s kill him. Let’s throw him into one of these empty wells. Let’s say that a wild animal ate him up. Then we’ll see whether his dreams will come true.”

21 Reuben heard them. He tried to save Joseph from them. “Let’s not take his life,” he said.22 “Let’s not spill any blood. Throw him into this empty well here in the desert. But don’t harm him yourselves.”

Reuben said that to save Joseph from them. He was hoping he could take him back to his father.

23 When Joseph came to his brothers, he was wearing his beautiful robe. They took it away from him. 24 And they threw him into the well. The well was empty. There wasn’t any water in it.

25 Then they sat down to eat their meal. As they did, they saw some Ishmaelite traders coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, lotion and myrrh. They were on their way to take them down to Egypt.

26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and try to cover up what we’ve done? 27 Come. Let’s sell him to these traders. Let’s not harm him ourselves. After all, he’s our brother. He’s our own flesh and blood.” Judah’s brothers agreed with him.

28 The traders from Midian came by. Joseph’s brothers pulled him up out of the well. They sold him to the Ishmaelite traders for eight ounces of silver. Then the traders took him to Egypt.

Read Genesis 37:29-35

29 Later, Reuben came back to the empty well. He saw that Joseph wasn’t there. He was so upset that he tore his clothes. 30 He went back to his brothers and said, “The boy isn’t there! Now what should I do?”

31 Then they got Joseph’s beautiful robe. They killed a goat and dipped the robe in the blood.32 They took it back to their father. They said, “We found this. Take a look at it. See if it’s your son’s robe.”

33 Jacob recognized it. He said, “It’s my son’s robe! A wild animal has eaten him up. Joseph must have been torn to pieces.”

34 Jacob tore his clothes. He put on black clothes. Then he sobbed over his son for many days.

35 All of Jacob’s other sons and daughters came to comfort him. But they weren’t able to. He said, “I’ll be full of sorrow when I go down into the grave to be with my son.” So Joseph’s father sobbed over him.

6. Joseph worked in Potiphar’s house.

Read Genesis 39:1-19

Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. An Egyptian named Potiphar had bought him from the Ishmaelite traders who had taken him there. Potiphar was one of Pharaoh’s officials. He was the captain of the palace guard.

2 The Lord was with Joseph. He gave him great success. Joseph lived in Potiphar’s house.

3 Joseph’s master saw that the Lord was with him. He saw that the Lord gave Joseph success in everything he did. 4 So Potiphar was pleased with Joseph. He made him his attendant. He put Joseph in charge of his house. He told Joseph to take good care of everything he owned.

5 From that time on, the Lord blessed Potiphar’s family and servants because of Joseph. He blessed everything Potiphar had in his house and field.

6 So Potiphar told Joseph to take good care of everything he owned. With Joseph in charge, he didn’t have to worry about anything except the food he ate.

Joseph was strong and handsome. 7 After a while, his master’s wife noticed Joseph. She said to him, “Make love to me!”

8 But he said no. “My master has put me in charge,” he told her. “Now he doesn’t have to worry about anything in the house. He trusts me to take care of everything he owns.

9 “No one in this house is in a higher position than I am. My master hasn’t held anything back from me, except you. You are his wife. So how could I do an evil thing like that? How could I sin against God?”

10 She spoke to Joseph day after day. But he told her he wouldn’t make love to her. He didn’t even want to be with her.

11 One day Joseph went into the house to take care of his duties. None of the family servants was inside.

12 Potiphar’s wife grabbed hold of him by his coat. “Make love to me!” she said. But he left his coat in her hand. And he ran out of the house.

13 She saw that he had left his coat in her hand and had run out of the house. 14 So she called her servants. “Look,” she said to them, “this Hebrew slave has been brought here to make fun of us! He came in here to force me to have sex with him. But I screamed for help. 15 He heard my scream. So he left his coat beside me and ran out of the house.”

16 She kept Joseph’s coat with her until Potiphar came home. 17 Then she told him her story. She said, “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to rape me. 18 But I screamed for help. So he left his coat beside me and ran out of the house.”

19 Potiphar’s wife told him, “That’s how your slave treated me.” When Joseph’s master heard her story, he became very angry.

7. Joseph was put into prison.

Read Genesis 39:20-23

20 So he put Joseph in prison. It was the place where the king’s prisoners were kept.

While Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lordwas with him. He was kind to him.

So the man who was running the prison was pleased with Joseph. 22 He put Joseph in charge of all of the prisoners. He made him accountable for everything that was done there. 23 The man who ran the prison didn’t pay attention to anything that was in Joseph’s care.

The Lord was with Joseph. He gave Joseph success in everything he did.

Even though Joseph was hated by his brothers and lied about by Potiphar’s wife, he still trusted in the only true and living God. God did not fail Joseph even when he was in prison. God took care of him because He had a wonderful plan for Joseph’s life.

Through Joseph’s dreams, God had made it clear that Joseph would become the leader and ruler over his family. With Joseph in prison, it seemed impossible that he would ever become the leader and ruler of his family. But God never changes. He always does everything that He promises. He is not like people who change their minds, forget their promises, or tell lies. God would take care of Joseph and fulfill His promise to make him the leader of his family.

Discussion Questions

1. Who protected Jacob and brought him back safely to the land of Canaan?

2. Who was Jacob’s favorite son?

3. Did Joseph believe God’s promises about the Deliverer?

4. How did Joseph’s older brothers react to their father’s love for Joseph?

5. What did Joseph dream about sheaves of grain?

6. What did Joseph dream about the sun, moon and stars?

7. What did Joseph’s dreams mean?

8. Who knew Joseph’s future and showed it to him through his dreams?

9. How much of your future does God know?

10. What did Joseph’s older brothers do to Joseph?

11. What happened to Joseph in Egypt?

12. Who took care of Joseph in prison?

13. Why did God take care of Joseph?