OLD TESTAMENT - LESSON 12
- Joseph interprets the dreams of the butler, the baker, and Pharaoh.
- Pharaoh makes Joseph ruler over all Egypt.
- Joseph makes himself known to his brothers and forgives them.
If we are faithful and obedient, God wil consecrate our afflictions
for our good.
Joseph Interprets The Dreams Of The Butler, The Baker,
- In Lesson 11 we discussed the challenges of
Once again, Joseph turns lemons into lemonade.
- After Joseph received the coat of many colors, his brothers "hated
him, and could not speak peaceably unto him" (Gen. 37:4).
- In spite of the animosity of his brothers, Joseph was obedient to his
father and followed his brothers to Dotham. He was to report back to his
- His brothers sold him to a caravan of Ishmeelites headed for Egypt.
In Egypt, Joseph was sold to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain
of the guard.
- Joseph was a obedient and faithful servant to Potiphar. "...the
Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand" (Gen. 39:3).
Joseph was made the overseer of Potiphar's household and had complete control
over Potiphar's possessions.
- Once again Joseph faced adversity when Potiphar's wife attempted to
seduce Joseph. When he "fled" from the house, rather than put
himself in a compromising situation, he was acused by Potiphar's wife.
Joseph was arrested and thrown in prison.
- Joseph is one of the original positive thinkers. Rather than sulk in
his misery and curse God for his bad luck, he remained faithful to the
- Genesis 39:21-22: "But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed
him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners
that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer
- Consider these words from Paul: "And we know that all things
work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called
according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)
Joseph Interprets Dreams
- Pharaoh's butler and baker were put into prison. These two servants
were put under the charge of Joseph while serving their sentence.
- While in prison these men each had dreams which Joseph, through the
power of God, accurately interpreted.
Two years later - two years - Pharaoh dreamed two dreams and sought
the interpretation. This was a total of 13 years after Joseph had been
sold into slavery. Did Joseph have patience?
- Joseph taught these men that "interpretations belong to God"
- The butler was shortly restored to the service of Pharaoh.
Pharaoh called the wise men and magicians of Egypt, but none could
interpret the dream.
- "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen
thine heart" (Psalms 27:14).
- DO WE HAVE THE PATIENCE OF JOSEPH?
WHAT DID PHARAOH DREAM?
- The butler then reported his experience with Joseph in prison two years
- Joseph was summoned and told Pharaoh that God would give him an answer.
WHAT WAS JOSEPH'S INTERPRETATION?
- Seven fat cows and seven lean cows (Gen. 40:1-4).
- Seven good ears of corn and seven thin ears (Gen. 40:5-7).
Pharaoh was pleased with Joseph and the interpretation and he elevated
Joseph to second in command in all Egypt (Gen. 40:37-43).
- Joseph after hearing of the dreams, then told Pharaoh that these dreams
represented seven years of plenty and seven of famine (Gen. 40:25-32).
- Joseph counseled Pharaoh about preparation for the years of famine
The Seeds of Righteousness:
HOW CAN WE FOLLOW JOSEPH'S EXAMPLE IN DEALING WITH OUR OWN CHALLENGES
HOW HAVE NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES IN YOUR LIFE LATER BEEN TURNED TO BLESSINGS?
Joseph was willing to abide by the law of the harvest. Planted seeds
to not grow and ripen overnight. They often take time as they did in the
life of Joseph. The eventual harvest put Joseph in a position to give great
service that would eventually result in the physical salvation of his own
The following account was sent to me by e-mail. I think it helps illustrate
an important principle that father Joseph lived by:
"It is important to know that God's promises of the ultimate
triumph of goodness and righteousness are valid. I would like to illustrate
this point with an analogy from football. I do this with a bit of an apology
to my colleagues who can't understand how someone who makes his living
teaching about poetry, music, and painting could be such a fanatic about
this slightly rough sport.
"A few years ago, before the time that all BYU games were televised
live, I landed at the Salt Lake airport just as a BYU "away"
game was concluding. I rushed around the terminal until I finally found
someone who could assure me that we had won, although by a very close score.
That evening, after returning to Provo, I went downstairs to watch the
replay of the game on KBYU. My demeanor was amazingly serene. When we fumbled
or had a pass intercepted, I hardly reacted. My wife could even let our
children get around me. Usually I feel obligated to help my brethren in
striped shirts by pointing out their errors in judgment. Because my seats
are on row 25, such correction often requires a rather high decibel level.
This loudness has carried over to watching football on television. But
on that day I remained absolutely calm, even when I had the benefit of
instant replay to verify my claim that their defensive back clearly arrived
early and that the ground had obviously caused our running back to lose
the ball. I was a veritable model of football decorum, never becoming unduly
upset or ill behaved.
"The cause of my improved behavior was obvious: I already knew
the outcome of the game--BYU would win. It is amazing how that knowledge
changes things: cornerbacks can get beat, running backs can fumble, linebackers
can miss tackles, offensive guards can blow blocking assignments, and other
things can go wrong. But when we know the final score, such things can
be endured and sometimes even ignored.
"We also know the final score for the history of this world
and for the life of the righteous. The Lord and his people will triumph.
It is true that the sorrows of this world and the strength of Satan's forces
will win a number of the skirmishes. I am reminded of a wonderful cartoon
that appeared in the New Yorker magazine many years ago. It depicts on
a baseball scoreboard the battle between the optimists and pessimists.
Each inning the pessimists are ahead, sometimes by rather large scores.
But at the end of the game, the score reads, "Optimists 1, Pessimists
0." So it is with the history of this world. Satan and his followers,
as well as the natural circumstances of mortal life, will inflict many
bruises and win many battles. But God, who knows the end from the beginning,
has promised that those who serve him will receive the fullness of his
blessings. When we realize that righteous living puts us on the winning
side, we can learn to trust him during trying times." (From BYU
Devotional Addresses--Entitled "Trusting God When Things Go Wrong",
by Todd A. Britsch. Brother Britsch is a BYU professor of humanities. This
devotional address was given on September 30, 1997 at the Marriott Center.)
Joseph Makes Himself Known To His Brothers and Forgives
- Joseph was a type of the Savior.
While ruling in Egypt, Joseph married Asenath, the daughter of a priest
of On (Gen. 41:45).
- Joseph rose from the depths without compromise, the rewards of righteousness
were realized, and God then put him in a place where he could bless the
lives of many. Consider the parallels to the Master (see Old Testament
Student Manual, p97):
- Joseph was the favored son of his father, as was Jesus.
- Joseph was rejected by his brothers, the Israelites, as was Jesus.
- Joseph was sold by his brothers into the hands of the Gentiles, as
- Judah, the head of the tribe of Judah, proposed the sale of Joseph.
Certain leaders of the Jews in Jesus' day turned Jesus over to the Romans.
Judas (the Greek spelling of Judah) was the one who actually sold Jesus.
- Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver, the price of a slave his
age. Christ was sold for thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave
- In their attempt to destroy Joseph, his brothers actually set up the
conditions that would bring about their eventual temporal salvation. Jeus,
by his being given into the hands of the Gentiles, was crucified and completed
the atoning sacrifice, become the Deliverer for all mankind.
- Joseph began his mission of preparing salvation for Israel at age thirty,
just as Jesus began his ministry of preparing salvation for the world at
- When Joseph was finally raised to his exalted position in Egypt, all
bowed the knee to him. All will eventually bow the knee to Jesus.
- Joseph provided bread for Israel and saved them from death, all without
cost. Jesus, the Bread of Life, did the same for all men.
Joseph directed the storage of food during the seven years of plenty.
When the famine deepened, Joseph sold from the storage that had been
- Prior to the famine Asenath bore two sons: Manasseh & Ephraim.
Upon arriving in Egypt, Joseph's brothers came and kneeled before Joseph
seeking to buy grain. They did not recognize Joseph (Gen. 42:6-24).
- The famine extended throughout that part of the world, including Canaan.
- When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt he sent his ten oldest
sons to buy grain. Benjamin remained home with Jacob (Gen. 42:1-4).
Upon their return to Canaan, they asked Jacob to let Benjamin return
with them to Egypt (Gen. 42:29-43:14).
- Joseph accused them of being spies.
- He sent them back to bring their youngest brother, Benjamin.
- The brothers were still feeling guilty about having sold Joseph into
slavery 20 years earlier. "We are verily guilty concerning our
brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and
we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us" (42:21).
- "And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake
unto them by an interpreter. And he turned himself about from them, and
- Simeon remained in Egypt as surety that they would return.
Back in Egypt, the brothers went to the house of Joseph. The sons of
Israel still did not recognize Joseph (Gen. 43:15-34).
- Jacob refused since he had already lost his beloved Joseph and now
Simeon was left behind in Egypt.
- He finally gave in when the famine became more sore.
- Judah said that he was willing to take full responsibility for Benjamin.
- It appears that that Joseph's brothers have matured since they sold
Joseph to the slave traders. Their guilt for that act was displayed in
Egypt. Now Judah, the one who led the brothers to sell Joseph, was willing
to take full responsibility for Benjamin's safe return.
Before Joseph's brothers left with their grain, he had a silver cup
planted in Benjamin's sack (Gen. 44:1-45:1).
- Joseph inquired of their father.
- When Joseph saw his brother "he entered into his chamber, and
wept there" (43:30).
- Benjamin was given special treatment.
READ GENESIS 45:1-10.
- Shortly after the departure of his brethren, guards were sent and out
searched the sacks of the eleven brothers and the cup was found in Benjamin's
- The sons of Israel were returned to the house of Joseph.
- Joseph ordered that Benjamin be left behind and that they bring their
father down to Egypt.
- They said about Benjamin: "The lad cannot leave his father:
for if he should leave his father, his father would die" (44:22).
- Judah plead for Benjamin and his father:
- "...when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will
die: and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our
father with sorrow to the grave" (44:31).
- Judah offered to stay behind in Benjamin's place.
- Again we see displayed the tremendous change of heart of Judah. Years
before he was concerned about his pride and selfish-ambitions and sold
his brother into slavery. Now he is more concerned about his father and
brother than he is his own life.
- The emotion of the moment was too much for Joseph. "Then Joseph
could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried"
WHAT IMPRESSES YOU MOST ABOUT JOSEPH'S FORGIVING HIS BROTHERS?
- The sons of Jacob returned home and brought their father down to Egypt.
- WHAT DOES THE WORLD TELL US TO DO WHEN SOMEONE HAS WRONGED US, AS JOSEPH'S
BROTHERS DID HIM?
- WHAT DOES THE LORD TELL US TO DO?
- READ D&C 64:8-11. We are to forgive all men.
- HOW CAN WE DEVELOP HEARTS THAT ARE MORE FORGIVING?
- As we understand the life of Joseph, we learn that no matter what adversities
we encounter, it is for our own blessing.
- Live worthy of the Spirit. We cannot have both the Spirit of God and
an unforgiving heart.
- HOW HAVE YOU BEEN BLESSED WHEN YOU HAVE DEALT KINDLY WITH OTHERS WHO
HAVE MISTREATED YOU?
Jacob Blesses His Sons & Grandsons
- Near the end of Jacob's life, Joseph brought his two sons to see their
grandfather (Genesis 48).
Ephraim and Manasseh were adopted by Jacob as if they were his own.
- Jacob asked for the boys and Joseph guided the first born, Manasseh,
to Jacob's right hand and Ephraim to the left.
- Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim and the
left on Manasseh.
- Joseph tried to lift his father's hands and correct the blessing.
- Jacob refused and gave Ephraim the birthright blessing.
- Joseph learned that it is God who gives the blessing.
In Genesis 49 Jacob blessed his twelve sons:
- They each received a share of the inheritance of Israel, thus Joseph
received two shares (Gen 48:22).
- Growing out of the birthright and inheritance Ephraim "was
to assume the leadership responsibilities for the House of Israel in the
last days." (McConkie, The Millennial Messiah, p.189)
- As Joseph gathered Israel for their temporal salvation in his day,
in the last days Ephraim will direct the latter-day temporal and spiritual
Genesis 49:33: "And when Jacob had made an end of commanding
his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost,
and was gathered unto his people."
- The blessing to Judah was that he would be the forebear of the Messiah.
- The reference to Shiloh in verse 10 is that of the Messiah or Jesus
- With the exception of the blessing to Judah about the Messiah, that
to Joseph transcended all others.
- V22: Joseph's posterity would be numerous, "a fruitful bough".
- V22: Some of his posterity would go to other lands, "branches
to run over the wall".
- V23-24: In spite of persecution, he would be strengthened by the Lord.
- V25: He would receive great spiritual and temporal blessings.
- V26: His blessings would be greater than those of his forefathers.
After Jacob died, Joseph brethren feared that he might take revenge
- Jacob's body was embalmed and taken back to Canaan where it was buried.
- READ GENESIS 50:15-21.
- We learn once again about the greatness of Joseph.
Throughout his many trials, Joseph remained faithful. He even forgave
his brothers for selling him into slavery. Because of his righteousness,
Joseph received great blessings. If we are faithful, like Joseph, God will
bless us by making all things work together for out good.
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Changes last made on: Mon Mar 16 1998