Jacob loved his wife Rachel very much. Their oldest son was named Joseph (Genesis 30:23-24). Jacob and Rachel had one other son who was named Benjamin; but when Rachel gave birth to him, she died.

Jacob had other children by other wives, because in those days it was all right for men to have more than one wife. Jacob had twelve sons with all of his wives.

Jacob loved Joseph more than all of his other children because he was the son of his old age. Joseph's brothers disliked him because he was the favorite child. Jacob wanted to show Joseph how much he loved him so he made him a very special coat. The coat had many bright colors. Joseph's brothers knew that their father loved Joseph more than them but the coat showed just how special Joseph was to Jacob, and this made them dislike Joseph even more (Genesis 37:3).

One time Joseph had a dream about becoming a very important person (Genesis 37:5-10). Because of the dream, Joseph's brothers hated him even more.


Jacob had a lot of sheep and his sons were in charge of caring for them. Sheep eat a lot of grass so it takes a lot of room for them to feed. This meant that Jacob's sons had to move the sheep around so they could have enough grass.

One day when Joseph's brothers were gone for a few days, Jacob was beginning to worry about where his sons were. He was afraid that something might have happened to them. Joseph told his father he would go look for them, but Jacob didn't want him to go because he was only seventeen. Joseph assured him that he could take care of himself, so finally Jacob did let him go.

When Joseph's brothers saw him coming they decided this would be a good time to do something to him. Most of Joseph's brothers agreed together to kill him. They were afraid Joseph's dreams would come true.

When Reuben, the oldest one of Joseph's brothers, heard about what they were planning to do to Joseph, he told them not to kill him but to throw him into one of the pits in the field. Reuben thought that if they put him into a pit he would be able to go back later and get him out. He knew that if they killed Joseph it would hurt their father, Jacob, too much. So they put him in a deep pit where he had no food or water (Genesis 37:24).

joseph2 While they sat down to eat, they saw some Ishmaelites coming. Ishmaelites were traveling (or roaming) businessmen who made their living in trading. They decided to sell Joseph to them (Genesis 37:25-27). The Ishmaelites paid twenty pieces of silver for him and they took Joseph to Egypt to be sold for a slave (Genesis 37:28).

When Reuben returned to the pit to get Joseph he found the pit empty (Genesis 37:29). Reuben went to his brothers to tell them Joseph was gone. When they told Reuben what they had done they knew they would have to have an explanation for Jacob. They killed a goat and took Joseph's coat, the one with all the colors, and put the coat in the blood of the goat. They took the bloody coat to their father and showed it to him. Jacob figured his son was dead and he thought that some wild animal had killed him (Genesis 37:33). Jacob was so unhappy that he wanted to die (Genesis 37:35).

Joseph was sold in Egypt as a slave to a man named Potiphar who was an officer of the king of Egypt who was called the Pharaoh.

Potiphar put Joseph to work in his house doing all kinds of work. After a while, Potiphar noticed that he was more capable and trustworthy than any of his other servants. That was because Joseph followed Yahweh's laws and did what Yahweh wanted him to. Yahweh also gave Joseph favor with people because Yahweh had a plan for him.

Things went well for Joseph until Potiphar's wife began to like Joseph as much as her husband. Joseph knew this shouldn't be, and he told her so (Genesis 39:7-8). This made her so mad that she snatched off Joseph's jacket as he was leaving the house. She told her servants that Joseph had been very insulting to her, and when she cried out he ran out without his jacket. Later she told her husband the same untrue story. Potiphar was very angry. He ordered his soldiers to put Joseph in the king's prison (Genesis 39:12-20).

As time went on the man in charge of the prison noticed that Joseph was unusually obedient to all the rules, and that he was an intelligent person who helped to keep order there (Genesis 39:21-23). He soon put Joseph in charge of everything in the prison.

One time Pharaoh had some dreams that he didn't understand and someone told him that Joseph could tell him what his dreams meant. Pharaoh had Joseph brought out of prison. Joseph told Pharaoh that he could only tell him what his dreams meant with Yahweh's help. Joseph then told Pharaoh about two other dreams he had had. Joseph told him that Pharaoh's dreams meant that there were going to be seven years of a good grain harvest. There would be far more food than people would be able to eat. He said that after those seven years of good crops there would be seven years of famine in the land. Joseph told Pharaoh they should use the good years to store up as much grain as they could, so that when the lean years came, they would have a lot of food and if it was distributed properly, everyone would have enough food. He said Pharaoh should pick a wise man to be sure everything gets done right (Genesis 41:33-36).

Pharaoh said, "I believe this young Hebrew is being guided by his Elohim. If he speaks the truth, it would be foolish not to take his advice. What wiser man than Joseph could I pick for this job?"

Pharaoh told Joseph, "Because your Elohim has given you great abilities; from now on you will be the ruler over my house and all of Egypt. Your word will be the law in all my realm; but I will still be king over you," Genesis 41:39-41.

Pharaoh then gave Joseph his own ring and some fine clothing and a gold chain for his neck. Pharaoh also gave Joseph a chariot to ride in and made him ruler over all of Egypt (Genesis 41:42-43). Pharaoh also gave Joseph a wife named Asenath (Genesis 41:45). Joseph was thirty years old when he was given all this.

For a long time after that, when Joseph traveled around Egypt, he saw wonderful crops and many fat herds. It was clear Yahweh was carrying out His plan with great abundance from the ground.


Most of Egypt was usually dry, sandy desert. Without water from the great Nile River, that land never would produce very much. But during those seven years of plenty there was so much rain that even areas far from the Nile produced wonderful, big crops.

Before long the grain began to pile up. Joseph gave orders for storage granaries to be built in various places around Egypt, and when those granaries were filled he ordered more to be built. So much grain was stored in seven years that they gave up keeping records on how much was stored up (Genesis 41:47-48).

Meanwhile Joseph became the father of two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 41:50).

The seven good years passed. The next year there was a change in the weather. It stopped raining and the green fields turned yellow. The time of the famine had arrived.

Before long, farmers in some regions began to run out of food for their animals and food for themselves.

The people went to Pharaoh to get grain and Pharaoh told them to go and see Joseph. Joseph ordered the storehouses opened and he sold the food to the people. The famine wasn't only in Egypt, lack of rain affected many other nearby nations. Before long other people were begging the Egyptians to sell them grain and meat. Joseph gave orders that provisions should be sold to all outsiders who were in dire need (Genesis 41:55-57). Joseph didn't turn anyone away that needed food.

Before continuing with Joseph, Part 2, let's color some pictures, do a crossword puzzle and take a Quiz to see what you learned.

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Caring for lots of sheep is tough, don't you think?



Joseph - A Crossword Puzzle




3. Joseph was put here because of Potiphar's wife (Genesis 39:20).
5. Pharaoh made Joseph a ruler in this country (Genesis 41:41).
7. People to whom Joseph was sold as a slave (Genesis 37:27).
8. Joseph's father gave him a coat of these (Genesis 37:3).
9. One of the men Pharaoh had imprisoned from his court (Genesis 40:2).
10. Item found in Benjamin's sack (Genesis 44:2).
13. Joseph's first-born son (Genesis 41:51).
14. Brother who intended to rescue Joseph from the pit (Genesis 37:22).


1. Joseph found favor with Pharaoh because he could interpret these (Genesis 41:15).
2. Officer of Pharaoh who bought Joseph (Genesis 37:36).
4. The other man Pharaoh imprisoned from his court (Genesis 40:2 [KJV]).
5. Jacob's greater blessing went to this son of Joseph (Genesis 48:20).
6. Joseph's favorite brother (Genesis 43:29-30).
11. Joseph's brothers came to Egypt to buy this grain (Genesis 42:3 [KJV]).
12. Joseph's first dream was about this (Genesis 37:7).

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QUIZ - What have you learned?

This is a "thinking" quiz. Some of the questions could have different answers and that is why it is very important to think about the question before answering it and then have your Mom or Dad review it with you.


  1. What was the name of the wife Jacob loved more?
  2. What was the name of the son Jacob loved?
  3. What did Jacob make for his favorite son?
  4. Did Joseph's brothers like him?
  5. What did Joseph's brothers do to him?
  6. How many sons did Jacob have?
  7. What did Joseph's brothers do to his coat?
  8. What was Joseph's little brother's name?
  9. Did Pharaoh like Joseph?
  10. Was Joseph put in prison?




Seven Fat Years - Seven Lean Years

Memory verse: Genesis 41:25:

"And Joseph said to Pharaoh,
'The dream of Pharaoh
is one: what Elohim is about to
do he has declared to Pharaoh.'"

Now, you can click here to go to Lesson 2.



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