Back in Canaan, where Joseph's father and brothers lived, they too were suffering from the famine. Jacob, Joseph's father, told his sons that he heard that there was food in Egypt. Jacob sent ten of his sons to Egypt to buy grain. Because Jacob had lost one of his sons when he sent him on a trip, he would not send his youngest son, Benjamin, with the others (Genesis 42:4). When they went down to Egypt they had no idea that it was their brother Joseph they would have to see to buy food.


Joseph knew them as soon as they came before him. When they bowed down to him he remember the dream he had a long time ago when he was young (Genesis 42:6).


Joseph wanted to welcome them and tell them who he was, and how much he had missed his father Instead, Joseph decided to test them to see if they still had hatred in their hearts He said, "You say you have come from Canaan for food, but I think you are spies!"

They quickly replied, "We are not spies! We are the sons of an elderly man who needs food. Our father had twelve sons. The youngest son stayed back with him and the other one has died" (Genesis 42:9-13).

Joseph wanted to ask about Benjamin and his father but he knew that if he did they would know who he was.

Joseph told them he still didn't believe them, so he put his brothers in prison for three days. After three days he went to them to let them out. Then he had remembered that it was Simeon who had suggested to kill him. He told them that Simeon would have to stay in prison, but the others could go back home. Joseph told them if they wanted to get Simeon out of prison they would have to bring their younger brother Benjamin back with them to prove they were not spies. They didn't speak the same language that Joseph did so they didn't know Joseph could understand them. They said to one another that because of the way that they had treated Joseph when he was younger Yahweh was causing this governor to deal so hard with them.

Reuben said, "I told you not to deal so hard with Joseph but you wouldn't listen to me." Joseph could understand them and it made him cry, so he turned so they would not see him crying.

Joseph commanded their sacks be filled with grain, and to put their money they paid for the grain back in their sacks. When they got home they told their father all that had happened to them. They told Jacob that if he wanted Simeon out of prison they would have to bring Benjamin back with them. Jacob told them there was no way he would let Benjamin go back with them. He said the he had already lost one son because he let him go on a trip. Jacob said that if anything happened to Benjamin he would die of sorrow.pack_mules

As the months passed the famine got worse. The food supply that was brought back from Egypt became so low that Jacob had to tell his sons to go back to Egypt to buy more (Genesis 43:8-9).

Judah told Jacob that if they went back to Egypt without Benjamin they would be put back in prison, because they would be called spies. Judah told Jacob that if he would let them take Benjamin with them he would be very careful and would be responsible for him. Because they needed food desperately and because Judah promised he would be safe, Jacob let them take Benjamin to Egypt with them.

When Joseph saw that they had returned with Benjamin he was very happy to see them. It was hard for him to keep from doing as he wanted and just running up to his younger brother Benjamin and hugging him. Joseph told his servants to take the men to his house and to make a very special meal for them (Genesis 43:16). Joseph's brothers were afraid because they thought that they would be put in prison again for stealing the money from the first time they had come to buy grain and had found their money in the sacks later. Joseph was so happy to see Benjamin that he almost cried in front of him. Joseph had to go to another room so they would not see him crying. Joseph wanted Benjamin to stay with him, but Judah told Joseph about how their father wouldn't let him stay because he was so upset when Joseph was gone that he just could not take the loss of another son that he loved so much.

Joseph just could not take it any longer and he told his brothers who he was. He then hugged Benjamin and told his other brothers he was the brother they had put in the pit and later sold. He hugged all of his brothers and spent a long time talking with them about their family and their home.

When they were ready to go Joseph told his servants to fill the men's bags with food as much as they could carry.

When Pharaoh heard about Joseph's brothers he wanted to help Joseph because Pharaoh had a lot of respect for Joseph. Joseph's wisdom had saved many Egyptians from dying from the famine. Pharaoh told Joseph to send wagons to bring his family to Egypt to live with him.

When Jacob saw his sons coming and there were eleven of them he was so happy, he said, "If only Joseph was here!"

They told Jacob all that had happened and that Joseph was the governor in Egypt and that he wanted them all to go there to live. Jacob was very happy to hear it.

Jacob was concerned about going to Egypt; but Yahweh told Jacob in a vision that He would be with him and would bring him back out again (Genesis 46:1-4). When they went to Egypt there were seventy people in Jacob's family.

The famine grew worse. The ones that had lived luxuriously before were the first to feel the famine. People began begging for grain. The only way they could pay for it was to turn their land over to Pharaoh, who soon became the world's wealthiest landlord. The famine lasted seven years, just as Yahweh had said.


When the famine was over Joseph told them that because Pharaoh owns your land, he will give you seed for starting new crops and then one fifth of the crop will belong to Pharaoh. The people considered this fair.

Jacob lived seventeen years after he came to Egypt. His children's families increased greatly in numbers. Because Yahweh had given Jacob the name of Israel, Jacob's descendants were called Israelites, a nation that developed inside of Egypt.

Jacob was very old and thought his time to die was near. Jacob called for his son Joseph, and asked him to bring his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh with him.

Jacob told Joseph that a long time ago Yahweh had told him that he would be the father of a great nation. And his children will be given the land of Canaan. Jacob said he wanted to adopt Joseph's sons as part Egyptians. Joseph agreed to all of this.

Jacob hugged his grandsons and placed his left hand on Manasseh's head and his right hand he placed on Ephraim's head. Jacob then asked Yahweh to cause mighty nations to come from each of the boys (Genesis 48:14-19).

Let's do some activities and take a Quiz to see what you learned before going to the next lesson!

* * * * * * * * * * * *


The following is a "stack-a-word" puzzle. Jacob had twelve sons. First figure out all of their names by filling in the blanks and then fit their names where they belong in the puzzle.

_ E U _ _ _ S _ _ E O _ _ _ B U L _ _ _ _ _ E P H
L E _ _ _ _ D _ H D _ _ N _ _ H T _ _ I
_ _ D A _ _ E _ _ S S _ C _ _ _ B _ _ J _ _ _ N


How did you do on the puzzle? It can be pretty tricky!
You can print out the pictures in the story and also the ones below to color.


Who do you think these fellows are? What do you think is being said or talked about in the picture?


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. Did Joseph believe his brothers were spies?
  2. Why did Joseph's brothers go to Egypt?
  3. Why did Joseph almost cry when he saw Benjamin?
  4. Did Joseph forgive his brothers fo what they did to him?
  5. When Pharaoh heard about Joseph's brothers, did he want to help?
  6. Did Joseph want his family to come to Egypt?
  7. Did Joseph's brothers tell Jacob what they did to Joseph?
  8. How did the Egyptians pay for the grain?
  9. When the famine was over, what did the Egyptians have to give Pharaoh?
  10. What did Jacob say about Joseph's sons?



Joseph sees his brother Benjamin for the first time in years. How do you think he felt?

Memory verse: Genesis 49:1

"Then Jacob called for his
sons and said: 'Gather around
so I can tell you what will
happen to you in
days to come.'"

Now, click here to go to Lesson 3.



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