Joseph was the favorite son of his father, Jacob. Joseph’s brothers were not very good and did bad things; things which Joseph told his father.
When Joseph was seventeen, his father gave him a coat of many colors. This was a visible sign of his favoritism. Jacob’s other sons were angered by this. In fact, they were so mad they could not say anything nice to Joseph.
To top it off, Joseph had two dreams which he revealed to his family. The first dream showed he would rule over his brothers. The second one was about him ruling over all his family. The older brothers could not see how this was possible and envied him.
One day when Joseph went out to check on his brothers in the field, as they were keeping sheep, they determined to hurt him. At first they thought of killing him, but the oldest, Reuben, talked them into throwing Joseph into a pit.
When Reuben was away, the other brothers saw a group of Midianite traders. They bought and sold things, including people. Judah convinced the other brothers to sell Joseph into slavery and make some money. When Reuben returned, he saw Joseph was gone and was very upset.
To cover up their sin, the brothers of Joseph took his coat of colors and dipped it in goat’s blood. When they showed the coat to their father, they asked if it was Joseph’s. Jacob assumed Joseph had been killed by a wild beast. In effect, what the brothers did was lie to their father. They knew Joseph was not killed by an animal, but that is what they wanted the father to believe.
The Midianite traders sold Joseph to an Egyptian named Potiphar. He was the captain of Pharaoh’s military and police force. Because of this, Potiphar was a powerful and wealthy man.
Over time, Potiphar noticed Joseph was a good worker and made things better. So, Joseph was elevated to the top and ran Potiphar’s house. The only thing he knew about was the food set in front of him when he ate. This shows us that in spite of Joseph’s mistreatment, he still did the best he could and, as a result, God blessed him.
Joseph’s master, Potiphar, had an evil wife. She wanted Joseph to commit sin. However, Joseph resisted. This angered Potiphar’s wife and she told a lie to get Joseph in trouble. When Potiphar heard the lie his wife told, he threw Joseph in prison. Still, Joseph was not bitter against God, but did the best he could.
Lessons To Consider
1. When we show favoritism in the family, it angers the others. We need to love all our family equally. What are some ways we can do this?
2. What should we do if we start feeling jealous of a brother, sister, or friend?
3. Joseph’s brothers were either going to kill him or sell him as a slave. Which do you think Joseph preferred? (Think about what happens to him later).
4. How old was Joseph when he was sold as a slave? Do you think it would be difficult for someone his age to be carried away into a strange land?
5. Joseph’s brothers lied to their father. How did they lie to him?
6. Joseph had a good attitude when he labored for Potiphar. Why might it be hard to do good in his situation? What would many people do?
7. Potiphar’s wife told a lie on Joseph and got him in trouble. Would it hurt you if someone told a lie on you? Should you lie about others when you are angry at them? Why?
8. Where was Joseph sent because of the lie told against him? What type of attitude did he have? Do you want to be like this?