Joseph Forgives (Genesis 42-45)

Joseph’s journey is nothing short of incredible, filled with dreams, unexpected turns, and ultimately grace. In “Joseph Forgives (Genesis 42-45),” the story unfolds with Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his own brothers, ascending to incredible heights in Egypt by interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams and then skillfully managing a severe famine.

In this heartwarming tale, you’ll see how Joseph tests his brothers when they come to Egypt in search of food, leading up to a dramatic and emotional reunion. Joseph’s unwavering faith and his ability to forgive those who wronged him demonstrate a powerful message of grace and reconciliation. Enjoy this touching account brought to life by Saddleback Kids.

Background of Joseph

Joseph’s Birth and Family

You might have heard of Joseph, whose life is a remarkable story from the Bible. Joseph was born to Israel (also known as Jacob) and Rachel. He was the eleventh of twelve sons, and his family dynamics were quite complex. Rachel was Jacob’s favorite wife, which already set Joseph apart in the family. This special status made relationships with his half-brothers tumultuous and filled with jealousy.

The Favoritism of Israel

Israel’s favoritism towards Joseph was blatantly obvious. He even gifted Joseph a richly ornamented coat, often referred to as the “coat of many colors.” This symbol of favoritism didn’t sit well with Joseph’s brothers and sowed seeds of envy. The coat was a constant reminder that Joseph was the beloved son, making daily interactions increasingly strained.

Joseph’s Dreams and Their Impact

Joseph was also a dreamer, and the dreams he had were significant. In one of his dreams, he and his brothers were binding sheaves of grain when suddenly his sheaf rose and stood upright while their sheaves gathered around and bowed down to his. In another dream, the sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed to him. Sharing these dreams with his already resentful brothers and even his father, only escalated the tension. The dreams suggested that he would one day rule over his family, contributing to the growing animosity between them.

Joseph’s Betrayal and Journey to Egypt

The Brothers’ Jealousy

The jealousy harbored by Joseph’s brothers turned dangerous. They resented the preferential treatment and were infuriated by his dreams, which hinted at his future superiority over them. The cumulative effect of their envy and hatred led them to contemplate drastic measures.

Joseph Sold into Slavery

One day, when Joseph was sent by his father to check on his brothers in the fields, they saw an opportunity to rid themselves of him. They initially considered killing him but instead decided to strip him of his colorful coat and throw him into an empty cistern. In a cruel twist of fate, they sold him to a caravan of Ishmaelites heading to Egypt. They then deceived their father by dipping Joseph’s coat in goat’s blood, leading him to believe that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal.

Joseph’s Life in Potiphar’s House

In Egypt, Joseph was sold to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials and the captain of the guard. Despite being a slave, Joseph’s integrity and diligence gained him favor in Potiphar’s eyes, and he was put in charge of Potiphar’s household. However, his good fortune took a turn for the worse when Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him of trying to seduce her, leading to his imprisonment.

Joseph’s Imprisonment

Life in prison could have been the end of Joseph’s story, but it became a turning point. Even in prison, Joseph found favor with the warden and was put in charge of the other prisoners. He continued to interpret dreams, accurately predicting the fates of Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer and chief baker. His ability to interpret dreams would soon catapult him to a position of immense power.

Rise to Power in Egypt

Interpreting Pharaoh’s Dreams

Joseph’s reputation as an interpreter of dreams reached Pharaoh, who was troubled by his own dreams. Pharaoh’s dreams involved seven healthy cows and seven thin, ugly cows, as well as seven heads of healthy grain and seven thin, scorched heads of grain. Called from the dungeon, Joseph interpreted the dreams to signify seven years of abundance followed by seven years of severe famine. He suggested that Pharaoh should prepare by storing surplus grain during the years of abundance.

Joseph’s Promotion

Impressed by Joseph’s wisdom and the clarity of his interpretations, Pharaoh appointed him as the second-in-command over Egypt. Joseph was in charge of managing the preparation for the upcoming famine. This meteoric rise from prisoner to the most powerful man in Egypt, next to Pharaoh, was a testament to Joseph’s God-given talents and his resilient spirit.

Preparation for the Famine

Joseph’s strategic mind quickly went to work. He organized the storage of surplus grain during the seven years of abundance. Massive storehouses were built, and grain was saved in vast quantities. His forward-thinking ensured Egypt would be the sole nation prepared to face the looming crisis of famine.

Joseph Forgives (Genesis 42-45)

Famine in the Land

Seven Years of Abundance

During the years of abundance, Joseph’s plans were executed flawlessly. The land produced plentifully, and the grain was stored in cities across Egypt. The surplus was so vast that they eventually stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.

The Onset of Famine

Just as Joseph had prophesied, the years of bounty were followed by severe famine. This famine wasn’t just in Egypt but spread to surrounding nations, all of which were unprepared. As the famine worsened, people from all over began to come to Egypt to buy grain.

Egypt as a Food Source

Thanks to Joseph’s foresight, Egypt became the lifeline for many nations. As people from various lands came seeking food, Joseph’s position of power and his influence grew stronger. His earlier trials and tribulations had prepared him for this moment where he could save not just Egypt but his own family as well.

First Visit of Joseph’s Brothers

Israel Sends His Sons to Egypt

The famine also struck Canaan, where Joseph’s family lived. Hearing that there was grain in Egypt, Israel sent his sons to buy some, keeping Benjamin, Joseph’s only full brother, at home due to fear for his safety. The brothers arrived in Egypt and were directed to Joseph, who was in charge of grain distribution.

Joseph Recognizes His Brothers

Upon seeing his brothers, Joseph recognized them immediately, even though they did not recognize him. His heart must have been in turmoil, seeing his brothers after so many years. Choosing to conceal his identity, Joseph decided to test them to see if they had changed.

Joseph’s Accusations and Tests

Joseph accused his brothers of being spies and put them through a series of tests. He imprisoned them for three days and then told them to bring Benjamin back to prove their honesty. To ensure compliance, he kept Simeon as a hostage and sent the others back with grain and their money secretly returned in their sacks. The brothers were terrified, believing their past sins were catching up with them.

Benjamin’s Involvement

Israel’s Reluctance to Send Benjamin

Back in Canaan, the famine persisted, and the grain from Egypt ran out. Israel was reluctant to send Benjamin to Egypt despite the dire need for more food. However, the situation left him with no choice, and with great reluctance and heavy heart, he allowed Benjamin to go with his brothers.

The Brothers Return to Egypt

Upon returning to Egypt with Benjamin, Joseph’s emotions were deeply stirred. He hosted a banquet for them, seating them in their birth order, to the astonishment of his brothers. He treated Benjamin with special favor, giving him extra portions of food. But his final test was yet to come.

Joseph’s Hidden Cup Trick

Joseph instructed his steward to fill the brothers’ sacks with food and secretly place his silver cup in Benjamin’s sack. After they left, Joseph sent his steward to confront them about the “stolen” cup. When it was found in Benjamin’s possession, the brothers returned to Joseph’s house, distressed and anxious about their fate. This trick was aimed at seeing if the brothers would abandon Benjamin as they had once abandoned him.

Revelation of Joseph’s Identity

Joseph’s Emotional Struggle

Joseph struggled with strong emotions as he interacted with his brothers. Seeing their remorse and their willingness to protect Benjamin moved him deeply. It took immense self-control to maintain his composure during these interactions.

Joseph Reveals Himself

Finally, Joseph could no longer contain his emotions. He ordered everyone except his brothers to leave the room, and then he revealed his true identity to them. This moment was fraught with emotion as the brothers stood in shock, unable to comprehend that the powerful Egyptian official was their brother, whom they had sold into slavery years ago.

Reaction of the Brothers

The brothers were terrified and speechless. They were likely expecting retribution for their past actions. However, Joseph’s next words were unexpected. Instead of anger and punishment, they were met with forgiveness and reassurance.

Joseph Forgives His Brothers

Expression of Forgiveness

Joseph’s forgiveness was heartfelt and genuine. He embraced his brothers and wept with them. He reassured them that he harbored no grudge against them, recognizing that their actions, though intended for evil, were used by God for a greater purpose.

Explaining God’s Plan

Joseph explained to his brothers that it was God’s plan to have him in Egypt to save many lives, including their own, during the famine. He emphasized that God’s divine plan had worked through their mistakes and transgressions to bring about a greater good.

Reconciliation and Renewal of Family Ties

The reconciliation was a healing moment for Joseph and his brothers. Old wounds were addressed, and family ties were renewed. Joseph invited his entire family to come to Egypt, promising to take care of them during the remaining years of famine.

The Reunion with Israel

The Brothers Return to Canaan

The brothers returned to Canaan with the astonishing news that Joseph was alive and held a powerful position in Egypt. They relayed Joseph’s invitation for the entire family to move to Egypt, where they would be cared for during the ongoing famine.

Israel Learns the Truth

Israel was initially incredulous but overwhelmed with joy and relief upon learning the truth. The realization that Joseph was not only alive but thriving was a profound moment for him.

The Journey to Egypt

Israel, along with his entire family and all their possessions, journeyed to Egypt as Joseph had requested. This migration marked the beginning of a significant new chapter for the family, ensuring their survival through the famine and reuniting them with Joseph.


Lessons on Forgiveness

Joseph’s story teaches powerful lessons about forgiveness. Despite the deep betrayal by his brothers, Joseph chose to forgive them, showing that true forgiveness can heal and restore relationships.

Understanding Divine Providence

Joseph’s ability to see God’s hand in his life’s events is a testament to the concept of divine providence. His story illustrates how God can turn even the most challenging and painful circumstances into opportunities for growth and blessings.

The Legacy of Joseph’s Story

Joseph’s legacy is one of resilience, wisdom, and faith. His journey from favored son to slave to ruler of Egypt showcases a life full of divine purpose and incredible resilience. His story continues to inspire many to trust in divine guidance and the power of forgiveness.

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