Teacher Notes

Bible Stories for Adults

Joseph Grows Up

Genesis 37-41

Welcome and Announcements
    Next Week - Joseph Forgives His Brothers (Genesis 42-50)
    Bible Words to Remember:
      We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Opening Prayer

The Favorite Son (Genesis 37:3)
    How many sons did Jacob have? = Leah - 6, Rachel - 2, Bilhah - 2, Zilpah - 2
      Genesis 35:22b-26 = 12 (became tribes of Israel)
    Why did Jacob have so many sons? = L&J got their maids into the competition
      Genesis 29:31; 30:1-3, 9, 22-24 = Leah & Rachel had jealous competition
    Who was Jacob's favorite son and why? = special tunic reached to palms & soles
      Genesis 37:3 = Joseph, because he had been born to him in his old age
    What was likely another reason?
      Genesis 29:30 = Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah

Brotherly Love? (Genesis 37:2-5)
    How did Joseph's brothers feel about Joseph and why?
      Genesis 37:4 = They hated him because Jacob loved him more
    How was the brothers' feelings about Joseph reinforced?
      Genesis 37:2 = Joseph brought a bad report about them to Jacob
    What even further deepened the brothers' attitudes toward Joseph?
      Genesis 37:5 = A dream that Joseph had

Canaan Dreamin' (Genesis 37:6-11)
    What was Joseph's dream?
      Genesis 37:6-7 = Brothers' sheaves of grain bowed to Joseph's sheaf
    Why did the brothers hate him for dreaming of bowing grain? = no special interpretation needed
      Genesis 37:8 = They understood its meaning that they would be ruled by Joseph
    Did Joseph keep his dreams to himself after this? = double dreams meant certainty of fulfillment
      Genesis 37:9 = No, had another of stars, etc. bowing to him
    Did Jacob stand up for Joseph in front of his brothers?
      Genesis 37:10-11 = No, Jacob scolded him as well

Joseph's Travels (Genesis 37:12-24)
    Did Jacob try to keep Joseph away from his jealous brothers?
      Genesis 37:12-14b = No, he sent Joseph to check up on them at Shechem
    Where did Joseph go to find his brothers? Why? = Show on map
      Genesis 37:14c-17 = Hebron to Shechem (60m) to Dothan (15m); See if all is well

    What did Joseph's brothers think when they saw Joseph coming?
      Genesis 37:18-20 = Plotted to kill him; Then we'll see what comes of his dreams
    Who came to Joseph's rescue? Why?
      Genesis 37:21-24 = Reuben; To take him back to his father (he was oldest brother)

Family Business (Genesis 37:25-35)
    How was this plan changed? Why? = 2/3 of rate for adult slave (standard for youth)
      Genesis 37:25-28 (Lev 27:5; Ex 21:32) = Sold him for 8 ounces of silver (<$30)
    How was this explained to Jacob?
      Genesis 37:29-32 = They said he had been eaten by a ferocious animal
    How did Jacob respond to his loss?
      Genesis 37:33-35 = In mourning will I go down to the grave to my son

Potiphar's Wife (Genesis 39)
    Where was Joseph taken?
      Genesis 39:1 = To Egypt, sold to Potiphar, captain of Pharaoh's guard
    How did God remember Joseph in Egypt? = States 5 times that the Lord caused Joseph's success
      Genesis 39:2-6a = Blessed Joseph & household with success, Joseph put in charge
    Why did Potiphar have to concern himself with the food he ate?
      Genesis 43:32 = Detestable to Egyptians to eat with Hebrews

    What threatened Joseph's position and how did he respond?
      Genesis 39:6b-10 = Potiphar's wife wanted Joseph, he refused to sin against God
    How did Potiphar's wife respond to Joseph's rejection?
      Genesis 39:11-18 = She accused Joseph of trying to rape her

    How did Potiphar respond to the accusation?
      Genesis 39:19-20a = Threw Joseph in the king's prison (light punishment)
    How did God remember Joseph in prison?
      Genesis 39:20b-23 = Blessed Joseph with success, Joseph put in charge

The Cupbearer and the Baker (Genesis 40)
    Who did God bring to Joseph while he was in prison?
      Genesis 40:1-5 = Pharaoh's cupbearer and baker, highly ranked & trusted
    How would they be able to find the meanings behind these dreams?
      Genesis 40:6-8 = Don't interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.
      Daniel 2:28, 47; 4:18 = God alone knows the future & reveals meanings of dreams

    What was the meaning of the cupbearer's dream?
      Genesis 40:9-13 = After 3 days, the cupbearer would return to his job
    What was the purpose of the cupbearer's dream?
      Genesis 40:14-15 = Work for Pharaoh & prepare path for Joseph's release
    What was the meaning of the baker's dream?
      Genesis 40:16-19 = After 3 days, the baker would be hanged
    Were Joseph's interpretations correct?
      Genesis 40:20-22 = Yes, just as Joseph had said
    Did the cupbearer fulfill the purpose of his dream and work for Joseph's release?
      Genesis 40:23 = No, he forgot him

Pharaoh's Dreams (Genesis 41:1-39)
    How much longer did Joseph remain in prison before the story continues?
      Genesis 41:1a (Psalm 105:16-22) = Two full years (Until God's time was right)
    What was Pharaoh's dream?
      Genesis 41:1b-4 = 7 fat cows eaten by 7 scrawny cows
    What happened when Pharaoh tried to go back to sleep? = east wind - from across hot, dry desert
      Genesis 41:5-7 = Dreamt again, 7 full grain heads eaten by 7 thin grain heads

    Who was able to interpret the dreams for Pharaoh?
      Genesis 41:8 = No one, none of Egypt's magicians or wise men
    Who was finally cured of amnesia?
      Genesis 41:9-13 = The chief cupbearer told Pharaoh of Joseph
    Would Joseph be able to interpret Pharaoh's dreams? = Egyptians were clean shaven
      Genesis 41:14-16 = I cannot do it, but God will give Pharaoh the answer
    How was this later paralleled before Pharaoh?
      Exodus 7:10-12 = Aaron's rod eats rods of Egypt's magicians
    What is the message behind these two stories?
      Exodus 8:17-19 = God's power is greater than that of man's & Satan's

    What did the dreams mean? = God not only explains the dreams, but gave them to reveal His plan
      Genesis 41:17-32 = God will bring 7 years of plenty, then 7 years of famine
    What did Joseph recommend to Pharaoh?
      Genesis 41:33-36 = Appoint someone to store 20% during plenty for use during famine
    Who did Pharaoh find for this task? Why?
      Genesis 41:37-39 = Joseph, Since God has made you ... discerning & wise

Zaphenath-Paneah in Charge - Again (Genesis 41:40-57)
    How much power did Pharaoh give Joseph?
      Genesis 41:40-43 = Second only to Pharaoh
    How old was Joseph at this time?
      Genesis 41:44-46 = Only 30 years old
    What did Joseph name his children? Why? = fruitful also recalls Joseph's job as food administrator
      Genesis 41:50-52 = Manasseh (God made me forget), Ephraim (God made me twice fruitful)

    What did Joseph do during the 7 years of abundance?
      Genesis 41:47-49 = Collected so much grain he couldn't count it
    What did Joseph do during the 7 years of famine?
      Genesis 41:53-56 = Sold grain to the Egyptians from the storehouses
    How did God use Joseph to bless the nations of the world?
      Genesis 41:57 = All the countries came to Egypt to buy grain

Closing Prayer

Charles Spurgeon on God's Providence
    I believe that it is in the little things that we can see God. I want you to notice how little circumstances of daily life, when we put them all together, evidently betray their origin.

    When Joseph was sent into Egypt by his brothers, in order to provide for them against a day of famine, we all agree with Joseph's declaration, "It was God that sent me hither." But now, if we notice each of the little ways through which this great result was brought to pass, we shall see God in each of them.

    One day, Joseph's brothers are out with the sheep; Jacob wants to send to them. Why does he send Joseph? He was his darling son; he loved him better than all his brothers. Why does he send him away?

    Joseph goes; his brothers are in want of pasture, and therefore leave Shechem, where Joseph expected to find them, and journey on to Dothan. Why go to Dothan? Was not the whole land before them? However, Joseph goes there; he arrives at Dothan just when they are thinking of him and his dreams, and they put him in a pit.

    As they are about to eat bread, some Ishmaelites came by. Why did they come there at all? Why did they come at that particular time? Why were they going to Egypt? Why might they not have been going any other way? Why was it that the Ishmaelites wanted to buy slaves? Why might they not have been trading in some other commodity?

    However, Joseph is sold; but he is not disposed of on the road to Egypt, he is taken to the land. Why is it that Potiphar is to buy him? Why is it that Potiphar has a wife at all? Why is it that Potiphar's wife should be so full of lust?

    Why should Joseph get into prison? How is it that the baker and the butler should offend their master? All chance, as the world has it, but every link necessary to make the chain.

    They do both offend their master; they are both put into prison. How is it that they both dream? How is it that Joseph interprets the dreams? How is it that the butler forgets him? Why, just because if he had recollected him, it would have spoiled it all?

    Why is it Pharaoh dreams? How can dreams be under the arrangement of God's providence? However, Pharaoh does dream; the butler then thinks of Joseph; Joseph is brought out of prison and taken before Pharaoh.

    But take away any of these simple circumstances, break any one of the links of the chain, and the whole of the design is scattered to the winds. You can not get the machine to work; if any of the minute cogs of the wheels are taken away, everything is disarranged.

    We will now notice, in the minutiae of providence, how punctual providence always is. You will never wonder more at providence, than when you consider how well God keeps time with himself.

    To return to our history - how is it that the Ishmaelites should come by just at that time? How many thousand chances there were that their journey might have been taken just before!

    There certainly was no special train to call at that station art that particular time so that Joseph's brothers might arrange to go and call him. No such thing. And yet if there had been all this arrangement, it could not have happened better.

    You know Reuben intended to fetch Joseph out of the pit half an hour later, and "the child was not". God had these Ishmaelites ready: you do not know how He may have sped them on their journey, or delayed them, so as to bring them on the spot punctually at the identical moment.

Copyright © 1997 by Kurt Rosenhagen

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