Genesis 37—50

In the last overview we ended with Jacob and Rachel having a son named Benjamin. This is Jacob’s twelfth and final son. Descendants of these twelve sons are God’s chosen people, the Jewish people, also known in the Bible as the Israelites. Remember God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, and that is why his descendants were called Israelites.

Jacob is Abraham’s grandson, so this fulfilled God’s promise to Abraham to make his descendants a great nation.

Of the twelve sons Joseph was Jacob’s favorite and he gave Joseph a coat of many colors. This made the other brothers jealous and they did not like Joseph. To make matters worse, Joseph had dreams he shared with his brothers about how he would rule over them some day.

The brothers became so angry at Joseph that one day, while they watched the sheep; they saw a caravan heading to Egypt and decided to sell Joseph into slavery.

An important man named Potiphar bought Joseph. Joseph excelled at his job and Potiphar put him in charge of his whole household. Potiphar’s wife was evil and asked Joseph to do things that were against how God wanted Joseph to live.

When Joseph refused, she told lies about him and he ended up in jail. While in jail, some of the prisoners had dreams. God gave Joseph the ability to interpret the dreams. One person he interpreted dreams for was Pharaoh’s cup-bearer. The cup-bearer was released from jail and worked for Pharaoh again. Joseph asked the cup-bearer to tell Pharaoh how he was unjustly put in prison, but the cup-bearer forgot.

Troubled by dreams, Pharaoh was seeking help from the wise men in the court. This reminded the cup-bearer about Joseph and his ability to interpret dreams. So the Pharaoh sent for Joseph.

Explaining the dreams to Pharaoh, Joseph warned of seven years of prosperity followed by seven years of famine. Not only did God give Joseph the gift to shed light on Pharaoh’s dream, he also gave Joseph the words to inform Pharaoh of ways to prepare for the famine. Impressed, Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of getting the country ready for the famine. Even though Joseph was a slave, he was second in command of the whole country!

So when the famine came Egypt was ready. This worldwide famine caused people to pour in from many lands to obtain food. One day Joseph’s brothers showed up for grain. They did not know Joseph, but Joseph recognized them and remarkably forgave them.

Reunited the entire family moved to Egypt to be near Joseph. The twelve tribes flourished in Egypt.

Eventually, other Pharaoh’s came into power and they did not remember Joseph or care about all he had done for Egypt. They were afraid of the Hebrew people because they were growing in numbers and were strong and successful. So they forced the Hebrew people to be slaves.

We will study how God brings the Hebrew people out of Egypt and back to the Promised Land in Exodus, the second book of the Bible.


Do you ever feel like life isn’t fair? When did you think something was unfair in your life?

Was Joseph treated fairly?

To answer that question look up the following Scriptures and write what happened to Joseph:

Genesis 37: 12—28 and 36: Joseph was __________ to the Ishmaelites to become a ____________ in Egypt.

Genesis 39:19, 20: When Joseph refused to do an evil thing that Potiphar’s wife wanted him to do he was thrown into ___________, even though he was _______________.

Genesis 40: 9—15 and 23: Joseph interpreted the cup-bearer’s dream and the cup-bearer was released from prison as Joseph said. Joseph asked the cup-bearer to _____________ him and get him out of prison, but the cup-bearer ____________ Joseph.

So Joseph was not treated fairly but he always obeyed and trusted God. He even forgave his brothers!

“…You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children” (Genesis 50:20—21a NLT).

Think about Jesus’ life on earth. Was he treated fairly?

Thank God that his grace saves us from fair treatment. We are all sinners and if we got what we deserved none of us are heaven bound.


Dear God, when I think that’s not fair, help me remember my own sins. Please do not give me what I deserve, but instead thank you for the grace you provide in my life. In Jesus Name, Amen.

My name is ____________________________________. I am _________ years old. I

am walking through the Bible with _________________________ on this date_______.


“….how then can I do this great wickedness” (Genesis 39: 9b KJV).

Do you know what wickedness means? It means to be bad or do something wrong.

Joseph was a good person and tried to do what is right. One day a lady asked him to do something bad; that was against how God wanted Joseph to live.

What do you think Joseph did? He told the bad person no. He must obey God.

Has a playmate or friend ever asked you to do something your parents told you not to do? Or have you ever done something that was bad? Maybe throw a toy, not eat your food, or maybe say no when Dad or Mom ask you to do something?

We all do bad things sometimes, but we should try to be like Joseph and walk away from doing something bad. Whenever you want to do something God does not want you to do pray this prayer:


Dear God, Help me to always be good. I want to obey my parents and behave the way you want me to behave. Thank you God for helping me be good, and loving me even when I am bad.

My name is ____________________________________. I am _________ years old. I

am walking through the Bible with _________________________ on this date_______.