The life of Joseph in five verses

Posted: December 9, 2014 in Ma-Papel (Paperworks), Theology
Tags: ,


The story of Joseph is one of betrayal and redemption that as a kid, I would read over and over again. It talks of God’s sovereignty, of human depravity, and promises fulfilled. To sum up with the life of Joseph, here is an overview:

I. Birth of Joseph (Gen. 30:22-24)

She named him Joseph, and said, “May the Lord add to me another son.” (Gen. 30:24)

Born to a manipulative father, and a competitive mother, Joseph was born in a household of strife. With one brother, ten-half brothers, and one half sister, he was his father’s favorite. His name in itself meant “may He add”, referring to God answering the prayer of his mother. Barrenness in ancient times was a curse, and thus, when he came to the world, this was seen as a blessing in itself.

II. Childhood and Early Years (Gen. 37:1-8)

When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. (Gen. 37:4)

Joseph grew up in an environment with extremes. His father loved him but at the same time, his brothers hated him so much. He received special attention from his father but also got the disdain of his brothers. The love of the father was evident with the ornate robe (v.3) while the hatred of his brothers resulted into Joseph being sold to Ishmaelites.

III. Captivity (Gen. 39:1-23)

Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.(Gen. 37:36)

In a twist of event, his brothers wanted him dead but his brother, Reuben intervened, he was thrown in a cistern and was sold as a slave instead. He ended up being in the house of Potiphar, rose among the ranks, and probably this is where he learned about Egyptian culture and language. He was betrayed with slander, thrown into prison for a crime he did not commit, and found favor with the prison warden.

IV. Ruler in Egypt (Gen. 41 – 46)

So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt. (Gen. 41:41)

From prisoner to ruler of the entire Egypt, the sovereignty of God is indeed at work. Stripped of everything with nothing to hold on to, Joseph already learned who is in control. He was aware that this was God at work. God used the evil in Joseph’s life for good, in order to save the Israelites from total annihilation.

V. Death of Joseph (Gen. 50:22-26)

And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.” (Gen. 50:25)

Joseph knew that Egypt was just a temporary stop. He knew that the Israelites would be oppressed in a foreign land but he also knew that God would redeem them. He made them swear an oath to take him out of Egypt, even if it meant just his bones. That’s indeed a show of faith, of believing even if he didn’t see it happen in his lifetime.


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