The Rest of the Story -

3. Joseph Preserves Two Nations

Genesis 39:1-23, Joseph's Administrative Ability
Genesis 41:25-41, Joseph Interprets Dreams
Genesis 45:16-21; 45:25-46:1-4, A Covenant Renewed
Genesis 47:1-27, The Land of Goshen
Genesis 49:1-28, Jacob's Blessing

More of the Rest of the Story

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Joseph in Pharaoh's Chariot. Click to enlarge. See below for provenance.
Genesis 39:1-23, Joseph's Administrative Ability (8/20/12)

If you already know the story of Joseph, I urge you to skip vss. 8-19, because they distract us from the main point. This is the main point: Joseph had tremendous administrative abilities, and he was trustworthy and hard-working. He used these gifts wherever he was to benefit whomever he came in contact with. Always do your best work.

(For that matter, never sacrifice your personal integrity, which is illustrated by vss. 8-19.)

Genesis 41:25-41, Joseph Interprets Dreams (8/21/12)

In addition to his administrative ability, trustworthiness, and work ethic, Joseph had the gift of interpreting dreams. At this time, Egypt was already a prosperous and populous nation; the nation that God was building comprised fewer than 80 people. Widespread famine was about to strike the entire Middle East, putting the new nation in great danger. After Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, God used Joseph in Egypt to protect not only the fledgling nation of Israel but also the people of Egypt. Here’s our illustration of Joseph in the Pharaoh’s second-best chariot.

(By the way, it’s interesting to me that God sent dreams to the leaders of foreign nations, along with a Hebrew to interpret the dreams, both here and in the book of Daniel. God is interested in the welfare of all nations, not just ours.)

Genesis 45:16-21; 45:25-46:1-4, A Covenant Renewed (8/22/12)

What’s the most important part of today’s passage? Probably vss. 46:3-4, in which God promises to go with Jacob into Egypt and there make Jacob into a mighty nation. The covenant originally made with Abraham in Genesis 12 – “Come with me, and I’ll make you into a great nation” – is renewed and passed on to Jacob. Joseph’s story is not primarily about Joseph. It is primarily about how God works with the family of Abraham to create a tool for the salvation of the world.

But don’t take my word for it. Quite a few new readers have joined us lately, so it’s probably time to review our principles for Bible study. Chief among them is this: Read the Bible for yourself. Don't take my word, your pastor's word, your rabbi's word, or your Sunday School teacher's word for what's in it. All teachers – no matter how learned – make mistakes. One week ago today, I heard a bishop accidentally misquote a Bible verse! Read the Bible for yourself.

Genesis 47:1-27, The Land of Goshen (8/23/12)

If I ever build a new subdivision, I’m going to name two of the streets “Lando” and “Goshen.”

Jacob and his entire family are now in Egypt, the only place in the Middle East that isn’t starving, thanks to Joseph. Unfortunately, Pharaoh and the Egyptians worship a pantheon of gods, among whom is Pharaoh himself. How can the children of Israel be kept from worshiping the Egyptian gods? By keeping them separate from the Egyptians. The Egyptians are all farmers, and they don’t have much use for herders – this sounds just like all the Westerns we were watching 50 years ago, doesn’t it? Joseph tells his family to emphasize that they are sheepherders. So Pharaoh says, send them all to Goshen. Goshen is not only good grazing land, but it is separate from the Egyptians and their gods.

Meantime, Pharaoh ends up owning everything in Egypt that doesn’t belong to the priests, but at least Joseph’s good management means that the people escape with their lives.

Probably I’ll name another one of the streets “Calrissian.”

Genesis 49:1-28, Jacob's Blessing (8/24/12)

My grandchildren are 5 to 16 years old, and I already have good idea about what they are going to be like when they grow up. My children are 35 to 45 years old, and I know almost exactly what they’ll be like when they’re middle-aged.

Jacob was more than 100 years old before he died, so his sons must have been, what? Fifty to seventy years old? Maybe Benjamin was in his forties. They were middle-aged and set in their ways. They had children and grandchildren of their own, and Jacob knew all the kids and what they were like. His last words, his blessing upon his sons, didn’t take a lot of prophetic vision. It’s no surprise that what he said about the tribes turned out to be pretty close to the truth.

More of the Rest of the Story

Week 1. Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 1. More on the Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Abraham … But Not Lot
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Isaac…But not Ishmael or the sons of Keturah
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Jacob…But not Esau
Week 3. Joseph Preserves Two Nations
Week 4. Deliverance
Week 4. More on Deliverance
Week 5. New Commands and a New Covenant
Week 6. Wandering
Week 6. More on the Wandering
Week 7. The Battle Begins
Week 8. A Few Good Men...and Women
Week 9. The Faith of a Foreign Woman
Week 10. Standing Tall, Falling Hard
Week 11. From Shepherd to King
Week 12. The Trials of a King
Week 13. The King Who Had It All
Week 14. A Kingdom Torn in Two
Weeks 15 and 16. God's Messengers and The Beginning of the End
Week 17. The Kingdoms' Fall
Jeremiah, Prophet of the Exile
Story 19. The Return Home
Apocalyptic writings in the Old Testament
Story 21. Rebuilding the Walls
Story 22. The Birth of the King
Story 23. Jesus’ Ministry Begins
Story 24. No Ordinary Man
Story 25. Jesus, the Son of God
Story 26. The Hour of Darkness
Story 27. The Resurrection
Story 28. New Beginnings
James, Brother of the Lord
John and Jude
Story 31. The End of Time

Copyright 2009, 2012 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.
The woodcut showing Joseph in the chariot of Pharaoh is from the Binns family Bible, now in the private collection of Regina L. Hunter.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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