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Joseph: From Slave to Ruler

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Text: Genesis 37 – 50

Thesis: To note that God can use us for His glory in whatever situation we may

             find ourselves.


(1)     His name means: “May God add or increaser” (Lockyer).

(2)     His was the 11th son of Jacob, the 1st of Rachel (cf. Gen. 30.22-24).

(3)     A verse that aptly describes his life is Romans 8:28:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”


I.                   Overcoming Betrayal (Gen. 37):

A.     The record of his life picks up at age 17.

B.      He was dearly loved by his father, Jacop.

1.     An expression of this love was the multicolored tunic given him by his father (v. 3).

2.     As one might expect, this produced jealously among his brothers (v. 4).

C.     He added fuel to the fire by sharing his dreams with his brothers.

1.     The first dream was one in which his brothers’ sheaves bowed down before his much bigger sheave (v. 7).

2.     The second dream was one in which the sun, moon, and 11 stars were seen to be bowing down before him (v. 9).

D.     As he was sent by his father to gather his brothers, they plotted to kill him (vv. 13ff.).

1.     Reuben interceded and persuaded them only to cast Joseph into a pit (v. 21).

2.     They threw him in the pit and later sold him to Ishmaelites for 20 shekels of silver.

3.     In order to cover their tracks, they took the multicolored tunic and covered it in animal blood and lied to their father, telling him that Joseph was killed.

E.      Joseph was brought to Egypt and sold to Potiphar where he rose in power and became the overseer of Potiphar’s house (Gen. 39.1).

II.                Overcoming Temptation (Gen. 39):

A.    As overseer of Potiphar’s house, Joseph would be in contact with Potiphar’s wife.

B.     She attempted to seduce Joseph.

1.     This occurred day after day.

2.     One day, she become very aggressive and Joseph had to flee with his garment in her hands.

C.     She lied about Joseph and he was put into prison (v. 20).

III.             Overcoming Prison (Gen. 40-41):

A.     He had gained favor with the chief jailer and was put over the prisoners (Gen. 39.22).

B.      While there, he came into contact with 2 key prisoners.

1.     The cupbearer was put into prison, possibly because a fly had gotten in the Pharaoh’s wine.

a.      While there, he had a dream about a vine and 3 branches (v. 9)

b.     Joseph interpreted the dream to mean that the cupbearer would be restored in 3 days (v. 12).

2.     The chief baker was put into prison, possible because he had allowed a pebble to get into some pastry.

a.      While there, he had a dream about 3 baskets of white bread on his head with birds eating from them (v. 16).

b.     Joseph interpreted the dream to mean that the Chief baker would be hung in 3 days (v. 18).

C.     The interpretations proved to be correct and the cupbearer was restored but forgot about Joseph until 2 years later when Pharaoh had 2 dreams.

1.     The first dream was of 7 fats cows being eaten by 7 ugly and skinny cows.

2.     The second dream was of 7 plump ears of corn being swallowed up by 7 thin years of corn.

D.     Joseph interprets the dreams to mean that there would be 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine (Gen. 41.25).

E.      Because of this, Pharaoh puts Joseph over the land at the age of 30.

IV.              Overcoming “Revenge”:

A.    As the famine hit, Jacop sends 10 of his sons to Egypt to get grain (Gen. 42).

1.     They come and bow before Joseph seeking food.

2.     He tests them and accuses them of being spies.

a.      The only way they can prove otherwise is to bring Benjamin back with them.

b.     In order to go and get him, Simeon is bound and forced to stay behind until they return.

3.     As they return home, they find their money in their sacks.

B.     They again are sent to Egypt with Benjamin accompanying them this time (Gen. 43).

1.     They are invited into Joseph’s house and a feast in prepared.

2.     They leave to return with food and are approached and accused of stealing a silver cup, which turns out to be in Benjamin’s bag

(Gen. 44).

a.      He is to be put to death for this crime.

b.     Judah offers to take his place.

C.     Joseph is moved with compassion and reveals himself to his brothers (Gen. 45).

1.     The Pharaoh hears the news and offers Joseph’s family a place to live.

2.     They return to get their father and families to return and live in Egypt.

D.    Joseph and his father reunite (Gen. 46).


(1)     It is in Egypt that the Israelites grow and flourish to a mighty people.

(2)     All of this was made possible because of Joseph’s allowing God to work in his life.

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