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7. This special family move to Egypt

25 lesson plans for children, young people and their teachers.

Lesson 7 This special family move into Egypt – Joseph Bible reference – Genesis 37, 39-50. In the Bible story Abraham’s family line continues through Isaac, Genesis 25 verses 19 and 20 and then through Jacob. Jacob was a twin. He took his birthright from his older twin brother, Esau, Genesis 25 verses 24-26. These three names of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are often spoken together when God shows Himself to people. Stop and discuss (1) 1. Who hears this name in Exodus 3 verse 6? 2. Who uses/speaks this name in Matthew 22 verse 32? The name “God of Abraham, God of Isaac and God of Jacob” helps us to remember that our God is the same one Who entered a covenant with His people long ago. He is the same God today, still keeping all His promises. Matthew begins the New Testament by reminding us that Jacob is the ancestor of Joseph (in the Christmas story) and therefore Jesus is from his family: Matthew 1 verses 15 and 16. Jacob’s children became the leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel. (Jacob’s name was changed to Israel by God in Genesis 32 verse 28). The children are named in Genesis 49. Can you find them all?

Stop and discuss(2) Divide the class into small groups of about 5 people.

Which group can be first to write a correct list of the 12 sons of Jacob? Write the names and the verse numbers from Genesis 49. 1. verse 2. verse 3. verse 4. verse 5. verse 6. verse 7. verse 8. verse 9. verse 10. verse 11. verse 12. verse Genesis chapters 37-50 tell the story of Jacob’s son, Joseph. Joseph is not Jacob’s first son, but he is his favourite son – Jacob liked Joseph more than all his other sons: Genesis 37 verse 3 Jacob and family lived in the land of Canaan, Genesis 37 verse 1. This is where God had promised Abraham he would live, and his family after him would possess land and live there too:


Genesis 12 verse 7 Genesis 15 verses 7 and 18. The life-story of Joseph is important in Israel’s history. It shows how the people of Israel left the land they were promised by God and moved into Egypt. Joseph arrives in Egypt before anyone else from the family. He did not choose to go there, he went as a slave and ended up as a prisoner! Stop and act (3) Have some of the class act out Genesis 37 verses 12-36, while you (or a good reader from the class) read this summary of it:

  • eleven brothers are looking after sheep.

  • Joseph is sent from his father Jacob to ask how things are

  • the brothers see him coming in the distance and captureJoseph

  • they throw him into a bore hole dug for water and leave him

  • they see Midianite merchants coming

  • the brothers go and pull Joseph from the pit and

  • sell him to the Midianites

  • the Midianite camel train then continues on to Egypt, taking Joseph with them.

Joseph was thrown into prison when he was falsely accused of attempted rape, Genesis 39 verses 16-20.He must have wondered whether God really was in control of his life! First, he was sold into slavery by his brothers, and then he was put into prison on a false charge. Years passed by. Joseph earned the respect of the prison keeper and was used to help run the prisoners’ daily programme, verse 21-23. God gave Joseph the gift of understanding the meaning of dreams. One day, Pharaoh – the king of Egypt – had a dream. Pharaoh wanted to know what the dream meant. A wine steward to the king, who had been with Joseph in prison, heard that Pharaoh was troubled by two dreams. He knew Joseph could give the meanings if God helped him. The wine steward told the king about Joseph. Joseph told the king that God had shown the same lesson in both dreams. There was going to be seven years of good harvests followed by seven years of famine in Egypt and the surrounding area. Pharaoh should plan wisely to survive the difficult years. Pharaoh made Joseph “governor over all Egypt”, Genesis 41 verses 40-41. He was only 30 years old, but God had already led him through slavery, and prison, to become a very, very important young man in Egypt. The years of good harvests and then the years of famine came. The other eleven of Joseph’s brothers were with their father, Jacob, in Canaan.The famine was bad there and they were among the crowds who travelled many days to Egypt to buy food. (Joseph had made sure Egypt was prepared well for the tough times). In Genesis chapters 42-45 we are told the brothers twice came to buy food for their family back in Canaan. They bought food from Joseph – but they did not know this important leader was their younger brother Joseph! They had not seen or heard of him since they sold him into slavery to the Midianites.


Stop and act (4) Have some of the class act out this summary of the Genesis story as you (or a good reader from the class) reads it out aloud.

  • Joseph is selling grain to those who come to him

  • his eleven brothers come in. He knows who they are, but they do not know him.

  • he sends everyone away except his brothers

  • crying, Joseph tells them who he is

  • the brothers are afraid he will arrest them. They remember what they did

  • he tells them not to worry, but to go and bring his father to Egypt

  • they go, ……… and they return with Jacob and all of the family

  • Joseph and Jacob (son and father) throw their arms around each other

  • they go to Pharaoh, who gives them a place to live nearby

So, God’s special family are all in Egypt! They are not where God wants them to be in the end, but they are where he will look after their daily needs for the present famine, Genesis chapters 46 and 47. When the old man Jacob died, Joseph promised his brothers that he would never pay them back for the wrong they did to him. In fact, in Genesis 50 verse 20 Joseph tells us what he understood had happened.

Stop and discuss (5) Fill in the four missing words that Joseph said to his brothers: “You plotted e against me, but God turned it into g , in order to p the l of many people who are alive today because of what happened” Answers to ‘Stop and discuss’ 1. 1. Moses 2. Jesus 2. 1. Reuben, verse 3 2. Simeon, verse5 3. Levi, verse 5 4. Judah, verse 8 5. Zebulun, verse 13 6. Issachar, verse 14 7. Dan, verse 16 8. Gad, verse 19 9. Asher, verse 20 10. Naphtali, verse21 11. Joseph, verse 22 12. Benjamin, verse 27 5. evil ………. good, …………..preserve …… lives ….. Genesis 50 verse 20.

(the word ‘preserve’ means ‘to keep safe’).


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