The Dreams



flock tend (2) prudence
wheat stalk occasion
upright bow (2) stand/stood
seize caravan Pharaoh
manner accuse carry on
inmate assault prophecy
butler fulfill send for
graze skinny stragglers
famine gather store (2)
grain surplus as many as
lean wither abundant
robust capable administer
oversea field (2) foresight
weary spare (2) deprivation
court devour storehouse
plead cover (2) starvation
laden run out seek/sought



The Gift

“It’s a gift from father,” said Joseph to his ten older brothers. He was with them in a field, wearing a bright, new, colorful coat. No other brother had ever received anything like that from their father.

Joseph was the 11th of the 12 sons of Jacob. He helped his brothers tend the flocks of goats and sheep.

Two Dreams

On another occasion, Joseph told his brothers about two dreams he had. In his first dream, Joseph and his brothers were working in a wheat field.

Suddenly, his wheat stalks stood upright — while the stalks of his brothers gathered around his and bowed down to it.

In his second dream, Joseph described how, “The sun, moon, and 11 stars bowed to me.”

The Caravan

One day, when Joseph approached his brothers in the field, they seized him, removed his coat and sold him to a passing caravan of merchants.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

House Servant

The caravan with Joseph traveled to Egypt. There Joseph became a servant in the house of the captain of the Pharaoh’s guards. Joseph was 17 years old.

Joseph worked in the house for many years.

Then, when no one else was at home, the captain’s wife behaved in a very friendly manner towards Joseph. But Joseph only carried on with his tasks. Nothing more.

The wife then accused Joseph of trying to assault her…

Joseph was imprisoned.

In Prison

While in prison, two inmates (the Pharaoh’s chief butler and baker) told Joseph of dreams they both had. Joseph interpreted them: in three days time, the butler would be released; but the baker would not.

Joseph’s prophecies were fulfilled.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

The Pharaoh’s Dreams

Two years later, the Pharaoh had two dreams that no one could understand. The butler then remembered Joseph and told the Pharaoh about him. The Pharaoh immediately sent for Joseph.

He described his dreams to Joseph.

In the first dream, the Pharaoh had seen seven fat cows grazing by the Nile River. Then seven skinny (thin) cows appeared . . . and devoured the fat cows.

In his second dream, there were seven robust stalks of grain — but then seven dried and withered grain “came” and “ate” them.

The Interpretation

“The dreams can only mean one thing,” answered Joseph “There would be seven years of plenty…followed by seven years of famine.”

He advised Pharaoh to gather and store surplus food during the abundant years to weather the lean years — and to choose a wise and capable person to oversee this.

“Joseph, I choose YOU!” said the Pharaoh.

Seven Years

And so the next seven years saw abundant harvests. As prime minister, Joseph carefully administered the saving and stockpiling of as much foodstuff as possible.

Then came the lean years. But thanks to Joseph’s foresight and prudence, the people of Egypt were spared of hunger and deprivation.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .


One day a group of ten weary stragglers were directed to the court of the prime minister. They then asked him for permission to purchase grain from the government storehouses.

“That’s just a cover. You have really come here to SPY on our country; to see if we are weak from starvation so you can invade us!” the prime minister told them through an interpreter.

NO, no Mr. Prime Minister. We are NOT spies!” they pleaded. “We are just 10 brothers. All we are seeking here is food. It’s our country that’s starving.”


After further questioning, the prime minister had their bags filled with grain. The money which they paid him was hidden in the bags. The brothers returned home with their laden donkeys.

Soon however all their food ran out. And thus the brothers thus returned to Egypt to get more grain.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


1. Jacob had given a new, multi-colored coat to Joseph — but not to his other sons. True or false? Why did Joseph receive a new coat, but his brothers didn’t?

2. The other brothers were very happy for Joseph. Yes or no?

3. Describe the dreams that Joseph had. What was the interpretation or meaning of them? How did Joseph’s brothers feel and react when he had told them this?

4. What did the bothers do to Joseph? What happened when Joseph arrived in Egypt?

5. Joseph had assaulted the captain’s wife. True or false? What had happened? What happened to Joseph?

6. The Pharaoh appointed Joseph as his prime minister. Is this correct or wrong? Why did he appoint Joseph?

7. What happened in the next seven years? In the next seven years….
What happened after seven years?

8. Did some strangers come to the Prime Minister? Who were the strangers? Why did the strangers come to Egypt?

9. Did they recognize Joseph? Did Joseph recognize them? How did Joseph react to and treat the ten strangers?

10. What happened in the end?


A. What lessons or morals does this parable contain? Does this sound familiar?

B. How does it related to modern life?

C. Can you think of examples of cities, regions or countries similar to the story?

D. What should governments do?

E. Do you know any companies or individuals in that situation? What should individuals do?

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