joseph dreams

The Dreams



beast occasion spare (2)
bind ear (2) abundant
sheaf precious talk him out of
seize caravan slay-slew-slain
fulfill suggest precious
sob tend (2) charge (3)
guard tear up responsible
duty manner manners
stain carry on nevertheless
jail prison in charge
obtain enraged household
butler Pharaoh interpret
pardon bow (2) confidence
reed devour prophecy
graze famine foresight
robust field (2) grain (2)
relent gather spring/sprang/sprung
wither assault administer
lean store (2) weather out
wheat languish bountiful
invade hostage stockpile
weary release deprivation
plead capable permission
prove forgive prudence
laden surplus cover (2)
starve precious punishment
slave bizarre heartbroken
reveal embrace intercept



The Gift

“It’s a gift from father,” said Joseph to his ten older brothers. They were in the field tending goats and sheep when Joseph came, wearing a new coat with many, bright colours.

None of the other sons had ever received anything like that from their father, Jacob.

Two Dreams

On another occasion, Joseph told his brothers about two dreams he had had. In the first dream Joseph saw himself binding wheat in a field with them.

Suddenly, his sheaf stood upright — while the sheaves of his brothers gathered round his and bowed down to it.

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

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

The Dreamer

One day, as Joseph was approaching his brothers in the field, one of them said, “Look. Here comes the dreamer. Let’s slay him.” The others agreed but Reuben, the oldest brother, talked them out of it.

Instead they seized Joseph, removed his coat, and threw him into an empty well.

The Caravan

Not long afterwards, a caravan came by. Merchants with their camels were transporting precious goods to Egypt.

Another brother, Judah, suggested they sell Joseph to the merchants. And so they did, receiving 20 pieces of silver.

The Coat

After the caravan with Joseph had gone, the brothers tore up Joseph’s coat and stained it with goat’s blood.

Bringing it before Jacob, they said to him, “Dearest father . . . *sob, sob*…we found this in the field. Some wild beasts must have set upon poor Joseph *sob, sob*.”

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .


The caravan arrived in Egypt. There Joseph was bought by the captain of Pharaoh’s guards.

As a house servant, Joseph did everything in an excellent manner. Soon he became responsible for the entire household, including the other servants.

At Home

When no one else was at home, the captain’s wife would behave in a very friendly manner towards Joseph. Joseph nevertheless carried on with his duties. Nothing more.

Enraged, the wife then brought charges against Joseph, that he had tried to assault her . . .

Joseph was thrown in prison.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

In Prison

But Joseph soon won the jailer’s confidence, and was put in charge of the other prisoners.

Some time later, the Pharaoh’s chief butler and baker were also thrown in prison.

One day they told Joseph of dreams they had both had and couldn’t understand. Joseph interpreted them: in three days time, the butler would be released; the baker would not . . .

Joseph’s prophecies were fulfilled.

Before leaving, Joseph asked the butler to try to help him obtain a pardon when he returned to Pharaoh’s palace.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

Two Years Later

Two years passed. Joseph sill languished in jail.

At this time, Pharaoh had two dreams, dreams that no one could understand.

The butler then remembered Joseph, and told Pharaoh about him. Pharaoh sent for Joseph.

He then told him his dreams.

Pharaoh’s Dreams

In the first dream, Pharaoh had seen seven fat cows grazing in the reeds near the Nile River. Then seven skinny cows appeared — and devoured the fat cows.

The second dream, seven robust ears of grain sprang up — but then seven dried and withered ears “came” and “ate” them.


Joseph replied that the dreams could only mean one thing: that 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 out the lean years—and to choose a wise and capable person to administer this.

“Joseph, I choose YOU!” said Pharaoh.

Seven Years

And so the next seven years did see bountiful harvests. As prime minister, Joseph carefully saved and stockpiled 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 weary strangers arrived. They were directed to the court of the prime minister.

There, they asked him for his 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 is our country that’s starving.”


The prime minister then questioned the group about their home.

When they said they had another, younger brother, Benjamin, he ordered them to return home and bring him back to prove that they spoke the truth.

Meanwhile he kept one brother, Simeon, as a hostage.

The prime minister then had their bags filled with grain. The money which they paid him was hidden in the bags.

The brothers then set off with their laden donkeys.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .


When they returned home, they told their father everything that had happened. But he refused to let young Benjamin go back with them.

However after all their food had run out, he relented.

The brothers thus returned to Egypt with Benjamin. Simeon was released, and they received more grain.


On their way home though, Egyptian officials on horseback intercepted them.

Searching through their belongings, they found a silver cup in Benjamin’s bag. “But I didn’t take anything,” Benjamin insisted. “I don’t know how that cup got into my bag.”

It didn’t matter. The official forced the brothers to turn back.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

The Silver Cup

“Benjamin has STOLEN my precious cup,” thundered the prime minister. “As punishment, he must remain here as a prisoner!

Guards, take him away!”

“NO! Wait! PLEASE DON’T!” cried Judah. “Put me in prison instead. Just let Benjamin go. He is our youngest brother. And besides, our father would be heartbroken and die without Benjamin…. we’ve already lost another brother.”

“Another brother? How? What happened to him?”

No one said a word.


“What happened to your other brother?”
“Well….we…we…we sold him into slavery.”
You what?!? You sold you own brother into slavery? How could you do such a thing?”

The brothers lowered their heads and remained silent.

“Because your father had given him — and not you — a new coat with many colours. And because this brother had bizarre dreams….you had wanted to KILL him!”

The brothers all looked up at the prime minister.

At that point Joseph revealed himself to the brothers.

The brothers looked to the ground once more — but Joseph forgave and embraced them all.

He then invited everyone, including Jacob and their families, to move to Egypt where they would have enough to eat.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *


1. Jacob had given a new, multi-coloured coat to Joseph; but not to his other sons. True or false? Why did he do that? Were the other brothers happy for Joseph?

2. Did Joseph have dreams? What was the interpretation or meaning of the dreams that Joseph had and told his brothers? How did Joseph’s brothers feel when he had told them this?

3. What did his brothers do later? Did they tell their father what they had done?

4. Joseph went to Egypt. Is this right or wrong? What happened to Joseph there?

5. Joseph had assaulted the captain’s wife. Yes or no? Why did the wife accuse Joseph of assault?

6. Was Joseph released from prison soon after the butler’s release? Why or why not?

7. Pharaoh appointed Joseph as his prime minister. Is this correct or incorrect? Why did he appoint Joseph?

8. What happened in the next seven years, and thereafter?

9. Did strangers come to Egypt? Why did they come? Did they recognize Joseph? Did Joseph recognize them? Joseph accused them of being spies. Did he really believe they were spies?

10. Benjamin had actually stolen the Prime Minister’s precious, silver cup. True or false?

A. What lessons or morals does this parable contain? How does it relate to modern life?

B. Can you give examples from real life among your friends, classmates or coworkers?

C. Have you heard similar situations in the news?

D. Are you familiar with accounts from the bible?




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