Joseph’s Life in Egypt

The last time we saw Joseph he was being sold into slavery in Egypt. By the time we get to Genesis 45 it seems like he is in charge down there. What happened?

When Joseph arrived in Egypt he was a slave in the house of Potiphar, the captain of the guard in Egypt. Joseph was faithful and prospered in Potiphar’s house so that Potiphar put Joseph in charge of the whole household.

While serving in Potiphar’s house, Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph. Joseph refused and remained faithful to both his master, Potiphar, and the Lord. Potiphar’s wife was angry and framed Joseph, claiming that he tried to “lie with her.”

Potiphar threw Joseph in prison. Joseph was faithful and prospered in prison as well. Genesis 39:21 says that the Lord showed Joseph “steadfast love.” The keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners. “And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed (Genesis 39:22).”

You can see a theme, right? Everywhere Joseph goes he is faithful to those in authority over him and before the Lord. Everywhere Joseph goes the Lord is with him and shows him steadfast love.

While Joseph is in charge of the prisoners two of Pharaoh’s servants are thrown in prison. They each have a dream that Joseph interprets for them. One of the servants is executed and the other is reinstated to service.

Two years go by with Joseph still in prison. Pharaoh also has a dream. The servant that was reinstated to the service of Pharaoh remembers Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams and brings Joseph to Pharaoh. Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dream for him. He tells Pharaoh that the meaning of the dream is that Egypt will have seven years of exceedingly fruitful crops and then seven years of severe famine.

Joseph is again shown to be faithful and wise so that Pharaoh chooses Joseph to administer the a project to store up grain for the first seven years in Egypt during the fruitful years and to carefully sell the grain for the seven years of famine. In doing this Pharaoh makes Joseph second only to himself in all of Egypt.

Don’t miss how amazing this story is! Joseph was the youngest of Jacob’s sons and hated by his brothers. He was a slave, a falsely-accused convict, and a prisoner, and now he is the second-in-command of all of Egypt!

Fulfilling Joseph’s Dream

Do you remember Joseph’s dream that he shared with his brothers?

Genesis 37:6–8
Hear this dream that I have dreamed: Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?”

Genesis 42-44 is an amazing account of how God used Joseph to save his family from famine. If you have the time today I would encourage you to read this amazing story.

In it Jacob sends Joseph’s brothers to Egypt to find food during the famine that had stretched its way all the way up into Canaan. While Joseph was in Egypt, his mother, Rachel, had another child and died in childbirth. When Joseph’s brothers arrive in Egypt looking for food they are greeted by Joseph. But they do not recognize him. Joseph’s brothers bow and beg him for grain for themselves and their father’s household. They find themselves completely under the control and authority of Joseph because Joseph is in charge of the only remaining grain in all the land!

During the conversation Joseph discovers the news of his young brother, Benjamin. Through a series of events Joseph sends his brothers back to Jacob to get Benjamin. Joseph, still not recognized by his brothers, threatens to keep Benjamin as a servant. In a drastic turn from his earlier murderous ways, Judah offers to be taken in Benjamin’s place.

Genesis 44:33–34
Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the boy as a servant to my lord, and let the boy go back with his brothers. For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear to see the evil that would find my father.

Preserving a Remnant

Joseph’s response to his brothers in Genesis 45 is nothing short of astounding! “And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors (Genesis 45:7).” Joseph’s trust in the Lord is truly moving. Joseph has not wavered one time from a faith-induced faithfulness. Because Joseph has trusted in the Lord throughout his whole life Joseph has been able to remain faithful to the Lord even in the most difficult of circumstances.

Here we see this pattern again. God is preserving a remnant. God preserved Adam and Eve even though we would have expected them to die right away. God preserved Noah even though God destroyed all the rest of the earth. Here God preserves the children of Israel (Jacob) even though they acted in wickedness. God is clearly working in this story to fulfill His promise to make for Himself a people and provide for them a land.