Read 19.) Genesis 39:1 thru 42:38. Starting with chapter 39, Joseph, 11th son of Jacob, becomes the focus of the story. Having been sold into slavery by his older brothers, he finds himself in the household of a powerful Egyptian, Potiphar. Potiphar is the captain of Pharaoh’s guard unit. He quickly rises to the level of Potiphar’s household steward, and we need to note 2 things. The first is that we learn that ‘the Lord was with Joseph’ from verses 2, 21 and 23. The second is that Joseph had become a truly God-fearing man. Take note of all the many times he puts God in his communications with others, as in verse 9. As the Lord was with Joseph, can we see that Joseph sought to be with God? The belief is that Joseph, sold at 17, is about 20 when he is accused of attempted rape by Potiphar’s wife, and is thrown into Pharaoh’s prison; where he is then promoted to the place of Trustee.
With chapter 40, it is thought that some 8 years pass. Two of Pharaoh’s servants, his cupbearer and baker, find themselves in prison, where one night God gives them dreams. Joseph is given the interpretation of their dreams, which soon come to pass just as he had told them they would. See how Joseph still invokes God in his conversation, as in verse 8. From chapter 41, two more years pass, and Joseph is 30. The event in the prison with Pharaoh’s 2 servants now brings about a whole new event in Joseph’s life. See how that with all the bad circumstances God brought, or allowed, into his life, Joseph invokes God no fewer than 9 more times, and even unto Pharaoh, king over all Egypt! Though it is not stated explicitly, it is still very evident that God is with Joseph. The account of Pharaoh’s dreams from God gave occasion for Joseph to be elevated by the Lord to Prime Minister over Egypt. A valuable principle is seen in all this. It is the principle of Proverbs 3:5+6. ‘In all your ways acknowledge Him [the Lord], and He will direct your paths‘. From Matthew 28:19, Jesus said, ‘As you are going, make disciples…‘. Now, at age 30, Joseph is second over all Egypt, when an incredible turn of events begins.
Chapter 42 is about how Pharaoh’s dreams come true, just as they had been interpreted by Joseph. Seven years of plenty pass, and the 7 years of famine commence. This famine extended into Canaan and affected Jacob and his clan there. With a lack of food, Jacob sends his 10 oldest sons down to Egypt to secure food for all their households. And, so, after some 22 years, Joseph meets his brothers once again, face-to-face. Thru Joseph, all that follows from here, will ultimately result in the fulfillment of 2 of the 4 promises and prophecies God had given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Watch for these! Joseph plays a ‘cat and mouse’ game with his brothers, scaring them terribly, as they had frightened him 2 decades before. Even so, he still speaks of God in their hearing with verse 18. As with 34:30, some 25 years before, Jacob’s faith appears in verses 36 thru 38 to be at a rather low ebb again, as all he can think of is himself. He is about to soon experience a second personal revival of faith. It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell