Lesson 30

Joseph Sold Into Egypt

"As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good."
Genesis 50:20 (Revised Standard Version)

God was watching over Joseph. His trials and difficulties were helping him develop a character that would eventually bring him a position of honor in Egypt second only to the Pharaoh!

Pharaoh had two dreams which Joseph interpreted to mean there would be seven years of plenty and seven years when food would not grow. Joseph directed the people to store up enough grain in the first seven years to carry them through the famine years.

The famine also affected Joseph’s family in Canaan. When they had no more food to eat, ten of Jacob’s sons came to Egypt to buy grain. They were completely unaware that they were dealing with their brother whom they had sold into slavery so many years before.

Joseph was kind to them, although he did not let them know who he was, inquiring about their family, and giving them grain. He told them the famine would continue and they would be needing more grain. He also said when they came again to bring with them their youngest brother, Benjamin, to prove they were not spies.

Jacob at first refused to let Benjamin go, but as the famine worsened, he finally said they could take him. But, he said, if Benjamin did not come back it would mean his death: " . . . you would bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol" (Genesis 42:38, Revised Standard Version).

This is the second occurrence in the Bible of the word sheol, which means the tomb, but mistranslated hell thirty-one times in the King James Version. It did not even come into Jacob’s mind that his sons would be in a place of burning torment and that he would join them there—this is a very God-dishonoring doctrine. No, Jacob expected to be unconscious in death, out of existence, when he spoke those words.

Joseph was a type of Jesus who was also rejected by his brethren (the Jewish nation), but was eventually exalted to a place of honor and glory next to the heavenly Father. And, just as Joseph gave bread to the Egyptian people, so Jesus will give the bread of everlasting life to the willing and obedient in the next age. What a beautiful picture!

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