Lesson: Joseph Dreams / Slavery

November 29, 2010

taught Saturday December 4, 2010 — we had 13 children

Volunteers: Colleen, Paul, Alyssa, Kaitlyn

Driver: Ben (both times)

Scriptures: Genesis 37; Matthew 26:14-15; Romans 8:28; Hebrews 1:1-2

New song verses:


(bkgd image is public domain, by flickr.com/flydime)

(background image is public domain, by wiki/User:Tinodela)



  • Setup
  • (10:00am) name tags, coloring pages (see below)
  • together: Matthew 6 “Lord’s prayer
  • Sing — two new stanzas of Psalm 105 (see above); and etc.
  • memory verse (Ps. 146:5-6)
  • Lesson — (see below)
  • Crafts — (see below)
  • (11:00 am) SNACK/BREAK
  • (11:20 am) activity — (See below)
  • stickers or bookmarks
  • Sing
  • Praying: [Paul]
  • (11:50 am) *new* hand out homework (see below) — they will get a prize next week if they do the homework
  • tidy

Additional Supplies this week

  • red acrylic paint, plastic container, water
  • doll (Joseph) with a coat to dip in the paint/water solution — see below
  • cutouts of brothers, mothers, sister Dinah, and father Jacob
  • the new hymn verses
  • photocopies of the colorings and the word-search
  • photocopies of the homework paper
  • the large map of Israel
  • coffee filter and water spritzer (if we’re doing the coat coffee filter craft)
  • more pickles! :)
  • photos to put on the bulletin board
  • two paintings of Joseph from GCP
  • boxes + large-sized clothes + masking tape (if we’re doing the clothing relay)

fancy coat for Joseph -- sleeved, long, and decorated with colors


1. Review Genesis 32-33; Matthew 15:21-28 — [Paul]

  • Jacob and family left Haran (Laban) and set out to return to Canaan
  • Esau (in Edom) wanted to kill him
  • some of God’s angels set up camp near Jacob’s campsite and reminded him that God was his shield
  • Jacob’s messengers reported that Esau had 400 men with him and they were on the way to meet Jacob
  • Jacob divided his people and animals into two groups
  • Jacob prayed to the LORD to save him from his brother Esau
  • beginning the next morning, Jacob sent nine gifts to Esau, in waves; these totaled over five hundred animals
  • that night, Jacob took his family and all belongings across the Jabbok River, and then went back to the north side of the river by himself
  • in the form of a man, God visited Jacob
  • Jacob would not miss the opportunity, so when God wrestled to get away from him, Jacob would not let Him go
  • when God saw that Jacob would not give up, God hit Jacob’s hip so hard that Jacob’s thigh bone popped right out of his hip socket
  • “Let go of me!” God, in the form of a man, said to Jacob… “It’s almost daylight.”
  • “I will not let you go until you bless me”
  • God changed Jacob’s name to “Israel” [The-Man-Who-Wrestles-with-God] “because now you have wrestled with God and won!”
  • “this night I have seen God face to face, but I am still alive,” Jacob said
  • remembering their father Jacob/Israel, the Israelite people will not eat the hip muscle of any animal — that muscle which holds the thigh bone in the socket
  • we compared Jacob’s faith in wrestling to that of the Canaanite woman almost 2000 years later, about 120 km northwest (Tyre/Sidon region)
  • shouting, “Lord, please help me! My daughter is full of demons.”
  • Jesus did not answer her
  • the woman kept following Jesus and his students, and pleading with him to help
  • “please, Lord, send this woman away!”
  • “I was not sent to this world to save the Canaanites — God sent me to save the Israelites, because they are like lost sheep.”
  • she knelt and begged him, “Please help me, Lord!”
  • “It would be wrong for a father to take food away from his child and give it to dogs”
  • “That is true, Lord, but even dogs get to eat the crumbs that fall from their owner’s table.”
  • “Dear woman, you have a lot of faith, and I have given you what you want.”
    at that very moment, Jesus healed her daughter.
  • [Back to Jacob:] father Jacob walked in front of them all — bowing to the ground seven times
  • Esau ran toward Jacob and hugged and kissed him; both brothers cried
  • the two servant women, Zilpah and Bilhah, with all of their children, came and bowed down before Esau; (sons of Zilpah: Gad and Asher; sons of Bilhah: Dan and Naphtali)
  • then Leah and her children Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah came and bowed down before Esau
  • finally, Joseph and his mother Rachel came and bowed down in front of Esau
  • Esau: “I do not need those gifts you sent, because I already have plenty. You keep these.”
  • Jacob insisted, so Esau accepted the gifts
  • Esau offered to help, but Jacob said he was happy so Esau and his men returned to Edom
  • Jacob traveled farther west, toward the Jordan river
  • There, he built a house for himself and set up shelters for his animals; the place is called Succoth, which means “shelters”
  • from Succoth, Jacob and his family and animals traveled safely to Shechem, in Canaan land, and set up camp near the city, where Jacob built an altar to honor God

Review Jacob’s Life of Struggling:

  • Genesis 25:22–26 – Jacob wrestles with his brother in his mother’s womb;
  • Genesis 27 – Jacob struggles with his brother Esau for his birthright;
  • Genesis 29:15–20 – Jacob struggles with his uncle Laban to get a wife;
  • Genesis 32:22–32 – Jacob wrestles with God before confronting his brother.

2. Joseph’s Dreams — [Paul]

  • The children should take up the cut-out puppets; depending on how many kids we have:
    • Jacob (at Hebron)
    • Rachel (died while giving birth to Benjamin)
    • Leah, Bilhah, Zilpah (at Hebron)
    • Joseph (use the doll with the fancy coat that will later be dipped in blood)
    • Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah (not in the story yet)
    • Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher (begin in field with Joseph)
    • Issachar, Zebulun (not in the story yet)
    • Dinah, Benjamin (will stay at Hebron with father Jacob and mothers)
  • first, discuss dreams:
    • does God speak to us in visions and dreams?
    • God speaks to us through the Bible, and His Spirit helps us understand His Word
    • Jacob, Joseph, and others did not have the Bible — nor had Jesus come to the earth — so God spoke to them in different ways
    • The letter to the Hebrews in the Bible says, “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.” (Hebrews 1:1-2; NIV)
    • Today we will learn how God spoke to Joseph, Jacob’s eleventh son, in two dreams
    • remember also Jacob’s dream (staircase and angels)
  • before we get into this story, we should tell the children that Joseph’s mother Rachel had another son, just as she had prayed, but she died giving birth to him [so her cutout puppet exists the stage early!]; his name was Benjamin
  • [in Canaan, where his father Isaac had lived]
  • this story begins when Joseph was seventeen years old — approx ~ 1897 BC
  • helping take care of the sheep with the four sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, Joseph told his father how bad they were
  • Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son, because Joseph had been born to him in his old age; Joseph was a godly teenager
  • (NOTE: all the children were born before the family arrived in Canaan, except for little Benjamin)
  • because he loved Joseph more, he gave Joseph a fancy coat; the Hebrew indicates that this coat was either multi-colored, and/or it was “long with sleeves”; at any rate, it was a special coat that made the favoritism obvious
  • so Joseph’s brothers hated him and never greeted him with the particular manners that people from that time expected
  • one day, Joseph told his brothers (all of them; not just the four sons of the servant women)
  • “Listen to this dream I had! We were out in the field, each of us tying up a bunch of wheat. Suddenly, my bundle stood up, and your bundles gathered around it and bowed down to it.”

Sheaves of wheat

  • “Is that so, Joseph? You think you are going to become our king and rule over us?”
  • they hated Joseph more than ever
  • Later, Joseph had another dream and told his brothers:
  • “Listen to what I have dreamed now. The sun, the moon, and eleven of the stars bowed down before me.”
  • Joseph also told his father Jacob about this dream
  • Jacob took this seriously, and would remember Joseph’s dream, but he was still angry at his son:
  • “What’s that supposed to mean, Joseph? Do you really think that I will come to bow myself to the ground before you? Will your mother, and all your brothers come and bow down in front of you?”
  • [Jacob is probably referring to Joseph’s stepmother Leah, since Rachel was no longer living]
  • Joseph’s brothers were jealous
  • (We should tell the children now that these dreams will come true, as we will study in 2011 — the next two lessons are about the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ)

3. The Cistern and Twenty Shekels [Colleen]

use this map for today's lesson: Joseph Becomes a Slave in Egypt; travels from Hebron to Shechem, Dothan, and Egypt

  • [at least most of] the ten oldest brothers were at a pasture near Shechem, looking after the sheep; some of the children should look after these puppets, while another has Joseph; any other kids may hold Jacob, Leah, Bilhah, Zilpah, Benjamin, and/or Dinah at Hebron Valley
  • (review the map here: Hebron and Shechem)
  • Israel, who is Jacob, the father of Joseph, said, “I want to know how your brothers are doing, and the sheep. Go to your brothers, Joseph. Check the pastures near Shechem — you will find them there.”
  • “Yes father”
  • Joseph arrived near Shechem (this is 80 kilometers — if you walked from this church, up Highway 15 to the Trans-Canada Highway, you would get past the city of Chilliwack!)
  • Joseph was wandering around in the fields looking for his brothers
  • A man saw him, and asked Joseph: “What are you looking for?”
  • “I’m looking for my brothers who are caring for our sheep. Have you seen them?”
  • “They left this place. I overheard them saying that they were going to Dothan.”
  • (map: Shechem to Dothan — Joseph doll moves near the ten older brothers)
  • (Dothan is 25 km from Shechem)
  • Joseph went to Dothan, and found his brothers there
  • they saw him coming: “Look, here comes the dreamer-boy! Let’s kill him!”
  • “Yes, we could kill him and leave his body in one of these empty wells, and tell Dad that some wild animal ate him.”
  • “Ha ha! So much for his dreams then!
  • Jacob expected the oldest son, Reuben, to look after his brothers, and to be the family leader when Jacob was not around
  • “Let’s not kill him,” Reuben said. “Don’t murder him or even beat him up. Just throw him into a dry well so he’s stuck out here in the desert.”
  • Reuben planned to come back and fetch Joseph from the well and take him back to his father Jacob
  • Joseph walked to his brothers [max nine puppets should be here with Joseph: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun; Reuben would not be here]
  • they ripped off Joseph’s fancy coat
  • [some of the children remove the coat from the doll — just fine if it rips a bit]
  • threw him into a dry well [use the garbage can?]
  • (remind the kids of the well picture they are coloring)
  • without caring, these (nine) brothers sat down to eat after leaving Joseph in the well
  • they looked up and saw a caravan of Midianites coming from Gilead [see map — region east of the Jordan]
  • the brothers could tell that the Midianites were on their way to Egypt — they had their camels loaded with spices that they could sell in Egypt — gum, balm, and myrrh
  • Judah: “Hmm, we could get some money if we sold Joseph to these Midianite salesmen — that could be better than just killing him and hiding his body. After all… he is our brother.”
  • The brothers pulled Joseph up and out of the well, and took him to the Midianite salesmen
  • “Would you like to buy a strong teenage boy from us?”
  • The Midianites bought Joseph for twenty pieces of silver; they could later sell him to the Egyptians for a higher price — the Egyptians were always looking for hard-working slaves! after all, they were busy building cities, pyramids, and altars to their dead and dying gods
  • … If you were with us last year, or if you know the story of Jesus’ death, you might remember that Judas, supposed to be a friend, sold our Lord Jesus for thirty pieces of silver
    Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.’ (Matthew 26:14-16; NIV)
  • The Midianite caravan went on its way to Egypt with Joseph now
  • (show Dothan to Gaza, and the rest of Egypt, on the map)
  • In Egypt, the Midianites found a man who wanted to buy this young Hebrew slave
  • the man’s name was Potiphar, and he was an important ruler in Egypt — he was the pharaoh’s officer in charge of palace security
  • Potiphar means, “Given by Ra” — Ra was a mythical sun-god worshiped by Egyptians
  • this is the first of several bad times in Joseph’s life that we will learn about, but you should know that God chose Joseph, for His good purposes — not the least of which was to prevent a widespread famine that would endanger the family:
  • apostle Paul wrote: “We know that God always works for the good of those who love him –for those He has chosen for his purpose.” (see Romans 8:28)
  • [back to the brothers at Dothan:] Reuben went to the well, so that he could fetch Joseph and take him back to his father
  • he couldn’t find Joseph in the well, so he was sad
  • he tore his clothes
  • he went to the other nine
  • “The boy is not in the well! Where can I go now? I can’t bear to face Father!”
  • then (at least some of) the ten brothers killed a goat and dipped Joseph’s fancy coat in its blood
  • [have some children dip the coat in the diluted red paint]
  • they went back to Hebron, and showed their father Jacob the coat:
  • “Look what we found, Dad! Is this Joseph’s coat?”
  • Jacob was upset: “Yes, this is my son Joseph’s coat! Surely, a fierce animal has ripped him to pieces and eaten him.”
  • No matter what anybody said, Jacob would not stop crying over Joseph
  • According to funeral traditions, Jacob ripped his clothes and wore sackcloth (a coarse, rough, and thick cloth made of black goat’s hair, used for sacks, but also worn when mourning)
  • “I will not stop mourning for my son Joseph until the day I die!”
  • (Do you remember that Jacob tricked his father Isaac with some clothing? — he wore Esau’s clothes — now, see how his sons have tricked Jacob with some clothing!)


  1. coffee filter craft HERE;
  2. clothing relay (“180 Games” book, page 12).


Coloring sheet: Joseph thrown into the pit / well / cistern by his brothers; you have permission to print this for educational or non-profit usage


you have permission to print this for non-profit or educational purposes


from in touch ministries


click for full size


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