Lesson: “Joseph” 3 of 3: Genesis 42 – 45

January 18, 2011

for Saturday 22 January 2011 — some regular students are away; we had 9 children

Topic: Joseph and brothers during famine

Volunteers: Rita, Josie, Paul, Caleb

Driver: Nora

Memory Verse: Jacob’s sons were jealous of Joseph, so they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him and saved him from all his troubles. (Acts 7:9-10) [The kids have prints of this; also, the younger kids have this verse is on their cut out and fold houses]


  • prepare the two lesson rooms — have a map in each room for geographical reference during the lessons — tokens representing, in particular, jacob, joseph, benjamin, simeon, and the 9 other brothers placed at Canaan and Egypt will help keep track of who traveled where, and when; for example, benjamin was not with his brothers on their first visit to egypt — he stayed with jacob; also, simeon did not return to canaan after the first visit to egypt
  • (10:00am) name tags, coloring pages
  • together: Matthew 6 “Lord’s prayer
  • review class rules — “running” is allowed during break time, in the fellowship hall; participation in direct activity is not required, but each child is busy doing something — i.e., nobody is wandering around and/or distracting others
  • Sing — [we started psalm 105 stanza 8 last week]
  • [Two volunteers] to little lambs room with the 6 or so younger kids. [Rita and ?] stay in catechism room with the older group — of our regular students this is: michael (older), ryan, sey[..], jasper, alicia, and john.
  • Lesson — (see below)
  • memory verse (see above)
  • Older group return to catechism room
  • Crafts/activities — see below
  • (11:00 am) SNACK/BREAK
  • (11:20 am) two-team review relay game with questions from today’s class
  • crafts/activities — continued
  • stickers?
  • Sing
  • Praying: [Rita]
  • (11:50 am)
  • tidy

Additional Materials

  • word search puzzle — print page 6 of THIS PDF FILE
  • poster of Joseph with brothers bowing before him, from GCP, Younger Elementary, Fall 2010, Lesson 12, Teaching Aid 12 [Paul will bring this]
  • “ups and downs” cards from last week [one set is on bulletin board; Paul is bringing the other set]
  • during lesson, use the stand-up cutout characters (in the kitchen) — they can help us show, for example, that Simeon stayed in Egypt after the first visit, etc.

Craft/Activity Ideas

  • the older kids can continue their newspaper project; the younger can finish their paper houses, and begin a newspaper project as well
  • (from ebibleteacher.com) Activity: Make Egyptian face masks to show how Joseph was able to deceive his brothers. Make face masks by cutting eye and mouth holes in a paper plate. Make the eyes pointy at the corners. Paint or color “make-up” on the plate: use black to outline the eyes, and let the kids decorate the rest. Show a picture from a book on ancient Egypt to give the kids a reference. Then hold up the masks and have the students see how hard it would be to recognize Joseph, especially when you weren’t expecting [him] to be there.
  • “Sometimes we don’t know how things will turn out” from GCP, Older Elementary, Fall 2010, Lesson 12, Student Activity SA 12a [SS5112]
  • “Pyramid Toss” from “180 Faith-Charged Games for Children’s Ministry,” page 14
  • THIS (click) activity sheet

Joseph and Benjamin in Egypt


These lesson notes are in point form only, to help memorizing, and recall during story-time. Most of the wording choices come from the NIrV translation.

NOTE: I couldn’t find any info on this, but I believe we commonly underestimate Benjamin’s age in Genesis 42. I just added this at answers.com — let me know if you disagree:

Benjamin is referred to only as the youngest son. However, he must have been at least 22 years old when he first visited Egypt with his brothers on their second visit.

Joseph was at home when Benjamin was born; Joseph was 17 when he was sold into Egypt; Joseph was 30 when he was set over all of Egypt by Pharaoh; there were 7 good years before the famine; there had been 2 years of famine before the brothers’ second (Benjamin’s first) visit to Egypt.

English versions of the Bible translate “נַ֫עַר” as “boy” for Benjamin in these chapters, but the same word is used to mean “young man” elsewhere (e.g. Genesis 34:19).


  • there was famine all over the world
  • Joseph was governor of Egypt, where there was grain


  • Jacob found out there was grain in Egypt
  • Jacob: “Go to Egypt”
  • ten went down: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun; (unknown to Jacob, Joseph was in Egypt; Benjamin stayed with his father)
  • Jacob didn’t send Benjamin with them, afraid he might be harmed
  • Joseph’s brothers arrived, bowed down to him [recall Joseph’s two dreams]
  • Joseph recognized his brothers, but pretended to be a stranger
  • Joseph spoke to them in a mean way: “Where do you come from?”
  • [conversation with Joseph questioning and accusing as spies, brothers remaining honest in their answers]
  • Joseph demands that youngest brother comes, as testing their honesty
  • all ten kept under guard for three days
  • third day, Joseph spoke to them again: “Do what I say; I have respect for God; let one brother stay here in prison; the rest take grain back; you must bring your youngest brother to me”
  • brothers speculate God “is punishing us” because of what happened when Joseph was 17
  • Reuben: “Didn’t I tell you?”
  • unknown to them, Joseph understood their conversation; he had somebody explain their words to him in Egyptian language — also, he probably remembered some Hebrew!
  • Joseph turned away and sobbed
  • had Simeon tied up in front of them
  • bags filled with grain; also had each’s money put back into his sack; also extra food for the journey itself
  • they loaded grain on their donkeys and left
  • night came, they stopped and one opened his sack to feed his donkey
  • he saw the money on top
  • ‘they had a sinking feeling in their hearts’
  • “What has God done to us?”
  • came to Jacob in Canaan, told him everything [re-tell this to the children]
  • Jacob: “You have taken my children away from me. Joseph is gone. Simeon is gone. Now you want to take Benjamin.”
  • Reuben: “put both my sons to death if I don’t bring Benjamin back.”
  • Jacob: “No — his brother is dead – he’s the only one [of Rachel, his favorite] left here with me — if he’s harmed, I would die in sorrow”

Joseph's brothers come to Egypt for grain

SECOND VISIT (Genesis 43:1-24)

  • the food from Egypt did not last long
  • [now it was two years into the seven years of famine]
  • Jacob: “Go down to Egypt again, and buy more food for us”
  • Judah: “It is of no use for us to go to Egypt, unless we take Benjamin with us.”
  • Jacob: “Why did you tell the man that you had a brother?”
  • Sons: “He kept asking about our family.”
  • Judah: “I will take care of Benjamin.”
  • Jacob: “take a present to the man”; (lotion, honey, spices, myrrh, pistachio nuts, almonds); also “take twice as much money”
  • Jacob: “may God show mercy; may the man let Simeon and Benjamin return with you”
  • ten brothers to Egypt a second time (Benjamin in place of Simeon this time)
  • bowed before Joseph, as before
  • Joseph saw Benjamin was with them
  • “Make ready a dinner, for all these men shall dine with me today.”
  • brothers afraid because of the money in the sacks
  • brothers: “we’re not sure who put our money in our sacks”
  • Joseph’s manager: “your God must have sent you this as a gift. I had your money.”
  • Joseph’s manager brought Simeon out of the prison
  • manager gave them water to wash their feet, per custom of the land
  • brothers prepared their gifts for Joseph

DINNER — Genesis 43:24-44:14

  • at noon, Joseph came home
  • They brought him the presents from their father, bowed before him
  • Joseph: “is your father still living?”
  • Joseph: “is this your youngest brother?”
  • Joseph: “may God be gracious to you, my son”
  • Joseph could not keep back the tears — wept in his own room
  • washed his face, came out again, ordered his servants to set the table
  • Joseph’s table for himself, another table for his Egyptian officers, and another for the eleven brothers; [according to their beliefs, Egyptians could not eat with Hebrews]
  • Joseph ordered the seats by age; the men were surprised at this [how could any of the Egyptians know the exact ordering by age?]
  • Joseph arranged five times as much food to Benjamin as to the others
  • Joseph: “Fill the men’s sacks with grain; each man’s money in his sack; my silver cup in the sack of the youngest”
  • brothers started out early the next morning
  • on Joseph’s orders, his manager followed the brothers: “Why have you wronged me?” (re “my master’s cup”)
  • “You may search us; if one has the cup, he will die and the rest will become your slaves”
  • they took down the sacks from the donkeys and opened them
  • in each man’s sack was his money, for the second time
  • governor Joseph’s silver cup was found in Benjamin’s sack
  • the brothers tore their clothes and returned to Joseph’s palace — they threw themselves in front of Joseph

JOSEPH REVEALS HIS SECRET — Genesis 44:15-45:28

  • Joseph: “What wicked thing have you done?”
  • Judah: “Now we must all be slaves”
  • Joseph: “Only the one who has taken my cup”
  • Judah fell at Joseph’s feet: “let my youngest brother go home to his father; [explains dearness of Benjamin to Jacob]; I will stay here as slave in his place”
  • Joseph could no longer keep his secret
  • sent all of his Egyptian attendants out of the room
  • everyone in Pharaoh’s house heard about how loudly Joseph sobbed
  • “I am Joseph — is my father still alive?”
  • brothers speechless with fear
  • Joseph: “come close to me”
  • “Do not feel troubled because of what you did; God sent me before you to save your lives”
  • “There will be 5 more years of famine”
  • “God has made me ruler over all Egypt”
  • “Bring my father and all his family; you will live in Goshen“; [show on map]
  • Joseph placed his arms around Benjamin’s neck, sobbed
  • Benjamin also hugged him and sobbed
  • Joseph kissed all his brothers; then they talked with him
  • brothers went home with gifts and food and wagons for families’ ride to Egypt — [explain 45:17-28 in as much detail as time permits]

Questions for Review Game

  • Why did Joseph’s brothers have to go to Egypt to buy grain?
  • Why didn’t Jacob send Benjamin the first time?
  • Why was Joseph harsh with his brothers, and pretend he didn’t know them?
  • What did Joseph ask his brothers to do to prove they were honest men?
  • Why did Reuben think they were being punished?
  • Which brother stayed in jail?
  • Why were the brothers afraid when they saw the money in their sacks?
  • Why did Joseph’s brothers return to Egypt?
  • What did the brothers bring with them to Egypt (second time)?
  • Why did Joseph cry?
  • What did Judah offer to do to save Benjamin?
  • How could Joseph tell that his brothers had changed?
  • What did Jacob say when his sons told him that Joseph was still alive?

Coloring Pages


  • Page 8 and 9 in THIS PDF FILE;
  • “Joseph forgives his brothers,” by Shirley Dobson


Joseph Converses with Judah his brother (by Tissot)

The cup found, by Tissot


One Response to “Lesson: “Joseph” 3 of 3: Genesis 42 – 45”

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