Summary: Overview of Joseph. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:

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Reading: Acts chapter 8 verses 8-18.

• Thanks to Andrew Lloyd Webber and a variety of catchy tunes;

• The story of Joseph is very well known.

(1). Joseph and his coat.

• Joseph and his ‘multi-coloured coat’,

• N.I.V. “Richly ornamented robe” (Genesis chapter 37 verse 3).


Many scholars believe it was probably a long sleeved garment:

• One boy was given the job of foreman over the others,

• While the others had to roll up their sleeves, or wear short sleeves for work,

• The foreman had a long sleeved coat.

• Because he gave the orders and was overseer of the project.

• Joseph was the foreman, put in charge of his brothers,

• Even though he wasn’t the eldest.

• That meant he was exempted from the menial tasks of farming.

• And as you can imagine, his brothers were not happy about this.

(2). Joseph The favourite:


• Joseph was born to Jacob and Rachel in their old age, and became Jacob’s favourite son.

• He is the great grandson of Abraham, the fourth generation.


• And Joseph will continue an unusual pattern found in Genesis.

• That is, that the younger, NOT the oldest will receive the blessing,

The blessing meant:

• Financially you received double, a greater inheritance.

• Secondly you were regarded as the head of the family (took control).

• The natural heir, Reuben who was the first born (Genesis chapter 49 verse 3),

• Will once again be overlooked,

• And it will be the younger son (Joseph),

• Who will get the father’s blessing and also the greater inheritance and prominence.


• Joseph not Rubin.

• Jacob not Esau;

• The Israelites trace their ancestry back to Jacob not Esau.

• Isaac not Ishmael.

• A pattern is evolving that the younger son, NOT the oldest will receive the blessing.

(3). Joseph The distinct.

• Joseph is different in many ways from the three generations before him,

• God dealt with Joseph differently than he did with Abraham, Isaac & Jacob.


• God is often called; “The God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob”.

• God is never called; “The God of Joseph”.


• Angels appeared to Abraham, Isaac & Jacob.

• But they never appear to Joseph.


• God spoke directly to Abraham, Isaac & Jacob,

• But he never speaks directly to Joseph.

• He did speak through dreams and enabled him to interpret dreams,

• But God never spoke directly to Joseph.


• We never read of Joseph talking or praying to God.

• So there is a difference when it comes to Joseph.

Joseph’s story is a key narrative because it gives us an explanation, a link:

• Between Genesis and Exodus,

• Telling us why & how this Israeli family ended up in Egypt.

• Genesis Chapter 47 verse 13:

• A famine arose and their was a shortage of food.

• So they go down into Egypt and stay for 400 years,

• And this family grow into and become a great nation.

• Without the story of Joseph,

• The book of Exodus would not make sense.

4 Levels or 4 ways to read this story:

(1), On a human level.

• On a human level, it is a very vivid story:

• With very real & strong characters, it is a great adventure;

• And in many ways it is stranger than fiction,

• That’s why it makes a good musical or film.

You could summarise Josephs life-story into 2 chapters:

• Chapter 1: Down.

• Chapter 2: Up.

• Chapter 1 Down: Joseph the man who went all the way down;

• From his fathers favourite son to being a household slave.

• Chapter 2 Up: and he went all the way up:

• From being a forgotten prisoner to being Prime Minister.

So on a human level:

• It is a cracking story;

• Which is why it is a very popular musical,

• With adults in the West End,

• Or with school children who perform their own school concerts.

An over view of Josephs life:


• His birth to age seventeen.

• Is told in Genesis chapter 30 verse 24 to chapter 37 verse 2:

• During this time; Joseph’s family is in transition, unsettled and on the move.

• We read that his family are involved in jealousies, lust and hatred.


• Seventeen to age thirty;

• Genesis chapter 37 verse 2 to chapter 41 verse 46:

• During this time Joseph enters into young manhood, and his story takes off,

• He is rejected by his brothers, sold into slavery and he ends up in prison.


• Age thirty to his death;

• Genesis chapter 41 verse 46 to chapter 50 verse 26:

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