Joseph the Interpreter of Dreams

Profile of Joseph in the Bible, trusting God in everything

Illustration of Joseph in the Bible during his dream, sleeping being visited by an angel


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Joseph in the Bible is one of the greatest heroes of the Old Testament, second perhaps, only to Moses. His life too many twists and turns, spiritually as well as practically, having the various occupations of shepherd, household slave, convict and prison administrator, and prime minister of Egypt.

What separated him from others was his absolute trust in God, regardless of what happened to him. He is a shining example of what can happen when a person surrenders to God and obeys completely.

Family Tree

Father: Jacob
Mother: Rachel
Grandfather: Isaac
Great grandfather: Abraham
Brothers: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher
Sister: Dinah
Wife: Asenath
Sons: Manasseh, Ephraim

Joseph's Background

In his youth, Joseph was from the town of Canaan. Joseph was proud, enjoying his status as his father's favorite. Joseph bragged, giving no thought to how it hurt his brothers. They became so angry with his arrogance that they threw him down a dry well, then sold him into slavery to a passing caravan.

Taken to Egypt, Joseph was sold again to Potiphar, an official in Pharaoh's household. Through hard work and humility, Joseph rose to the position of overseer of Potiphar's entire estate. But Potiphar's wife lusted after Joseph. When Joseph rejected her sinful advance, she lied and said Joseph tried to rape her. Potiphar had Joseph thrown into prison.

Joseph must have wondered why he was being punished for doing the right thing. Even so, he worked hard again and was put in charge of all the prisoners. Two of Pharaoh's servants were hauled in. Each told Joseph about their dreams.

Dream Interpreter

God had given Joseph the gift of interpreting dreams. He told the cupbearer his dream meant he would be freed and returned to his former position. Joseph told the baker his dream meant he would be hanged. Both interpretations proved true.

Two years later, Pharaoh had a dream. Only then did the cupbearer remember Joseph's gift. Joseph interpreted that dream, and his God-given wisdom was so great that Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all of Egypt. Joseph stockpiled grain to avoid a terrible famine.

Joseph's brothers came to Egypt to buy food, and after many tests, Joseph revealed himself to them. He forgave them, then sent for their father, Jacob, and the rest of his people.

They all came to Egypt and settled in the land the Pharaoh gave them. Out of much adversity, Joseph saved the 12 Tribes of Israel, God's chosen people.

Joseph is a "type" of Christ, a character in the Bible with godly qualities who foreshadows the Messiah, savior of his people.

Accomplishments of Joseph in the Bible

Joseph trusted God no matter how bad his situation got. He was a skilled, conscientious administrator. He saved not only his own people but all of Egypt from starvation.

Joseph's Weaknesses

Joseph was conceited in his youth, causing dissension in his family.

Joseph's Strengths

After many setbacks, Joseph learned humility and wisdom. He was a hard worker, even while a slave. Joseph loved his family and forgave terrible wrongs done to him.

Life Lessons of Joseph in the Bible

God will give us the strength to endure our painful circumstances. Forgiveness is always possible with the help of God. Sometimes suffering is part of God's plan to bring about a greater good. When God is all you have, God is enough.

Referenced in the Bible

The account of Joseph in the Bible is found in Genesis chapters 30-50. Other references include: Exodus 1:5-8, 13:19; Numbers 1:10, 32, 13:7-11, 26:28, 37, 27:1, 32:33, 34:23-24, 36:1, 5, 12; Deuteronomy 27:12, 33:13-16; Joshua 16:1-4, 17:2-17, 18:5, 11; Judges 1:22, 35; 2 Samuel 19:20; 1 Kings 11:28; 1 Chronicles 2:2, 5:1-2, 7:29, 25:2-9; Psalm 77:15, 78:67, 80:1, 81:5, 105:17; Ezekial 37:16, 37:19, 47:13, 48:32; Amos 5:6-15, 6:6, Obadiah 1:18; Zechariah 10:6; John 4:5, Acts 7:10-18; Hebrews 11:22; Revelation 7:8.

Key Verses

Genesis 37:4
When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. (NIV)

Genesis 39:2
The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. (NIV)

Genesis 50:20
"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." (NIV)

Hebrews 11:22
By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones. (NIV)

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Your Citation
Zavada, Jack. "Joseph the Interpreter of Dreams." Learn Religions, Apr. 5, 2023, Zavada, Jack. (2023, April 5). Joseph the Interpreter of Dreams. Retrieved from Zavada, Jack. "Joseph the Interpreter of Dreams." Learn Religions. (accessed June 8, 2023).