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Old Testament - Lesson 12

Lesson 12 – “Fruitful in The Land of My Affliction”
Taught by Jeff Stone March 21, 2010

This is on of my favorite stories in the Old Testament. Two great lessons are taught. First, forgiveness. If ever there was a beautiful story of Christ-like forgiveness, it is the story of Joseph forgiving his brothers. The second great lesson is that of faith in times of trials.

After all that Joseph of Egypt went through, he was still able to say, in Genesis 45:8, that ” . . . it was not you [his brothers] that sent me hither [Egypt], but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.” Finally, there is section that is not really touched on in the lesson manual but is covered in the Institute Manual, and that is Joseph as a Christ-Type.

Scriptures Covered in This Lesson:

Handouts for this lesson:
The image below helps when following the history of Joseph’s Story. Click on the image to get a printable version.

Joseph of Egypt

Short Historical Recap:

  • Joseph’s Brothers sold him into Egypt  because of his dreams (Genesis 37:7, 9)
  • He immediately finds favor with Potiphar (military leader)
  • He’s thrown into prison for a sin he did not commit (Lesson 11)
  • In prison he interprets (by the spirit) dreams of Pharaoh’s butler and baker
  • 2 years later Joseph interprets the dream of the Pharaoh (Genesis 41:25–28, 39–42)
  • Joseph becomes the second in command of all Egypt – second only to Pharaoh
  • Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh are born
  • Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt for food and Joseph recognizes them
  • He sends them back to bring their younger brother, Benjamin, as “proof” that they are who they claim
  • Reuben (Genesis 42:37) and Judah (Genesis 43:9) make a promise to Jacob to protect Benjamin
  • Joseph’s brothers give obeisance to Joseph as they dine together (Genesis 43: 28)
  • He sees Benjamin and cannot hold back his emotions (Genesis 43:29–31)
  • Joseph sends them home but not before testing them
  • He sets Benjamin up to look like he is a thief
  • Judah offers himself as a sacrifice to take the punishment for Benjamin (Genesis 44:16)
  • Joseph reveals himself to his brothers (Genesis 45)

I cannot put this story in words better than those found in Genesis 45. Please take the time to read this chapter. The emotions of Joseph and his true love for his brothers is truly inspirational. It makes me think twice about holding grudges toward family members and in-laws who have “offended” me. None of them sold me as a slave to another country. None of their actions led me to be thrown in prison for a crime I didn’t commit. Think of all that Joseph went though, yet he saw the true change of heart in his brothers and fully forgave them. Their change of heart is yet another amazing story. They felt that true sorrow and that true desire to change their hearts that Alma talks about in Alma 5:12–14.

Faith in Times of Trial:
From the early days of Joseph’s life he knew he was to become a leader. What he did not know is what trials that would bring. Brothers who hated him, wanted to kill him, sold him into slavery which eventually led him down a path to prison. Yet through it all, he kept the faith. He saw the Lord’s hand in it all. He knew that had he not been exactly where he was throughout each of these experiences, he would not have been in a position to save his family from starvation and famine. His family . . . The tribes of Israel! The entire Israelite nation could have been lost. But through Joseph and his faith he was an instrument in the Lord’s hand to preserve Jacob’s (and thus Abraham’s) seed.

Joseph as a Christ Type:
What follows is a complete cut and paste right out of the Institute Manual for the Old Testament Lesson 8

This touching scene, in which Joseph finally revealed himself to his brothers, demonstrates the Christlike nature of his character. He forgave without bitterness, extended love when undeserved, and saw the Lord’s hand in all that happened. But his similarities to Christ go much deeper.

As Nephi said, all things from the beginning of the world were given to typify, or symbolize, Christ (see 2 Nephi 11:4; Moses 6:63). It has already been shown how Abraham was a type of the Father and Isaac a type of Jesus when Abraham was commanded to offer Isaac in sacrifice. This act was “a similitude of God and his Only Begotten Son” (Jacob 4:5).

Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught that all prophets are types of Christ: “A prophet is one who has the testimony of Jesus, who knows by the revelations of the Holy Ghost to his soul that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

In addition to this divine knowledge, many of them lived in special situations or did particular things that singled them out as types and patterns and shadows of that which was to be in the life of him who is our Lord.” (The Promised Messiah, p. 448.)

Likewise, the life and mission of Joseph typifies the life and mission of Jesus. Consider the following:

  1. Joseph was the favored son of his father; so was Jesus (see Genesis 37:3; Matthew 3:17).
  2. Joseph was rejected by his brothers, the Israelites, as was Jesus (see Genesis 37:4; John 1:11; Isaiah 53:3; 1 Nephi 19:13–14).
  3. Joseph was sold by his brothers into the hands of the Gentiles, just as Jesus was (see Genesis 37:25–27; Matthew 20:19).
  4. Judah, the head of the tribe of Judah, proposed the sale of Joseph. Certain leaders of the Jews in Jesus’ day turned Jesus over to the Romans. Judas (the Greek spelling of Judah) was the one who actually sold Jesus. (See Genesis 37:26; Matthew 27:3 .)
  5. Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver, the price of a slave his age. Christ was sold for thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave His age. (See Genesis 37:28; Matthew 27:3; Exodus 21:32; Leviticus 27:5 .)
  6. In their very attempt to destroy Joseph, his brothers actually set up the conditions that would bring about their eventual temporal salvation—that is, Joseph, by virtue of being sold, would become their deliverer. Jesus, by His being given into the hands of the Gentiles, was crucified and completed the atoning sacrifice, becoming the Deliverer for all mankind.
  7. Joseph began his mission of preparing salvation for Israel at age thirty, just as Jesus began His ministry of preparing salvation for the world at age thirty (see Genesis 41:46; Luke 3:23).
  8. When Joseph was finally raised to his exalted position in Egypt, all bowed the knee to him. All will eventually bow the knee to Jesus. (See Genesis 41:43; D&C 88:104 .)
  9. Joseph provided bread for Israel and saved them from death, all without cost. Jesus, the Bread of Life, did the same for all men. (See Genesis 42:35; John 6:48–57; 2 Nephi 9:50 .)