Thursday, March 24, 2022

Joseph in Egypt (Genesis 40-45)

Joseph the Egyptian Prisoner

READ Genesis 39:21-23; Genesis 40:14-15, 23

Talk about the inmates running the asylum!  How did Joseph came to gain the trust of the Prison Warden to this degree?

He was a man of integrity and though wrongly imprisoned, would not seek to escape.

Even after the butler forgot Joseph for 2 years, he would not escape.


READ Genesis 40:1, 8-13, 16-19

If dream interpretations belong to God, how was Joseph able to understand them correctly?

He has a spiritual gift.

God inspired him with the understanding; by this point in his life, Joseph was animated by the Holy Spirit (mind of God), so God’s thoughts flowed into him as if they were his (and they were, as he and God were becoming one in spirit as Joseph continued to submit his will to God’s and honor the situation God had placed him in by staying in the prison).

What is the objective of spiritual gifts?

To help others to come unto Christ - they are ministering gifts not self-aggrandizing gifts.


READ Acts 2:17-18

Who can have these gifts?

Anyone, as God is no respecter of persons - including a youngest brother of 11 or a young, foreign prisoner.

There is no gender or age requirement for spiritual gifts: women have the right to receive them as much as men do, and the young can receive these gifts as easily as the elderly.

Spiritual gifts must be sought for from God; who ever does the spiritual work can have the spiritual gifts.


READ Genesis 41:1-8

What do you think the dreams mean?

7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine.

As Ebenezer Scrooge might point out, Pharaoh needs to change his diet or make sure he isn’t eating so close to bedtime.


READ Genesis 41:14-16, 25-32

Why does God speak to people in dreams?

It is a very subtle test.

It is a precursor to receiving a more.

He can appear to people in dreams without having to shield them from His glory.

What would happen today if a political leader like the President of the United States or the Russian Prime Minister received a dream like this and not the President of the LDS Church?

People would think he was crazy if the leader thought it meant something… dreams are just dreams! (like Hitler being into astrology).

Church members may not believe them unless they were legitimized by the “authorized” leader (unless the political leader was a Republican…).

What lessons can we learn from this experience of Pharaoh and young Joseph?

You don’t need to be a “Church member” to receive revelation or be spiritually gifted.

You don’t need to be a Church leader to receive or interpret revelation.

God may show a vision to one person and the interpretation of that vision to another person; this would not be done out of whim but because it is important for both parties to have this shared spiritual experience.


READ Jeremiah 31:33-34 and D&C 84:98-99

What does the Lord tell us about who shall KNOW Him in the Last Days?

ALL shall know Him, from the least to the greatest.

What does KNOW him mean?

To know is to KNOW He lives but was slain - see 3 Nephi 11:14-15.

To know Him because He has taken up His abode or habitation with you and you have spent lots of time with Him (see John 14:21-23).



Joseph the Egyptian Leader

READ Genesis 41:37-41

What does this experience teach us about Pharaoh?

He wanted someone filled with the Holy Spirit to help him lead the people; perhaps he doubted the degree to which he had that Spirit, though; or perhaps he wanted those who governed with him to share it, too.

He was righteous enough to recognize/discern that Joseph had the Spirit of the living God in him.


READ Genesis 41:47-49

Did it cost Egypt to store the excess food?

Yes - they would have had to have built granaries and spent the labor to carefully store it.

Would they have done this without Joseph’s warning to Pharaoh? 

It’s doubtful.

The world usually assumes that when things are good, there is no reason why they won’t continue that way (especially if they think that their success is attributed to their own efforts and smarts); plus, as resources are never infinite, any expenditure of time and money on one project, takes away from other projects that could have been accomplished – it’s opportunity cost.


READ Genesis 41:54-57

If they had the foresight to store the grain, in the case of an international crisis like this today, what would the “world power” likely do?

Either sell the food at a premium or…

Gain power over the countries and people who bought or were given the food - “you owe me”.

Not to be too cynical but all organizations work to create value for themselves; this is why God wishes that we would personally be engaged in good causes and do many things of our own free will (see D&C 58:27) rather than leave it to an organization with an agenda (however “good” that agenda might seem to themselves).


READ Genesis 42:5-8, 14-15,19-27

What does Joseph do to his brothers?

He disguises his true identity from them.

He gives them the food.

He accuses them of being spies.

He tells them that they need to bring back Benjamin.

He keeps Simeon in prison as ransom.

He listens to them “repent” of killing Joseph.

He hid their money in their sacks.

So, they know they are in big trouble if they ever return for Simeon.

They come back for more food, bringing Benjamin.

Joseph has his precious silver cup hidden in Benjamin’s sack - stealing it is a death sentence by Egyptian law.

Judah (who sold him to the Arabs in the first place) begs to be punished in Benjamin’s place.


READ Genesis 45:1-8

When Joseph finally reveals himself to his brothers, what does he tell them?

That God sent him to Egypt.

While the brothers betrayed him and sold him into slavery, God had a plan the whole time.  God took advantage of the (poor) use of agency by the brothers to enable Joseph to become the person the Lord wanted him to become – and to save the brothers at the same time.  However, God did not inspire the brothers to sell Joseph into slavery. 

Last week we talked about Joseph’s two dreams - How did the temporal salvation dream (about the grain) play out?

Joseph is “broken off” to a place apart from the House of Israel.

Joseph resides in a distant land, unknown to his family (where he will live until his death).

Joseph’s experience (slavery, temptation, wrongly accused, prison, forgotten, finally triumph) in the distant land prepares the way for the salvation of Israel.

Israel began to be saved when they learned of Joseph (or what he had caused to happen as the Captain of Egypt), who was separated.

They bow down to him and he makes himself known unto them - their temporal salvation is also the reunion with their lost brother who they had sold.


READ JST Genesis 48:8-11

How does the spiritual salvation through Joseph (the “star” dream) mirror the temporal salvation he provided?

Joseph had the birthright to receive the High Priesthood or Holy Order (the Coat of Many Colors or Coat of Light was a proof of his having the birthright).

Through his faithfulness to the Lord throughout all his trials in Egypt, he had gained the ordination from God; and through that High Priesthood, his seed (Ephraim and Manasseh through Lehi) would bless all of Israel in the last days.


READ JST Genesis 50:25

What part of Joseph’s family is broken off and removed to a place apart from Israel?

Lehi and his family.

Where is the distant land and how do we know it was unknown to Israel?

The Americas are promised to Joseph (Ether 13:6-7).

Christ told the Nephites that Israel didn’t know about them (3 Nephi 15:19-21).

How do the experiences of the tribe of Joseph in the distant land prepare the way for the salvation of Israel?

The Book of Mormon is the means of bringing salvation to Israel by restoring the true doctrine of Christ and the covenants through which the remnant of Israel can know Him (JST Genesis 50:31-32).

The work of the gentile Egyptians in growing, harvesting and storing the life-giving food mirrors the work of the latter-day gentiles.

The Egyptians were saved by the food first - Israel came only after the famine had been two years into its seven-year cycle. (2 Nephi 30:3); the gentiles are the “last” that would become “first” in the latter-day restoration of the fullness of the Gospel of Christ.

How does Israel begin to be saved by learning about Joseph of Egypt? (READ 2 Nephi 30:4-7)

They learn that THEY are the lost ones because they don’t know who they are - until they read the Book of Mormon.

They learn the truth about the Messiah - that he is Jesus Christ.

They learn about the covenants they’ve been promised and HOW great things the Lord has done to them.

How does Israel bow down to Joseph in the last days?

They receive the gospel from Joseph (Ephraim) where they fall down before “him” and are crowned with glory (D&C 133:30-34).

They receive it at the hand of Joseph Smith (2 Nephi 3:6-7, 15) – one “like unto” Joseph of Egypt – via the Book of Mormon.

How is Joseph’s saving of the House of Israel from physical and spiritual death a type of Christ?

He is the beloved son.

It is divinely revealed that he will rule over Israel.

The children of Israel reject him out of jealousy and hate.

Notwithstanding their treatment of him, he seeks out his brothers on behalf of his father.

The children of Israel conspire to kill him.

He is betrayed by the hand of Judah (Greek = Judas).

He is sold for the price of a slave.

This very attempt to destroy him sets in motion the events that will eventually save the House of Israel from death.

He resists temptation perfectly.

He begins his public mission at the age of 30.

He provides “bread” for Israel (sacrificing His body to death and the resurrection He then attained) - saving them from death.

He offers that bread without price (as Joseph of Egypt gives his brothers their money back).

In the offering of that bread, he offers them the opportunity to repent.

And if Joseph is a type of Christ, then who are we?

The children of Israel.


READ AGAIN Genesis 45:1-5 and 42:21-24

If Joseph is a type of Christ, why does He weep for us?

When we finally see Him for who He is, we hold ourselves back from Him, we prefer to shrink into the shadows because of the guilt we feel over the pain we’ve caused Him.

And the realization that each of our sins has been a failure to love Him, but we would rather “sell Him” and profit.

So, He weeps for the separation that we MAINTAIN, even when He is before us and has revealed Himself to us in the flesh.

But He continues to plead to us “come near to me, I pray you”; He begs that we “lay aside the sins and guilt and allow me to heal you with the bread of life”.


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