Joseph as a Ruler | Bible Story

Joseph as a Ruler

A long time ago, there was a young man named Joseph who lived in the land of Canaan. Joseph was the son of Jacob, who had twelve sons. Even though Joseph was one of the youngest, he was very wise and could understand dreams better than anyone else.  

Joseph’s brothers were very jealous of him because their father Jacob loved Joseph the most. They became so jealous that one day when Joseph came to check on them in the fields, they threw him into a deep pit! Then, some traders came along, and Joseph’s brothers sold him to them as a slave.

The traders took Joseph far away to Egypt, which was ruled by a powerful pharaoh. In Egypt, Joseph was sold again, this time to a rich Egyptian named Potiphar who was the captain of the palace guard.  

Joseph worked hard for Potiphar and was so honest and responsible that Potiphar put him in charge of his whole household. But then Potiphar’s wife started telling lies about Joseph, and he was thrown into prison! Even in prison, Joseph remained cheerful and trusted in God.

One night, both the pharaoh’s butler and baker had strange dreams that troubled them. When Joseph asked what was wrong, they told him their dreams. Joseph listened carefully and said, “God alone can make known the meaning, but please tell me your dreams.”

The butler went first. He said, “In my dream, there was a vine with three branches that budded, bloomed, and produced clusters of ripe grapes.”

Joseph replied, “The three branches are three days. In three days, Pharaoh will lift you up and restore you to your position as his butler.”

Then the baker excitedly told his dream. “In my dream,” he said, “there were three baskets of bread on my head, and the birds were eating the bread in the top basket.”

But this time Joseph’s face fell. “The three baskets are also three days,” he told the baker solemnly. “But in three days, Pharaoh will hangMan you from a tree, and the birds will eat your flesh.”  

Sure enough, three days later, the pharaoh called for his butler and baker. Just as Joseph had interpreted, the butler was restored to his position, while the baker was executed. 

Two years passed, and the butler forgot all about Joseph languishing in prison. But then one night, Pharaoh himself had a dream that deeply troubled him. In his dream, seven plump, healthy cows came up out of the Nile River, followed by seven ugly, thin cows that ate the healthy ones. Then Pharaoh dreamed of seven plump, healthy ears of grain, which were swallowed by seven thin, scorched ears.

When none of the wise men could tell Pharaoh what the dreams meant, the butler suddenly remembered Joseph in prison and his amazing gift. He told Pharaoh all about how Joseph had accurately interpreted his dream years ago.

Pharaoh immediately summoned Joseph from prison. After Joseph was washed and given new clothes, he was brought before Pharaoh. “I had a dream,” Pharaoh told him, “and none of the wise men can interpret it. But I’ve heard you can unlock the meaning of dreams when you hear them.”

Joseph humbly replied, “It is not in me, O Pharaoh. God will give you an answer that will set your mind at rest.”

So Pharaoh described his two dreams about the cows and the ears of grain. Joseph realized right away that God was giving Pharaoh an important message. 

“The two dreams mean the same thing,” Joseph explained. “The seven healthy cows and ears of grain represent seven years of great abundance in Egypt. But the seven thin, sickly cows and scorched ears symbolize seven years of terrible famine that will follow. God is warning that after seven years of plenty, there will be seven years when nothing grows and the land produces no food.”

Then Joseph gave Pharaoh some wise advice. “You should choose a man of understanding and wisdom to oversee the collection and storage of one-fifth of all the food grown during the seven good years,” he said. “That way there will be enough to feed everyone during the seven years of famine.”

Pharaoh was stunned by Joseph’s God-given wisdom. He said to his advisors, “Can we find anyone else like him – a man who is filled with the spirit of God?”

So Pharaoh made the decision to appoint Joseph as second-in-command over all of Egypt! He took off his signet ring and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in fine linen robes and placed a gold chain around his neck. Joseph was just thirty years old when he was given charge over all the land of Egypt.

For the next seven years, Joseph traveled everywhere, supervising the collection and storage of one-fifth of all the grain harvested. So much grain was stored that it was impossible to keep track of the amount – it was more