Genesis 12-50: Abraham to Joseph


Lesson B, Week 2


“The Case of the Amazing Dream Baby”


Scripture:  Genesis 37-50 (the Joseph story)


Memory Verse:  Romans 8:28 “We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him.”





Objectives: Students will be able to:



Gathering Time: (Coach)


The Coach leads the opening routine: snack, fellowship, prayer wall activity, and prayer chain.  Name tags are available.


Workshop Lesson Procedure:


Introduction: (Coach)

  1. Use the visual on the timeline from last week to remind the class they are studying Joseph.  Ask where the story is found in the Bible—Genesis..  Ask who was Joseph’s father—Jacob.  Ask if they know who Jacob’s father and grandfather were—Issac and Abraham.  The group that has already studied the Abraham lessons in this unit will not require much more explanation at this point, but for the class doing Joseph first, you may explain that God promised Abraham that he would be a blessing to the world and make his descendants into a great nation and the story of Joseph is part of how that came to be.
  2. Introduce the guide for the lesson.


Scripture/Bible Story: (Guide)


  1. Review the Bible story.  Ask students who were present last week to give a summary of the Joseph story.  Prompt them as necessary with questions to cover the following points:

Jacob had four wives and four sets of children.  These half brothers and sisters didn’t get along with each other.  Things got even worse when the most favored son -- named Joseph -- had two dreams that made his brothers angry.  One dream showed their bundles of wheat bowing down to his bundle of wheat.  Another had the sun and the moon and eleven stars bowing to his star.  To most of the other brothers, that sounded like Joseph was trying to take over the whole family.  So, they kidnapped Joseph, sold him to a slave trader who took him to Egypt and tricked Jacob and Joseph’s other brother Reuben into believing that a wild animal had eaten him.  All this happened when Joseph was just 17.

The slave trader sold Joseph to a man in Egypt named Potiphar, who was captain of the king’s guards.  Joseph was a good and wise servant, but when he rejected the sexual advances of Potiphar’s wife, she convinced Potiphar to throw him in jail.  While in jail, Joseph showed an uncanny ability to interpret dreams.  This ability caught the attention of Pharaoh, who had been having disturbing dreams of his own.  Joseph not only interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams, but advised the Pharaoh on how to manage the coming famine that the dreams predicted.  Pharaoh was so impressed with Joseph’s wisdom that he made Joseph second in command.  By now, Joseph was 30 years old.

Meanwhile, the famine spread all over the world and people began to travel to Egypt to buy their vast supplies of food.  Among the travelers were some of the brothers of Joseph.  Though they did not recognize Joseph, Joseph did recognize them.  At first Joseph did not treat them very well.  He accused them of being spies and ordered them to leave one brother behind, travel back to Canaan, and not return unless they brought Joseph’s little brother Benjamin with them.  Joseph then sent them back to Canaan with sacks full of grain.

When their grain ran out, the brothers returned to Egypt with Benjamin, and Joseph set out to test them again.  He filled each of their sacks with grain, but also added one of his own silver cups to Benjamin’s sack.  As they were returning to Canaan, Joseph sent his steward after them to accuse them of stealing the cup.  When the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack, Judah, fearful that Benjamin would be imprisoned, offered to remain in Egypt in place of Benjamin.  At this offer, Joseph could no longer contain himself.  He revealed his true identity, forgave his brothers for selling him into slavery, and was reconciled.  The brothers then sent for Jacob and the whole family was reunited.

  1. Explain to the class that as a way to study the story of Joseph they are going to have “Family Court”.  Have the following list of characters written on the white board or a large piece of paper the Bailiff, Judge Smacker, Jacob, Levi, Reuben, the Jailer, the King, Joseph, and members of the jury. 
  2. Assign students to each part.  Students who do not have a specific role will serve as members of the jury.  Pass out copies of the scripts and begin the trial.


Application: (Guide) [See attached script.  Come back to discussion #1, 2, 3, and 4 at the places marked in the script.]


During each of the following discussions, write down on a clean piece of flip-chart paper each of the modern situations the children think of.


[Discussion #1]


To help the class remember that family jealousies are still present today, ask them to relate examples or incidents from their own lives.  Spend a few minutes to help them see that a story like Joseph’s could still happen today.


Conclude discussion #1 and return to the script.


[Discussion #2]


Ask the class to give examples from their own lives about times when they (or others) might find themselves in situations where they are afraid to do the right thing.  If necessary, give prompts on teasing, bullies, shoplifting, drug abuse, etc.


[Conclude discussion #2 and return to the script.]


[Discussion #3]


Spend a few minutes reviewing the story so far.  Ask students to retell the story and then discuss how Joseph might have felt at this time. Ask questions such as “Do you think Joseph felt abandoned by God?”  Ask students to give examples of how other people might react in similar situations.  “Do you think some people lose hope?”  Perhaps the recent situation of the 9 miners trapped in Pennsylvania could be used as discussion of how they felt and whether they gave up hope or not.  


[Conclude discussion #3 and return to the script.]


[Discussion #4]


Again review the story and/or repeat the play to assure students understand what has happened to Joseph, including the following points


Talk briefly with the class about the meaning of reconciliation using questions and discussion.  Explain that in the end of the Joseph story, Joseph and his family are reconciled.  Discuss what this example says to us about God’s work in the world and what we are called to do.—God  works for reconciliation and wants us to work for it as well.


Wrap-up: (Guide)


1.     Review the visual on the timeline and the memory verse.

2.     Ask students to tidy up.


Closing: (Coach)

1.     The coach conducts the closing prayer time.  One way to include the memory verse might be to have the class recite it in parts such as:  “We know that God is always at work/for the good of everyone/who loves him.”

2.     Close/lock the door and turn off the lights.


Preparation in advance: (Guide)


1.     Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located.

2.     Make copies of the script for each student—approximately 20.  It might also be helpful to highlight specific parts on the scripts.  On the scripted handed to the child who plays the Judge, for example, highlight the Judge’s speaking parts.

3.     Write the memory verse, Romans 8:28 ‘We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him.’ On a poster board or large piece of paper to post in the room.

4.     Write the list of characters for the script on the whiteboard or large piece of paper: the Bailiff, Judge Smacker, Jacob, Levi, Reuben, the Jailer, the King, Joseph, and members of the jury.


Supply List





Genesis 37, 39 & 40

“The Case of the Amazing Dream Baby”


Bailiff: [He motions for everyone to stand] “All rise!  Family court is now in session!  The Honorable Judge Smacker will hear the case!”


Judge: [Judge comes in and sits in chair at front of room.  Judge bangs gavel or hammer on wood block provided.] “Be seated.” [Everyone sits down.] “The court will now take up ‘The Case of the Amazing Dream Baby.’  Bailiff, call the first witness.”


Bailiff: “The court calls Jacob!”


Jacob: [He stands and walks to the witness chair placed near the judge.]


Judge: “State your name for the record.”


Jacob: [He grins sarcastically.] “Well, duh!  It’s Jacob.”


Judge: [bangs gavel] “Enough of that!  Just answer the court’s questions. . . Where do you live  and what is your occupation?”


Jacob: “I live in the Land of Canaan.  I raise sheep.  It’s the  family business.  My father Isaac did it, so did his father Abraham.  People call us the Biblical patriarchs.  We have a special blessing from God Almighty.”


Judge: “Do you have a family?”


Jacob: [proudly] “Darn right I do!  I got four wives and 12 sons, countless daughters.  The boys are named Joseph and Reuben and Levi and--”


Judge: [interrupts] “--You don’t have to name them all.  So you have a blended family.  You have more than one wife plus half-brothers and  sisters living in the same household.  Do you have a favorite child?”


Jacob: [shakes his head] “Nope.  I love ‘em all the same.”


Levi: [interrupts] “That’s a lie!  Everybody knows he loves Joseph best, your honor.  He bought   Joseph a fancy coat from Abercrombie & Fitch, but the rest of us had to get our stuff at Walmart!”


Judge: [bangs the gavel] “That’ll do!” [turns back to Jacob] “Is this true?  Do you love Joseph best?”


Jacob: [shakes his head] “No, no.  It’s like I told you.  I love ’em all the same.”


Judge: [addresses jury members] “Members of the jury, do you believe him?”


Jurors: [all together, loud] “Liar! Liar!  Pants on fire!”


Jacob: [leaves the witness chair]


Guide: “O.K., let’s stop the trial for a minute and discuss what we’ve heard.  [discussion  #1]




Guide: “Now let’s start the trial again.”



Bailiff: “Next witness!  The court calls Levi to the stand.”


Levi: [he sits in the witness chair] 


Judge: “Levi, you are Joseph’s brother?”


Levi: “His half-brother.  Jacob is our father, but Leah was my mother.”


Judge: “One day when you were working in the fields, did you and several of your brothers push  Joseph into a dry well and threaten to kill him?”


Levi: [shrugs his shoulders] “Well. . . it wasn’t quite like that. . .”


Judge: [to the jury] “Jurors, do you believe him?”


Jurors: [loudly] “Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!”


Levi: [sounding sullen] “O.K., maybe me and some of the boys pushed him in -- but he had it coming.”


Judge:  "And why is that?"


Levi:  "Isn't it obvious?  Those dreams of his. . . In  the first dream we were all cutting wheat, and Joseph dreamed that our bundles of wheat bowed down to his bundle.  Naturally, that made us angry and jealous.  Then Joseph had a second dream.  He dreamed that the sun, the moon and the eleven stars bowed down to his star.  Don’t you see?  He wanted to make us his servants!"


Judge: "So you and your brothers decided to get rid of him?"


Levi: "Well -- except for Reuben. [makes an “L” with his thumb and forefinger and holds it over  his forehead] He's such a loo-zer."


Judge: [bangs the gavel] "You're dismissed."  [Levi leaves the witness chair]


Bailiff:  "The court calls Reuben to the stand!"


Reuben: [takes the witness chair]


Judge: "What was your role in this conspiracy to get rid of your brother Joseph?"


Reuben: [alarmed] "I didn't want to hurt Joe!  I talked Levi and the others into pushing Joe into a dry well so that they wouldn't kill him on the spot.  I planned to come back and rescue him after they  left."


Judge: [to the jury]  "Do you believe him?"


Jurors: [loud]  "Woof!  Woof!  He's telling the truth!"


Judge:  [to Reuben] "So what happened then?"


Reuben: "I went off hoping that my brothers would leave, but when I sneaked back to rescue Joe,  my brothers were still there, and Joe was gone!  I found blood on his coat!  I thought he was dead.  I wanted to puke my guts out, but instead, I cried!"


Judge: "Thank you, Reuben.  You may step down.  [Reuben steps down.  The judge nods to the Bailiff.]  "Call the next witness!"


Guide:  "Good job!  Give yourselves a hand!"  [start discussion #2]




Guide: “Now let’s start the trial again.”


Bailiff: “The Court calls the Jailer!”


Jailer: [takes a seat in the witness chair]


Judge: [to the Jailer] “State your name and occupation.”


Jailer: “My name is Lock M. Up.  I’m the Jailer at the King’s jail.”


Judge: “You had custody of a Hebrew man named Joseph, didn’t you?  Tell us about this prisoner.”


Jailer: “Yes, I remember that one clearly.  You meet all kinds in the jail business, but that young man was special.  I wouldn’t dare turn my back on some of those guys, but the Hebrew Joseph was different.  He was a model prisoner.  He showed an upbeat attitude from day one. . . He’d do his chores and offer to help with other things too.  Once I realized his talent and his sense of responsibility, I gave him more and more duties.  After a while, he was practically running the place.” [the Jailer covers his mouth and then uncovers his mouth and says] “Oops, I shouldn’t have said that.  The King might not like it.”


Judge: “I would have expected Joseph to be very sullen and discouraged, but you describe him as ‘upbeat’ and helpful.  How do you think he managed that?”


Jailer: [shrugs] “Oh, you know these Hebrews. . . He was always praying to his Hebrew God and saying that God was with him.  Stuff like that.  I worship Isis myself, but I’ll have to admit that the Hebrews are strong in their faith.”


Judge: “Thank you.  Mr. Up, you may step down.”


Guide: “O.K., let’s stop the trial for a moment. [start discussion  #3]




Guide: “Now let’s start the trial again.”


Bailiff: The court calls the King of Egypt.”


King: [takes a seat in the witness chair]


Judge: “You are the King of Egypt, are you not?”


King: [seeming bored] “Yes, that’s me: King of Egypt, Father of the Nile, Potentate of the Pyramids, and so forth and so forth. . . but all my friends call me ‘Your Royal Highness,’ and you can do the same.”


Judge: “Mr. Highness, tell us how you came to have a special advisor named Joseph.”



King: [anxious] “This won’t take long will it?  I’m scheduled to have lunch with some generals, magicians and big bucks contributors to the ‘I’ll Be King Forever Campaign.’”


Judge: “We’ll be brief.  Just tell us about Joseph.”



King: “All right then. . . Let’s see. . . You just can’t get good help these days.  My butler failed to iron my loin cloth.  Then my cook put so much pepper in my stew that it gave me gas.  I had both of them thrown into jail.  While they were there, both of them had dreams, and this young Hebrew Joseph was able to tell them what the dreams meant. . .

In the meantime, I had two dreams of my own.  In one of them, I saw seven fat cows eating grass by the river, and seven skinny, ugly cows came out of the river and ate the fat cows.  I had another one in which seven healthy stalks of wheat were eaten up by seven dry, puny stalks of wheat. Well, I knew these dreams were important, but I couldn’t interpret them -- and neither could any of my advisors or magicians.  One of those  idiots actually suggested that the dreams meant that I should go to McPharoah’s every day and eat hamburgers for breakfast, lunch and dinner. . .”


Judge: “Go on.”


King: “Well, to make a long story short, I heard about this Hebrew Joseph who could interpret dreams, and I had him brought to me, and I told him my dreams and asked him what they meant.  And he told me that they meant that Egypt would have seven years with good harvests and lot of food and then seven years with very bad harvests and no food. . .”


Judge: “And how did you react?”


King: “As you can imagine, I was very concerned.  Joseph came up with a wonderful idea that flew rings around everything that my other advisors suggested.  Joseph said I should buy up surplus grain during the seven good years, store it, and then have it ready during the seven bad years.  Well, I was so impressed that I made Joseph the most powerful man in the land --except for my royal self, of course -- and I gave authority over the whole country.”


Judge: [to the jury] “Is he telling the truth?”


Jurors: [loud] “Hooray!  Hooray!  He’s not lying today!”


King: [offended] “I never lie -- unless it a matter of national security or political convenience or--.”


Judge: [interrupts] “--Thank you, Mr. Highness.  You may step down.”


Bailiff: “Next witness!  The court calls Joseph to the witness stand.”


Joseph: [he takes a seat in the witness chair.]


Judge: “You are Joseph, son of Jacob, grandson of Isaac, and great grandson of Abraham.”


Joseph: [smiles] “That’s me. I’m a son of a son of a son.”


Judge: “You became the most powerful man in Egypt and you put the grain storage plan into place, is that correct?”


Joseph: “You got it.  During those seven good years, I bought and stored so much grain that they started calling me Captain Crunch.”


Judge: “What happened when the seven bad harvests started?”


Joseph: “People got hungry.  The famine spread all over Egypt and then all over the whole region. Pretty soon, we were the only ones with any food, and we began to sell it so the people wouldn’t starve. . . In fact, the famine got so bad, it affected my people back in the Land of Canaan.”


Judge: "How did you learn about that?”


Joseph: "Some of my brothers -- the very ones who’d sold me into slavery -- showed up to buy grain.  I recognized them, but I’d changed so much that they didn’t recognize me.”


Judge: "Were you angry at them?”


Joseph: “No.”


Judge: [to the jury] “Is he telling the truth?”


Jurors: [loudly] “Liar!  Liar!  Pants on fire!”


Joseph: “All right.  All right.  I was steamed and I yanked them around a little bit.  At one point I pretended to think that they were foreign spies.  Another time I made it look like one of the guys had stolen a silver cup, and I threatened to punish him. . . but when it came down to it, they were still my brothers.  I was so glad to see them that I finally busted out crying and told them who I was.  They were scared at first, but I promised them that I’d already forgiven them.”


Jurors: [all together, not believing what Joseph said] “You forgave them?  Liar!  Liar!  Pants on--”


Joseph: [interrupting] “--Stop it! Give me a break!. . .” [explaining] “Just look what happened.  Because of my dreams, the people of Egypt and my whole family were saved from the famine.  God stood by us through the whole thing, and my troubles turned into something good.  Daddy, got to meet my Egyptian wife and our two sons before he died of old age.  My brothers even begged my forgiveness.  The whole thing worked out for the best -- thanks to God.”


Judge: [after a long pause, the judge strikes the gavel]  "The court finds that God is faithful to those who love God. [to the jurors] “What does the jury say?”


Jurors: [very loud] "AMEN!”


Guide: “Very good!  Let’s discuss what’s we’ve heard.” [start discussion #4]