Joseph in Egypt
Summary of Lesson Activities:
View a video clip, Joseph King of Dreams, on the story of Joseph and his brothers in Egypt. Note: written for a class time of 45 minutes – with no wiggle room!
Genesis 39–45, 46:5-7
“We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him.” Romans 8:28 (CEV)
- Identify Genesis as the first book in the Old Testament; locating the story in Genesis
- Retell the story in their own words – Describing how with God’s help, Joseph came to be the most powerful man in Egypt.
- Tell how Joseph forgave his brothers.
- Know that God guides our steps – God can help us make the best of a bad situation. Any situation can be for good, even something intended for evil.
- Read the scripture for this lesson.
- Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
- Preview the video and have it cued to the correct starting place – about 22 minutes in to the video – where Joseph is pushed into line at the slave market.
- Gather the materials.
- Make a “Things to watch for” poster. Include these 4 items: Joseph, Potiphar, brothers, and Pharaoh. Next to each of these items, draw stick figures to help the non-readers. Examples: give Joseph a colorful coat, Potiphar an Egyptian headdress, many stick figures for the brothers, a stick figure with Egyptian headdress and crown for Pharaoh.
- Fill the water jug with ice and water from the kitchen.
- Prepare Goldfish snack by pouring crackers into cups.
- Video: “Joseph King of Dreams.” Dreamworks, 2000.
- The TV/VCR will have been reserved for your workshop.
- Snack items: goldfish crackers, paper cups, napkins, water pitcher
- Easel with paper (for “Things to watch for” poster)
- A copy of The Adventure Bible bookmarked to Genesis 39:2-4
Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the Video Workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.
Say: We are continuing to learn about the story of Joseph and his brothers. Some of you saw part of this video last month. If you didn’t see it, that’s ok. Today we’re going to watch the rest of the story. First, let’s begin with prayer.
Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. A suggestion: “Dear God, Thank you for teaching us about Joseph – even though lots of bad things happened to Joseph, he kept his faith in you, God. Help us to learn how we can have that faith too. Amen”
Pass around a basket to collect any offering.
[Note: The Shepherd will be quietly taking care of attendance, etc. while you are starting your lesson.]
Say: Let’s take a look at what we should watch for in our video.
Refer to the “Things to watch for” poster.
Say: We’ll start by seeing Joseph sold as a slave in Egypt. We meet Potiphar who bought Joseph to work in his house. Joseph’s brothers come into the story again. And there’s Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. These are the important characters we’ll look for.
Have the Shepherd distribute cups of Goldfish and water. [Continue with lesson as Shepherd does this – you’ve got a lot of video to see!]
Say: At times I will be fast-forwarding through parts of this video. It’s too long for us to watch all of it.
Show the Video:
START the video at the designated place (see “Leader Preparation” - about 22 minutes in to the video – where Joseph is pushed into line at the slave market.).
Don’t stop the tape but POINT OUT – Joseph.
POINT OUT – Potiphar, when he comes up to Joseph as he works.
PAUSE after about 2 minutes, after Potiphar says, “Get him some new clothes”.
Ask: Whom did Joseph imagine he was seeing in the puddles of water? (his brothers) Why is he thinking about his brothers? (angry at them for what they did)
Say: Joseph is in Egypt, far from home and having to work hard, because his jealous brothers sold him into slavery.
Ask: How would you feel if you were Joseph?
Say: I’m going to fast-forward through the next part.
FAST FORWARD to when Joseph is thrown into prison. While tape is forwarding,
Say: Let me read to you from the Bible about what is taking place. (You’ll have to keep a sharp eye to see that the video doesn’t fast-forward beyond your stopping point while you read! You might ask the Shepherd to read the passage – then you can stand in front of the TV to avoid distraction.)
Read Genesis 39:2-4
Say: Joseph was a slave and far from home, but things were not too bad; God was with Joseph. God had a plan for Joseph. But then, Joseph was falsely accused of doing something that he didn’t do and was put into prison. Was this part of God’s plan? Let’s watch what happens.
PAUSE after Joseph pounds door and says, “no one cares”.
Ask: It looks like Joseph has been in prison a long time – do you think Joseph felt like God had forgotten him?
For 3rd grade and up:
Ask: What about you – do you ever feel like things aren’t going so well and maybe God has forgotten you?
For all students:
Say: God does have a plan for Joseph and his plan included this dark time in Joseph’s life. God has a plan for each of us. We can't always see God’s plan. It’s ok to tell God how we are feeling. It’s ok to wonder just what is God’s plan. We’re going to watch a part of the video where Joseph remembers his experiences and renews his faith in God.
FAST FORWARD to where Joseph is laying on the prison floor and the sun streams in.
PAUSE when see Potiphar coming.
Say: Joseph is going to meet the king of Egypt, Pharaoh.
FAST FORWARD to when Joseph is brought before Pharaoh and Pharaoh says “is this the one you spoke of”.
PAUSE when Joseph goes down the hallway, after being elevated in status.
Ask: How do you think Joseph feels now that he’s been given power over all Egypt?
FAST FORWARD to where shows people lined up at tents for food distribution.
[While forwarding, keep talking…]
Say: God helped Joseph to know that Pharaoh’s dreams meant there would be seven good years followed by seven years when no crops would grow. Joseph made sure that food was stored during the good years so that there was enough for everyone to eat when no crops grew. During these good years Joseph was married and had two children.
Say: We are going to fast-forward to the point in the story were there is drought.
Ask: Does everyone know what drought means? (a time of no rain)
Say: No rain and thus, no crops to harvest. In those days, if you couldn’t grow crops then you didn’t have any food. All the grain that Joseph stored during the seven good years is now being sold to the people. People are coming from all over to buy food.
[Stop when the forwarding gets to the people lined up at tents for food distribution.]
POINT OUT (but don’t stop tape) Joseph (because he looks different) and Joseph’s wife.
POINT OUT (but don’t stop tape) Joseph’s brothers.
PAUSE after Joseph looks into the prison cell for the second time (after he tells his wife about his brothers and says “no, not everything").
Ask: How does Joseph feel about seeing his brothers?
What would have been YOUR reaction to your brothers showing up in Egypt? Would you have been still mad at them for what they had done?
FAST FORWARD to when Joseph looks out the curtain and sees that his brothers have returned.
Say: Let’s watch and see what happens when the brothers come back.
STOP when video is finished.
Say: Joseph didn’t fully discover God’s plan for his life until his brothers reappeared and he forgave them. Now Joseph understood that those hard times had been God’s plan. Joseph was able to save his family from starving.
(if you have time)
Ask students what they thought of the movie, what part they liked best, etc.
Alternate idea: share from your personal experience a time when you were feeling “forgotten” but then understood God’s love and presence; the children will be enriched.
- Klusmeyer, Steve and Brenda. “Joseph, From Slave to Ruler.” October 2001. (Lesson is no longer at this site.)
- MacQueen, Neil. “Extra Teaching Resources” in “Teachers Guide to Joseph Story”. 2003 http://www.sundaysoftware.com/joseph/studyguide.htm
- MacQueen, Neil. "A Brief Introduction to Teaching with Video." Sunday School Software web site. Found at: http://www.sundaysoftware.com/video-tips.htm
There is about 25 minutes of video to watch. You’ll have to keep things moving in order to have time to include discussion along the way.
(Note: Below is a chart of DVD preview breakdown.)
A lesson from First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI
Copyright 2003 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material
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