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Joseph’s Coat

Video Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

View portions of the video, Joseph King of Dreams. [Note: 4th – 6th graders visited this workshop.]

Scripture Reference:

Genesis 37:1-36, 39:1-6b

Key Verse:

“We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him.” Romans 8:28a (CEV)

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Gather the materials

Supplies List:

  • DVD: Joseph King of Dreams. Dreamworks, 2000. (Viewing time 19 min, 42 sec.)
  • TV/DVD
  • Snack items: popcorn, cups, napkins, water pitcher
  • Easel with paper and a white board; appropriate markers
  • Masking tape
  • Purple Adventure Bibles; one with tabs (Law, History, etc.)
  • Bible tab writing kit: tabs, fine-line Sharpie pen

    Before Start of Class:
  • In the kitchen, fill a pitcher with ice and water. Gather enough plastic cups – the washable type – to serve water and popcorn.
  • Pop the popcorn in the microwave for 3 minutes. Pour popcorn into cups. Pour cups of water.
  • Make sure you know how to use the TV/DVD, especially how to move by chapters and scanning forward and backward within a chapter.
  • Insert the DVD. Start from the beginning of the disc and select “Play Movie.” Play the video for about 1 minute, 15 seconds until the hawk flies away and you see Jacob and one of his sons by a tree. Pause; the video will be started here. [It’s important to start the video at the correct spot so as to have enough time for this lesson.]
  • Write the key Bible verse on a piece of easel paper. Remove it and use the masking tape to hang it up on the wall.
  • Make a “Things to Watch For” list on a piece of easel paper. Include these six items: Jacob, Rachel, Joseph, the brothers, the traders, Potiphar. Set list aside, not in plain view.
  • Bookmark the leader’s purple Adventure Bible to Genesis 39:2.


Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the video workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.

[Note: Ask the Shepherd to take care of attendance/nametags while you start the lesson.]

Say: We are learning (continuing to learn) about the story of Joseph and about how he was the only one in his family to receive a fancy coat from his father. We’ll also look at how his brothers reacted. Today we’re going to watch a video about this 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. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending. [You may ask one or two students to lead the Lord’s Prayer.] A suggestion: “Dear God, Thank you for this day. Thank you for sending Jesus to always be with us. We feel comforted when we remember you always love us. (End with the Lord’s Prayer) Amen.”

Dig- Main Content and Reflection:
Show the box the video came in.
Ask: Has anyone ever seen this video, “Joseph, King of Dreams?”
Say: This video tells a Bible story.
Ask: What can you tell me about the story of Joseph?

See how much of the story your group knows. On the white board easel, draw words and symbols to represent the different parts of the story as they are offered. At this time, don’t fill in any left out portions of the story.
Ask: Do you know where in the Bible would we find this story? (in the Old Testament)
Say: The Old Testament includes stories that happened before Jesus was born. In fact, Jesus would have learned this story when he was your age.

Ask: We find our story in the first book of the Old Testament. Does anyone know what the first book of the Old Testament is? (Genesis)

Distribute Bibles.

Say: We say that the book of Genesis is part of a collection of Bible books called “Law.” Law books include the first five books of the Bible. They are called the books of Law because they include the commandments or laws that God revealed to his people. If you have your own Bible today, be sure you receive a tab for the Law section of your Bible.

[Show the classroom Bible with tabs. Have the Shepherd a do Law tab for students who bring their Bibles. Use the classroom Bible with tabs as an example.]

Say: When we watch our video we’re going to be checking to see how well it tells the story from the Bible. So let’s find our story in Genesis.

Have them find Genesis, chapter 37.

Say: This is a long story. In order to have enough time to watch our video, we are just going to read parts from the Bible. I encourage all of you to read this story at home this week. It covers all of chapter 37 and the first part of chapter 39.

Based on how much of the story the students knew, read only the portions that were missed, interspersed with reiterating what the students have told you (referring to what was written on the white board)…

  • In our story, Jacob is the father. He has 12 sons and one daughter.
  • Jacob (who was also called Israel) lived in the land of Canaan.
  • Jacob’s favorite son was Joseph. (If needed, read Genesis 37:3-4)
  • Joseph had a dream that made his brother’s angry with him. (If needed, read Genesis 37:6-8).
  • Joseph had another dream that made his father wonder what it meant. (If needed, read Genesis 37:9-11)
  • One day Jacob asked Joseph to check on his brothers who were grazing the sheep some distance away. So, Joseph went to find his brothers. His brothers saw him coming—it must have been because of the colorful coat. (If needed, read Genesis 37:19-20)
  • Reuben, the oldest brother, suggested throwing Joseph into a pit. Reuben was thinking that he would secretly rescue Joseph.
  • So the brothers took Joseph’s coat and threw him into a cistern (or a pit).
  • Then the brothers calmly had some supper! And they saw some traders coming; these traders were on their way to Egypt.
  • The brothers sold Joseph to the traders. (If needed, read Genesis 37:28)
  • Joseph’s brothers killed a goat and dipped Joseph’s fancy coat in its blood. They took the coat to their father who recognized it as Joseph’s coat. Jacob was very sad for a long time.
  • Meanwhile Joseph was sold in Egypt. (If needed, read Genesis 37:36)

Say: There is a bit more to our story but let’s watch the video. Keep your Bibles open.

Use masking tape to hang the “Things to Watch For” poster. Go over the list…

Say: There will be Jacob, the father of this big family, and Rachel, Joseph’s mother. Jacob actually had four wives, which is why you’ll hear the brothers in the movie refer to themselves as half-brothers. Having more than one wife was common in Old Testament times. We’ll see Joseph – 1st as a baby then as he grows to be 17 years old. We’ll see Joseph’s brothers. Finally we’ll watch for the traders on their way to Egypt. And we’ll see what happens to Joseph in Egypt as he is sold to Potiphar. I mentioned before we would be checking to see how well this video tells our Bible story. There are a couple of times when they don’t get the story right.

Show the Video
Have the Shepherd distribute the snack.

Using the DVD, from the place previously cued to, HIT PLAY.
POINT OUT Jacob, without stopping the video.
VIEW scene of 5 minutes and 16 seconds.
PAUSE at the end of the song “I am a Miracle Child,” when Joseph is on a hilltop with all the sheep following him. [The PAUSE button is one of the most powerful tools in your workshop. Don’t be afraid to use it!]

Ask: Do Joseph and his brothers get along? (allow all responses)
Why not? (brothers jealous of coat, of Jacob favoring Joseph over them)
What does jealousy mean? (feeling unhappy because of another person’s possessions or advantage)
Tell me about a time when you felt jealous?
What did you do about your feelings of jealousy?

Ask: Why do you suppose Jacob (the father) played favorites and gave only Joseph a special coat? (allow all responses)
Say: Jacob had four wives but the Bible tells us that Rachel was his favorite.
One of the things we learn about Joseph is that he has interesting dreams.

Ask: Does anyone remember from the Bible story, what Joseph’s first dream is about? (his brothers’ wheat bowing down to him- if necessary refer to Genesis 37:6-7)
Say: But, if I were to press play and we were to keep watching – we’d see a different dream – one that the producers of this video made-up! It’s a dream about a wolf. Sometimes videos don’t exactly follow the Bible. We’re going to skip this part of the video.

Use CONTROLS option to SCAN FORWARD into chapter 2, pausing where Jacob tosses one of his son’s a shepherd’s stick.

VIEW scene of 3 minutes.
PAUSE when Joseph sits on a rock after seeing his brothers swimming.

Ask: How do you suppose Joseph is feeling? (left out)
What did Jacob say about God’s plan for Joseph? (that he was a miracle child, that he would be different from his brothers)
Say: Let’s watch that scene again.
[Don't be afraid to view an important scene a second time. Kids (and adults) watch movies over and over all the time.]

SCAN BACKWARDS into chapter 2 to the scene where Jacob hands Joseph the scroll.
VIEW scene of 33 seconds until Jacob says, “that won’t be your future.”

Say: Jacob is sure that God has special plans for Joseph.
Ask: Do you suppose that God has a plan for your life? (allow any answers)
How do you suppose that God makes his plans known to us?

Say: God’s activity in our lives may appear to be hidden to us, but God does have a plan for each of you. God is always with you, at work in your lives.

Refer to the hanging paper with the key Bible verse. Ask students to say it with you: “We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him.” Romans 8:28a

Say: That little “a” after the 28 means that we stop reading after the first sentence in that is in verse 28.
Have students say the verse again.

Say: Things don’t look very good for Joseph right now – all of his brothers don’t like him. Let’s see how God is working in Joseph’s life. Remember that in this video they’ve had Joseph have a dream that didn’t happen in the Bible. They’ve shown that dream as coming true. Now let’s watch Joseph having another dream.

VIEW scene of about 3 minutes and 17 seconds.
PAUSE after Rachel says, “if we break apart we have nothing left.” [Just before she starts singing.]

Say: All these feelings of jealousy and rivalry have created bad feelings in Joseph’s family.
Ask: If we are angry, or jealous of someone, do we feel close to that person, or separated from that person? (separated)
Say: Bad feelings can cause us to feel separated from family and friends. The good news is that God is never separated from us! God is always close to us even if we are having difficulties.

Ask: There are a couple of things that this video didn’t have quite right, does anyone know what they are?

Have students look at Genesis 37:5-9. Ask them to read these passages to themselves.
Point out that the video has just one dream but the Bible tells it as two dreams.

Point out the other mistaken point – that Judah is not the oldest, Reuben is.

Ask: What do you suppose Joseph’s dreams mean, will his brothers bow down to him?
Say: These dreams give us a hint about how this story ends. We’ll actually be talking about that part of the story next month. Let’s watch the end of our story for this month.

VIEW scene of 1 minute and 54 seconds.
PAUSE when Joseph is in the pit and says “don’t leave me here alone”.

Say: If you check this video story against the Bible you’ll notice that Joseph did not overhear his brothers plotting against him and Joseph did not fall into the pit – his brothers put him in.
Ask: Do you notice any other differences between the Bible and our video?
[You don’t need to mention these other differences but astute viewers might pick up on the fact that Joseph went to his brothers at his father’s request and not voluntarily as is shown. Also, in the Bible, Reuben shows mercy to Joseph but in the video all the brothers have an equal amount of hatred.]

SCAN FORWARD just a bit – until you see the full moon centered in the hole.
VIEW scene of 5 minutes and 42 seconds.
STOP after the guard says, “Looks like we have some work to do.”

Ask: Do you suppose Joseph is feeling pretty desperate?
Say: All his life Joseph has been told that he is special, that God has a plan for him.
Ask: Do you suppose that Joseph is wondering what God’s plan is at this point?
Have you ever felt like you were in a desperate situation? (allow any replies)
Who can tell us about a time when you wondered what God’s plan was for you?

Say: You may never have felt like you didn’t know what was going to happen to you, but no matter what, know that God is with you. God was with Joseph. Listen to this…

Read to them Genesis 39:2.

Say: Because I know the ending of this story, I can tell you that this story of Joseph teaches us how to deal with difficulty in our lives. Always remember that God loves you and is always with you no matter what.

If you have extra time:
Ask student to read the “Did You Know” note on page 47 in the purple Adventure Bible.
Talk about how knowing how things will turn out is helpful to our understanding.
Discuss ways to keep the focus on God when we don’t know how a situation will end-up.


A lesson written by Carol Hulbert for First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI 

Copyright 2010 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

 If you use this material, even in a modified form, please include the following reference:Hulbert, Carol. "Joseph’s Coat: Video Workshop." Jan. 2010. Place URL where lesson found inside angle brackets<>.

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