Summary of Lesson Activities:
Children will play various parts to learn the story of Joseph.
Psalm 46:1 and Psalm 9:10
- Gather the materials.
- Read through the script.
- Copies of the script.
Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet the children and introduce yourself.
Post the two Bible memory verses (Psalm 46:1 and Psalm 9:10); the children should already have their own copies. Repeat these two verses with the class before beginning to teach the lesson.
Open with a prayer.
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
Teach the lesson. If this is the first Sunday of the rotation, most children will either not be at all familiar with the story of Joseph, or will remember parts of it. Children in grades 3 – 6 should be encouraged to open their Bibles to Genesis 37 as you start the lesson. You will need to be prepared, however, to summarize key parts of this long lesson that you have prepared before this class session, and to use them appropriately for the grade level of the children. Some children will be able to read along in the Bible. You might even ask some volunteers to read key sections of the story. If it is past the first Sunday of the rotation, you should first ask the children to tell what they already know of the story, so you will know where they need more teaching or clarification.
The story of Joseph is a wonderful drama. Before you teach, select the children to play the various parts of the drama. Some children may need to play more than one part if there are too few children. As you teach, ask the characters to reflect on how they would FEEL as you describe their part of the story. You will, however, probably need to keep your teaching brief and let the drama do most of the teaching, and then follow it up with discussion. If the time is too short, summarize parts of the drama (perhaps by a narrator) and perform other parts.
The Drama: Joseph Goes to Egypt
Joseph, Jacob, brothers, stranger, Reuben, Judah, Potiphar, Potiphar’s wife, jail inmates, baker, cupbearer, Pharaoh, servants
SCENE I: Joseph, wearing his “highly decorated robe”, is telling his brothers about his two dreams. Jacob is also listening.
JOSEPH: “I had this dream last night. We were binding grain in the fields, and suddenly my sheaf of grain stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”
BROTHERS: “Do you really think we’d bow down to you? Will you actually rule us?”
(The brothers grumble among themselves about Joseph being the favorite, “Daddy’s boy”.)
JOSEPH: “I also had another dream in which the sun, moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”
JACOB: “Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to you? Tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk.”
JACOB: “Joseph, please go look for your brothers at Shechem. See how they’re doing, and bring word back to me.” (Jacob goes inside their home, offstage.)
JOSEPH: “I’ll leave right away father.”
(Have Joseph appear to walk off stage, then back on, shading his eyes from the sun with his hand and looking around intently as he returns.)
STRANGER: “If you are looking for the ten sons of Jacob, I heard them say they were going on to Dothan; perhaps you’ll find them there.”
(Have Joseph walk off stage and back on again, again looking intently and shading his eyes with his hand.)
JOSEPH: “There they are!”
BROTHERS: “Here comes that dreamer.” “Let’s kill him and throw him in one of these pits and say that a wild animal killed him.” “We’ll see what comes of his dreams!”
REUBEN: “Let’s not kill him. Just throw him into this pit in the desert.”
(As Joseph approaches, the brothers grab him, take his colorful robe off of him, and throw him into the pit. JOSEPH protests, “Let my out! You can’t do this to me!” Then they sit down nearby to eat a picnic lunch.)
JUDAH (looking up and noticing something far off) “I was thinking…wouldn’t it be better to not to kill our own brother. Let’s sell him as a slave instead to that approaching caravan. They’re going to Egypt, so we’ll be rid of him!”
BROTHERS: “Yeah, let’s do that!”
(Brothers pull Joseph from the pit, hand him off stage to the caravan, and return counting out twenty pieces of silver.)
BROTHERS: “We can tell our father that a wild animal killed him when we show him Joseph’s bloody robe.”
POTIPHAR: “Hello, Joseph! My name’s Potiphar. I’m the captain of the guard, Pharaoh’s bodyguard. You will work in my house and be responsible for my household.”
JOSEPH: “I will be pleased to serve you.”
(Potiphar’s wife peeks around the corner to look at the handsome new slave, Joseph. She grins at him and winks.)
(After Potiphar leaves, have Joseph go off stage, then return as if it’s another day. Potiphar’s wife comes in seeking to attract his interest, but Joseph walks off stage. Potiphar’s wife looks mopey, disappointed that he’s not interested in her. When he returns to the stage with a broom to do the cleaning, she walks up close to him, again trying to get his attention. This time Joseph runs off stage, and Potiphar’s wife is left holding his cloak as she screams that he tried to grab her.)
POTIPHAR’S WIFE: (to Potiphar) “That Hebrew slave you bought, he tried to grab me, and then he ran out. See, here is his cloak!”
POTIPHAR: “Joseph will have to go to the Pharaoh’s prison. Too bad; he was an excellent servant.”
SCENE IV: (Pharaoh’s prison, with Joseph and other prisoners)
(Joseph comes on stage, smiling, carrying a scroll and checking off a list. He’s friendly and peaceful.)
JOSEPH: (speaking to the baker and to Pharaoh’s cupbearer) “Why are your faces so sad today?”
BAKER AND CUPBEARER: “We both had dreams, but there’s no one to interpret them.”
JOSEPH: “Don’t interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.”
CUPBEARER: “I saw a three-branched vine in my dream. It budded, blossomed, and produced clusters of grapes. Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup and put the cup in his hand.”
JOSEPH: “The three branches are three days. Within three days Pharaoh will restore you to your position, and you will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you used to do. When all goes well with you, please mention me to Pharaoh so that I may get out of this prison.”
BAKER: “In my dream I had three baskets of bread on my head. In the top basket were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.”
JOSEPH: “The three baskets are three days. Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head and hang you on a tree, and the birds will eat away your flesh.”
(Servants come in and take the baker and the cupbearer away. The cupbearer is greeted heartily with “Welcome back to Pharaoh’s palace”, but the baker is told, “You will come with us to the gallows!”
SCENE V: (Inside Pharaoh’s palace)
PHARAOH: (rubbing sleep from his eyes, speaking to servants) “I had the most troubling dreams last night! I need my wise men.”
(Do silently: Pharaoh appears to be telling his dream to some men. They make signs of incomprehension, and servants escort them away.)
CUPBEARER: “Excuse me, Pharaoh, but I seem to remember a promise I made long ago. It concerned a man named Joseph, a Hebrew, who could interpret dreams. Everything he told me about my dream came true. Surely he could interpret your dream.”
PHARAOH: “Bring this man to me immediately!”
(Have Joseph appear clean-shaven and well-dressed before Pharaoh.)
PHARAOH: “I’ve heard that you can interpret dreams.”
JOSEPH: “I cannot do it, but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”
PHARAOH: “I dreamed I was standing on the bank of the Nile. Out of the river came seven fat, sleek cows who grazed on the reeds. After them came seven scrawny, ugly, lean cows, and they ate up the seven fat cows. Even so, the lean cows were as scrawny as before. Then I woke up. I had another dream. In this dream there were seven good heads of grain growing on a single stalk. After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted, but they were thin, withered and scorched by the wind. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. No one else has been able to explain these dreams to me.”
JOSEPH: “God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; they mean the same, seven years of plentiful harvests. The seven lean cows and the seven shriveled heads of grain mean the same; there will be seven years of famine following the seven years of good harvests. Now here is what Pharaoh should do…” (Have Joseph appear to go on talking to Pharaoh about what to do, but just mouth the words, and make it brief, as if you were fading from the scene in a video. Alternatively, if there’s time, have Joseph read Genesis 41:33 – 36)
PHARAOH: “Can we find anyone like this man Joseph in whom is the spirit of God? Joseph, you will be in charge of my palace, and all of my people are to submit to your orders. Only with regarding the throne will I be greater than you.”
(Servants come in and place a fine robe on Joseph, maybe even one like the one he had when he was with his brothers. They put a ring on his finger and a gold chain on his neck, and lead him off stage.)
1. What would it feel like to be Joseph and be thrown into the pit? (ANS: You’d be afraid for your life, pleading for mercy, maybe praying. Students may mention other things. The Bible does not mention Joseph wanting to get even with his brothers or being angry and verbally abusing his brothers.)
2. What is it like to be unfairly accused of something you did not do, as Joseph was accused by Potiphar’s wife, and then to be punished? (ANS: Children will have various answers. Point out that Jesus was also unjustly accused of sin, and was punished for OUR sins by death on the cross. His resurrection on the third day is like Joseph’s finally being made next in power to Pharaoh.)
3. What is it like to have a mysterious dream? What are some ways God speaks to us? (ANS: Children will have various answers about dreams. Yes, God speaks to us today through the Bible, through prayer, through our friends and circumstances when not in disagreement with the Bible, and through the “still, small voice” inside.)
Journal: Write about ways God speaks to you and how God has helped you. We can always praise God for who He is, and thank Him. Write a praise and a thanks to God also.
End with a circle of prayer. Allow each person who wishes to pray to do so as you go around the circle. Remind children to return next week for their next workshop and to try to bring their Bible and a friend.
A lesson written by rotation.org member "Learner" from: Silverdale UMC
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.