Cooking Lessons and Ideas for Teaching the Story of Joseph in Sunday School

Post your cooking Sunday School lessons and ideas for the Joseph Story here.

Joseph, Egypt, Pharaoh, Joseph's Brothers, Coat of Many Colors, Well, Potiphar, Dreams, etc.
Bible lessons about Joseph - with Cooking, Food, Bible Foods, Recipes, Baking, Preparation, etc
Use the "Post Reply" button below to post your Joseph Story lessons, ideas, and activities for Sunday School.

Recipes for Joseph's Story: 

This first recipe comes from our previous website and still sounds yummy... 

We used Hummus and Tabbouleh as a part of a Biblical feast to celebrate the reunion of Joseph and his brothers, but they would work for almost any setting (Mary and Martha, Zacchaeus' dinner for Jesus, Peter's mother-in-law's serving dinner, etc.) My favorite source for these is "The Frugal Gourmet Keeps the Feast" because the text is so full of fascinating food facts -- very rich learning for the teacher. Here are two recipes we adapted:
Appetizers for a Biblical Feast

Hummus (Garbanzo Sesame Dip) Recipe

2 cans garbanzo beans (16-oz size cans)
1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste – available in our grocery store in Pittsburgh, but you might need a health store or specialty food store)
juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic

garnish with 2 Tablespoons olive oil and 2 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

Use pita bread wedges (cut in 8ths and split to get 16 slices from a single pita) and fresh veggies to dip into hommus. 

Crush the garlic cloves in a garlic press.
Drain the juice from 1 can of beans.
Puree the drained beans with the contents of the other can (juice and all). Add tahini, lemon juice, garlic and blend. Spread onto a flat bowl (a plate works well, too). Add garnishes.
Ready to serve with pita and veggies. 

Tip:  Lightly smash the garbanzo beans in a deep bowl then fill with water and swirl. This will make their waxy coating to float and be skimmed off. Makes for smoother humus.  Theological Corollary:  Joseph's brothers needed to have their hard coating removed too!

Tabbouleh (bulgur wheat salad) Recipe

1 cup bulgur wheat
2 large bunches parsley
2 bunches scallions
2 Tablespoons fresh mint (or 1 teaspoon dried mint)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Soak bulgur in 2 cups of cold water for 15 minutes. Drain and squeeze dry.
Clean and chop parsley, scallions and mint. (We have glass jars with the chopping blades in the lids. These are fabulous for kids to use in chopping.) Chop fine.

In a separate bowl, combine olive oil. lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir well. Add parsley mix and bulgur. Mix thoroughly. Serve immediately. (Chopped red bell pepper, chopped celery, chopped tomatoes are modern additions that taste good, too.)

Our kids love chopping onion, celery, nuts, etc. with those inexpensive jars that have the cutting blades attached to the lid so that you just push down to chop. Great fun! We get very minced results.

Original Post

Peace Offerings of Food to and from Joseph and his brothers
Peace Table

The Cooking with the Bible website (link removed-site no longer active) has a great article on the foods that Joseph's brothers carried back to Egypt with them as a peace offering to Joseph, whose identity they did not yet know.  

Moderator notes: this website was a connection to the now 'out of print' book "Cooking with the Bible: Biblical Food, Feasts, and Lore", by Anthony F. Chiffolo and Rayner W. Hesse, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006, 9780313334108. I still found new and used copies of the book online as of Dec 2018.  Article mentioned above is found in the section called Joseph Dines with His Brothers, pages 35-48.

Joseph's Story:
The brothers were sent back to Israel their father with grain, and told to bring Benjamin back to Egypt with them.  Genesis 43:11
Then their father Israel said to them, "If it must be so, then do this: take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry them down as a present to the man—a little balm and a little honey, gum, resin, pistachio nuts, and almonds.  

They come to Joseph's house where he has a banquet prepared for them. Here's a recipe, that uses yogurt in making Egyptian cookies (scroll down to post dated Feb 9, 2011 - recipe excerpted from above book).

Some Possible Discussion Questions:

What foods would you prepare as a peace offering for:

...a friend who lied to you?
...your dad who is upset because you did something wrong?
...someone at school who needs a friend? 
...a teacher you had caused trouble with?

For those close to you that you have injured, or BEEN injured by, what foods do they like? Make a list and share how you might make/get and present that food as an offering to them. 

Practice writing an apology, or an ice-breaker that let's the other person know you see peace, understanding.

The hospitality of the meal serves as an icebreaker and lays the groundwork for the big surprise that Joseph later reveals to his siblings and their father: Joseph is alive, well, and wealthy, and despite all, he forgives them and loves them, because he sees God's hand in all that has happened. He discerns that he had been chosen by God to be the savior of his brothers and their people, having been sent ahead long before to pave the way to their salvation from hunger and starvation. Joseph understands that he is the right man in the right place at the right time to fulfill what he believes to be God's plan for the people of God.

Regarding bringing peace offerings to the table...

Joseph invited his brothers to his table.
A scripture comes to mind: "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies." (Ps 23)  The point of the table "being in the presence of my enemies" was not to make them jealous, but to provide a meal of peace where enemies could break bread together and settle their differences. It's a very ancient tradition that survives into today, ...the idea of "food as a peace offering."

How to be Peaceful at the Table...

Coming up with an "Instruction Manual" for our peace tables.
To this list I found, I would add, pray for the other person, apologize for whatever wrong you did -intended or unintended.

peace table


Photos (1)

Make Healing Balm

In Genesis 43, Jacob (Israel) told his sons to return to Egypt with gifts, including BALM, to appease Joseph (whom they did not yet know was their brother).

Healing Balm shows up in Bible verses all the time. It was both a real medicinal thing, and a terrific metaphor for the healing of God. In Israel's case, it was also a peace offering.

Here's an herbal webpage called (link removed-site no longer active) devoted to biblical balm, and how to make it. I'm sure there are many others.

Basically, you soak aromatic resins and plants in virgin olive oil just like the Hebrews would have done. Something kids could easily make and share as a symbol of healing, and sign that they wish for healing.

Balm Product Label Idea:

  • Lip balm for reminding me to say kind words.
  • Hand balm for reaching out in anger instead of care.
  • Foot balm for not being there to help you, or for walking away when you needed me.
  • Friendship Balm -mint to remind me not to be a stinky friend.
  • What else!

Excerpts from their site:

The Hebrew Word for balm is tseri. The Strong’s concordance describes it this way: “From an unused root meaning to crack (as by pressure), hence to leak; distillation, that is, balsam: – balm.”

And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds: (Genesis 43:11)

Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?  (Jeremiah 8:22)

Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed. (Jeremiah 51:8)

Moderator notes: here is an easy lip balm recipe Just do an online search for recipes for making balms.


Add Reply

Likes and Bookmarks (0)
Post Your Question, Comment, Idea, or Resource Inc. is a volunteer-run, 100% member supported, 501(c)3 non-profit Sunday School lesson ministry. All content here is the copyrighted property of its listed author. You are welcome to borrow and adapt content here for non-commercial teaching purposes --as long as both the site and author is referenced. Posting here implies permission for others to use your content for non-commercial purposes. Inc reserves the right to manage, move, condense, delete, and otherwise improve all content posted to the site. Read our Terms of Service. Google Ad Note: Serving the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, S. Africa, and more! is rated 5 stars on Google based on 55 reviews.