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The Tribe of Joseph

Joseph is the eleventh son of Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel by the LORD GOD), and the firstborn son of Rachel.

Rachel had been barren and watched her sister Leah give Jacob six sons, Leah’s handmaid give Jacob two sons, Rachel’s handmaid, Bilhah, give Jacob two sons.

Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son because it was Rachel’s child and the son of his old age. God remembered Rachel and heard her and opened her womb. Rachel called her son Joseph; and said, “The LORD shall add to me another son.” ( Genesis 30:22-24).

Jacob had taken his family to dwell in the land of Canaan. Joseph was around seventeen years old when he had to endure the hatred of his brothers. The LORD changed Jacob’s name to Israel after he wrestled with God. Jacob was called Israel because he was a prince and has power with God and with men, and prevailed. ( Genesis 32:24-32).

Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Jacob made Joseph a coat of many colors. The brothers of Joseph saw their father loved Joseph more that all of them and they hated him. They could not speak peaceably to him.

They hated Joseph even more when Joseph told his brothers his dreams. Joseph dreamed they were binding sheaves in the field and the sheaf of Joseph arose and stood upright. The sheaves belonging to the brother were made to bow down to the sheaf of Joseph. Then in yet another dream Joseph the sun and the moon and eleven stars were made to bow down to Joseph. Joseph told these dreams to his father as well as his brothers. That is when the plotting started against Joseph.

The brothers were feeding their father’s flock in Shechem (some 60 miles from Hebron where they lived) when Jacob, Israel, sent Joseph to check on them. Joseph couldn’t find his brothers in Shechem and was found by a man wandering in the fields. The man sent Joseph to Dothan to find his brothers. When the brothers saw him coming they conspired against him to slay him.

Reuben, his oldest brother, delivered Joseph out of the hands of his brothers and suggested not to kill him but to let him be cast into a pit in the wilderness. The brothers stripped Joseph out of his coat of many colors and cast Joseph into a pit without water.

There was a company of Ishmaelites that came from Gilead with their camels bearing spices, balm, and myrrh on their way to Egypt. It was Judah who suggested selling Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. It was the Ishmaelites who carried Joseph to Egypt and sold him to Potiphar, an officer of the Pharaoh, and captain of the guard.

The brothers took Joseph’s coat of many colors, killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood. They then returned to their father. Jacob, Israel, knew his beloved son had been devoured by an evil beast. Jacob, Israel, rented his clothes and put on sack clothes and mourned for Joseph for many days and could not be comforted. ( Genesis 37:1-36).

Joseph found favor in the sight of Potiphar who made him overseer over his house and over his field. The wife of Potiphar also was impressed with Joseph and told him to lie with her. Joseph refused saying she was his master’s wife. Day after day she demanded he lie with her; day after day Joseph refused. One day when Joseph went into the house to do his business there were no men in the house. The wife of Potiphar caught Joseph by his garment and demanded him to lie with her. Joseph left his garment in her hand as he fled the house.

Potiphar’s wife cried with a loud voice to the men of her house and told them that the Hebrew had mocked them and came in unto her to lie with her, and when she screamed, he fled the house leaving his garment behind. When Potiphar heard this he was furious and had Joseph thrown into prison. While Joseph was in prison he was joined by the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker who had offended the king of Egypt and was thrown in prison for their offense.

The butler and the baker had dreams the very same night. They asked Joseph to interpret their dreams. Joseph informed them that he did not interrupt dreams that interpretations of dreams belong to God.

The chief butler told his dream to Joseph. He saw a vine before him with three branches and it was budded and blossoms were shooting forth, and the clusters brought forth ripe grapes. Pharaoh’s cup was in his hand, and the chief butler took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cut and gave the up to Pharaoh. God's interpretation of the dream through Joseph revealed the three branches were three days. The Pharaoh will within three days restore the chief butler unto his place and he shall be delivered.

The chief baker shared his dream asking Joseph for an interpretation. The dream was the chief baker had three white baskets on his head full of all kinds of baked goods for the Pharaoh. The birds ate out of the basket upon his head. Joseph gave the interpretation saying the three baskets were three days. Within three days the Pharaoh will lift off the head of the baker and shall hang him on a tree. The birds shall eat the flesh from him.

Three days later the Pharaoh had a birthday and made a feast for all his servants. Pharaoh restored the chief butler unto his butlership and the butler gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand. The chief baker was hanged. The butler forgot Joseph.

Two years later Pharaoh had a dream he was standing by the river. Out of the river came seven fat cows feeding in a meadow. Then came seven other cows out of the river what were thin upon the edge of the river. The thin cows ate up the seven fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up. Then Pharaoh dreamed the second time there was seven ears of corn that came up on one stalk very plump and good. Then there was seven thin ears and blasted with the east wind sprung up after them. The seven thin ears devoured the seven plump ears of corn. Pharaoh woke up. Pharaoh was troubled and he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt to interpret his dreams. They all failed.

The chief butler remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh of him. Pharaoh sent for Joseph and told Joseph of his dream. Joseph told Pharaoh it is not him who interprets dreams but it is God who shall give Pharaoh and answer of peace.

Pharaoh told Joseph his dream. God has showed Pharaoh the seven good cows are seven years, the seven good ears are seven years. The two dreams are one. There is seven thin cows that come after the seven years and the same with the blighted empty ears with the east wind shall be also seven years of famine. There will be seven years of great plenty through all the land of Egypt. There shall arise after the great plenty the seven years of famine that shall consume the land and shall be grievous. The dream was told twice unto Pharaoh because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. Pharaoh needed to put a discreet and wise man to set over the land of Egypt and appoint him to take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven years of plenty. They should gather and lay up to store to be used in the years of famine.

Pharaoh made Joseph ruler over Egypt and second only under the Pharaoh. Pharaoh gave Joseph the name of Zaphnath-paaneah. Joseph was thirty years old when he began gathering up all the food of the seven years of plenty.

Joseph was given a wife, Asenath, the daughter of Potipherah priest of On, by Pharaoh. Joseph had two sons before the years of famine with Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. The first born Joseph called Manasseh, for God said he, had made Joseph forget all his toil, and all his fathers house. The name of the second son was called Ephraim, for God had cause Joseph to be fruitful in the land of his affliction.

Then the seven years of famine started. When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. They were sent to Joseph to be told what to do. When the famine was over all the face of the earth, then Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians and the other countries that came into Egypt to buy corn. Joseph gathered up all the money that was in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought. All the cattle and all the land, and at last the Egyptians themselves, became the property of Pharaoh.

Jacob, Israel, sent ten of his sons to Egypt to buy corn. Benjamin, who was the youngest brother whose mother was Rachel like Joseph, was kept behind to protect him from harm.

Joseph was the governor over the land, and it was his to sell to all the people of the land. The brothers came from Canaan to buy corn. Joseph recognized his brothers but they did not recognize him. He remembered the dreams which he had dreamed of his brothers, and said unto them, they were spies. Three days later to prove they were not spies Joseph directed his brethren to return to their home and bring the youngest brother, Benjamin. Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man’s money into his sack, and to give them provision for their way Simeon was left behind to make sure they came back.

Once they all returned with Benjamin Joseph made himself known to all his brothers telling them he was Joseph who they sold into Egypt. Joseph asked if his father was alive and told them to bring him to Egypt. They were afraid but were told to hurry and get his father and tell him his son Joseph is alive. Joseph gave them wagons, according to the commandment of Pharaoh, and gave them provision for the way. Jacob, Israel, could hardly believe Joseph was alive, and governor over all the land of Egypt. Jacob, Israel went to Egypt to see his son Joseph. Judah was sent ahead to inform Joseph to meet the father at Goshen. Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Jacob, Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while. Joseph told Pharaoh, his father, brothers, and their flocks, and herds, and all that they have, have come out of the land of Canaan; and, behold, they are in the land of Goshen. Joseph presented his family to the Pharaoh and Jacob, Israel, blessed Pharaoh. Pharaoh gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses. That is how the Israelites came into the land of Egypt.

Before the death of Jacob, Israel, Joseph asked his father to bless his sons. Jacob took both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near unto him. Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn. Joseph tried to remove his fathers hand to correct this mistake.

Jacob, Israel, told Joseph he knew what he was doing. Manasseh shall become a people, and he shall be great. Ephraim, the younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations. And he blessed them that day, saying, “In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.” ( Genesis 39-48).

The last word to Joseph by Jacob, Israel, was "Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a well; his branches run over the wall. The archers have bitterly grieved him, shot at him and hated him. But his bow remained in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob. From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel, By the God of your father who will help you, and by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. The blessings of your father have excelled the blessings of my ancestors, up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers."" ( Genesis 49:22-26).

Jacob, Israel, died after he had told all his sons what would befall them in the last days. He asked to be buried with his father, Abraham, in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite in the land of Canaan which Abraham bought. Abraham and Sarah his wife, Isaac and Rebekah his wife and there his wife Leah were also buried there. The purchase of the field and of the cave was from the children of Heth. (Genesis 49:28-33).

The beloved wife of Jacob, Rachel, and the mother of Joseph died during the childbirth of Benjamin and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. Jacob set a pillar upon her grave that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave unto this day. ( Genesis 35:19-20).

Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt. ( Genesis 50:26). It was Moses who took the bones of Joseph when they left Egypt. ( Exodus 13:19).

When the wandering in the wilderness was over the tribes divided the land. The lot of the children of Joseph was from Jordan by Jericho, unto the water of Jericho on the east, to the wilderness that goes up from Jerico throughout mount Bethel. It goes out from Bethel to Luz, and passes along unto the borders of Archi to Ataroth, it goes down westward to the coast of Japhleti, unto the coast of Bethhoron the nether, and to Gezer: and the goings out thereof are at the sea. This is the inheritance of the children of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim.

The children of Ephraim according to their families were the border of their inheritance on the east side was Atarothaddar, unto Bethhoron the upper. The border went out toward the sea to Michmethah on the north side; and the border went about eastward unto Taanathshiloh, and passed by it on the east to Janohah. It went down from Janohah to Ataroth, and to Naarath, and came to Jericho, and went out at Jordan. The border went out from Tappuah westward unto the river Kanah; and the goings out thereof were at the sea. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Ephraim by their families.

The separate cities for the children of Ephraim were among the inheritance of the children of Manasseh, all the cities with their villages. They could not drive out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer: but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites unto this day, and serve under tribute.

There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh; he was the firstborn of Joseph. Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead: because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead and Bashan. There was also a lot for the rest of the children of Manasseh by their families; for the children of Abiezer, and for the children of Helek, and for the children of Asriel, and for the children of Shechem, and for the children of Hepher, and for the children of Shemida: these were the male children of Manasseh the son of Joseph by their families. Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, but daughters: and these are the names of his daughters, Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. There were ten portions given to Manasseh, beside the land of Gilead and Bashan, which were on the other side Jordan. Because the daughters of Manasseh had an inheritance among his sons: and the rest of Manasseh’s sons had the land of Gilead. Manasseh had the land of Tappuah: but Tappuah on the border of Manasseh belonged to the children of Ephraim. The coast descended unto the river Kanah, southward of the river: these cities of Ephraim are among the cities of Manasseh: the coast of Manasseh also was on the north side of the river, and the outgoings of it were at the sea. Southward it was Ephraim’s, and northward it was Manasseh’s, and the sea is his border; and they met together in Asher on the north, and in Issachar on the east. Manasseh had in Issachar and in Asher Bethshean and her towns, and Ibleam and her towns, and the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, and the inhabitants of Endor and her towns, and the inhabitants of Taanach and her towns, and the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns, even three countries. The children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land. There was a time that the children of Israel grew strong and that they put the Canaanites to tribute; but did not utterly drive them out.

The children of Joseph spoke to Joshua saying one portion of land was not enough because they were a great people. Joshua agreed and would give them the wood country, and cut down the trees in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants if mount Ephraim was too narrow for them. The children of Joseph said the hill was not enough for them, and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both the Bethshean and her towns, the valley of Jezreel.

Joshua spoke unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and Manasseh, saying, they were a great people, and had great power because of this they shall not have only one lot. The mountain shall be theirs, for it is a wood and they shall cut it down, and shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they are strong. ( Joshua 16-17).

Moses blessed the children of Israel before his death. The blessing given to Joseph was “And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, 14 And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon,15 And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, 16 And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.17 His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.” ( Deuteronomy 33:13-17).

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