This is the second lesson in a series of 5 lessons about Joseph and the incredible way God used him to bless his people.
Title: Joseph is Sold into Slavery (Part 2 of 5 – more coming soon)
Scripture: Genesis 37:12-26, Exodus 20:17, Romans 2:9-11, Romans 5:10
Target Age Group: 3rd-5th grade
Supplies: White board and marker
Optional Story Illustrations: The Story of Joseph Coloring Pages
Lesson Opening: What is Jealousy?
Ask: What does the word “jealousy” mean? (wanting what someone else has, envy)
Ask: Tell us about a time when you felt jealous of someone else. What were you jealous of?
Ask: What do you think God has to say about us being jealous? Have a kid read Exodus 20:17.
Ask: What is another word for “jealous” that the Bible uses? (covet)
Say: In this passage we learn that jealousy is against God’s law. Clearly, God thinks jealousy is a big deal!
Say: Today, we’re going to learn more about Joseph. And we’re going to learn about how the special coat his Father gave him made his brothers so jealous that they attacked him and sold him as a slave.
Pray that God would help us understand his Word today.
Tell the Story:
Last week we learned about Joseph and his 11 brothers. Jacob, their father, loved Joseph the most and gave him special treatment like putting him in charge of his brothers and giving him a fancy coat. Joseph’s brothers were jealous and angry of all the special attention he was getting. After all, Joseph was the second youngest brother! Who was he to have power over the rest of them?
One day all the brothers were taking care of the sheep out in the fields. Jacob sent Joseph out to check on them and see how they were doing. Joseph went in search for his brothers. His brothers were off in the distance and could see him coming even from a long way off. This gave them time to hatch and evil plan.
Ask: Have any of you ever been so angry with someone that you wanted to do something mean to them? Do you think this is how God wants us to respond to people we don’t like? (No way! God wants us to love people, even if they do bad things to us.)
Ask: Why were Joseph’s brothers jealous and angry with him? (Joseph had boasted about his dreams that he would be more powerful than them and they would one day bow down to him.)
Joseph’s brothers were so angry and so jealous of him that they didn’t care how evil their plan was. Sometimes when we are very angry it’s hard for us to make choices that will honor God. Let’s hear what God’s Word says about the brothers’ plan…
Read: “They saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him. ‘Here comes that dreamer!’ they said to each other. ‘Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.’” (Genesis 37:18-20)
What a terrible plan! Poor Joseph! Thankfully the eldest brother Reuben stepped in to stop their wicked plan. Here is what he said…
Read: “’Let’s not take his life’ he said. ‘Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the dessert, but don’t lay a hand on him.’ Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.” (Genesis 37:21-22)
The brothers agreed with this new plan. When Joseph reached them they grabbed him, ripped off the beautiful coat from their father, and threw him into the cistern nearby.
Ask: How do you think Joseph might have felt when they did this? (Allow a few kids to answer.)
As the brothers were eating their afternoon meal they looked up and saw a caravan of merchants traveling along the road. They talked among themselves and decided it would be better to sell Joseph to the merchants rather than kill him, so that’s exactly what they did. They sold their own brother into slavery for 20 pieces of silver!
They took Joseph’s beautiful robe and dipped it in the blood of an animal they killed. When they returned home they showed the robe to their father Jacob. Jacob mourned for his lost son, thinking a ferocious animal had killed him.
Meanwhile the merchants who had bought Joseph traveled to Egypt where they sold Joseph to one of Pharaoh’s officials named Potiphar. Joseph must have been scared as he was taken to a foreign land far away from his whole family. But we will see later in the story that God never left Joseph. Even though his brothers had done terrible things to him, God would use Joseph in an incredible way to bless His people.
Does Joseph’s story remind you of anyone else that we read about in the Bible? All throughout scripture we read about Jesus and how he lived a perfect. But Jesus suffered terrible things, even though he didn’t deserve it! In fact, people planned truly wicked things to do to him, just like Joseph’s brothers. Jesus was put to death, which is the greatest evil there is! But God is so good and so gracious that He allowed good things to come from this terrible event.
Ask: Does anyone know what good came from Jesus’ death? (Because of Christ’s death, he took the punishment for our sin, so when we put our trust in Him our sins are forgiven and we are reconciled to God.)
Even in our own lives there are bad things that happen, but we can trust that God can bring good things from them too. The God we serve is a good God who loves us and cares for us. We can trust Him to bless us even in the midst of our suffering! Let’s pray and thank God for this amazing truth!
Pray: Dear God thank you so much for showing us your goodness through the story of Joseph and his brothers. We thank you that you use what is planned for evil to bring about good things. We especially thank you for sending Jesus to die in our place and take the punishment for our sins. Amen.
- How many brothers did Joseph have? (11)
- Why were they jealous of Joseph? (He had bragged about being more powerful than them because of his dreams)
- What evil thing did the brothers do to Joseph? (They threw him into a cistern then sold him into slavery)
- What did the brothers bring to Jacob that belonged to Joseph? (The coat Jacob had given to Joseph)
- How did Jacob respond when the brothers brought him Joseph’s coat? (He mourned for his dead son.)
- What country did Joseph end up in? (Egypt)
Learning Activity 1: Seeking Revenge
Supplies: White board and marker
- Using a large white board write the word “Revenge” on the board with a circle around it. Ask the kids to think about what this word means and write the definition under the word.
- Next, have the class think about examples of times that they have been tempted to get back at someone for being mean to them. Write their answers around the circle.
- Say: Joseph’s brothers hated him so much that they wanted revenge on him for his arrogance.
- Have one child read Romans 5:10.
- Ask: How does the Bible describe us compared to God? (As God’s enemies.)
- Say: God had every right to seek revenge on us but he doesn’t. We totally deserve God’s punishment for sinning against him. Rather than seek revenge, what does God do? (He solves our sin problem by sending his Son Jesus to die for us.)
- Ask: When we are tempted to seek revenge on other people, what is a better way to respond? (We can remember what God has done for us. We can offer forgiveness to the one who wronged us. And we can confess our sin of jealousy/anger/etc.)
Learning Activity 2: Playing Favorites
Say: Joseph’s dad, Jacob clearly favored Joseph over his brothers. This is where their jealousy began. They all wanted to feel loved by their father.
Ask: Do we ever play favorites the way Jacob did? What are examples of how we do that?
Read: Romans 2:9-11.
Ask: Does God ever show favorites? (No, we are all loved by God.)
Ask: Do we have to try really hard to please God so we can be on his good side or so he will love us more? (No! There is nothing we can do to earn God’s love. He loves us even though we sin against him. He has shown us how much he loves us by sending Jesus to die for us!)