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Joseph and His Brothers


QUESTION: Who were Joseph and His Brothers?


Joseph was the 11th and most loved son of Jacob and first son of his beloved second wife, Rachel. This is the story of Joseph and his older half brothers. Their entire story is found in Genesis 29-50.

Jacob’s sons by his first wife Leah (Rachel’s older sister):
  • Reuben (meaning He has seen my misery -- because Leah knew she wasn’t Jacob’s true love)
  • Simeon
  • Levi
  • Judah
  • Issachar
  • Zebulon
By Bilhah (Rachel’s handmaid -- given in Rachel’s barrenness)
  • Dan
  • Naphtali
By Zilpah (Leah’s handmaid -- given because Leah was jealous)
  • Gad
  • Asher
Rachel, who was Jacob’s true love, was distraught that she could not give him children. She prayed, pleading with God to bless her with a child. After Leah had also given birth to a daughter named Dinah, God answered Rachel’s prayers. She became pregnant and gave birth to her first son, Joseph (Genesis 30:22). Much later, she also gave birth to Joseph’s only full brother Benjamin, whom Jacob also loved a great deal.

But all was not well. As Joseph grew older, it did not go unnoticed that Jacob greatly favored young Joseph. Joseph was a confident, Godly young man and didn’t hesitate to tell his brothers of a dream that seemed to flaunt his supreme destiny. God revealed in these dreams that someday his brothers would bow to him. This certainly added more resentment to his brothers’ increasingly jealousy. This jealousy resulted in the events that placed Joseph into slavery but ended with favor bestowed upon Joseph in Egypt. He was granted a high position by the Pharaoh that would later prove to be the salvation of his own brothers and father.

Joseph and his brothers were the ancestors of the 12 Tribes of Israel. From them and their descendants came the entire nation of Israel. Jacob was Abraham’s grandson. Joseph returned to Canaan, the Promised Land that God proclaimed for all of Abraham’s descendants. We can see in the list below how important this family of sons has been to produce some of the greatest people in the history of Christianity.

The sons are listed first, with the descendants following:

Reuben ----- none
Simeon ----- none
Levi ----- Aaron, Moses, Eli, John the Baptist
Judah ----- David, Jesus
Dan ----- Samson
Naphtali ----- Barak, Elijah were from the land of Naphtali
Gad ----- Jephthah were from the land of Gad
Asher ----- none
Issachar ----- none
Zebulun ----- none
Joseph ----- Joshua, Gideon, Samuel
Benjamin ----- Saul, Esther, Paul

Joseph in the Bible - Learn the Story!

WHAT DO YOU THINK? - We have all sinned and deserve God's judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, "Jesus is Lord," you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.

What is your response?

Yes, today I am deciding to follow Jesus

Yes, I am already a follower of Jesus

I still have questions

Why Should God Let You In Heaven

How to Know God
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