Old Testament Week 9: Joseph and the sons of Jacob1 Genesis 37–50

1) Way, way back many centuries ago, not long after the Bible began, Jacob lived in the land of Canaan, a fine example of a family man. a) (Sorry, I couldn’t resist. It’s hard not to talk about this story without breaking into song.2) b) As we read last week, Jacob lived for twenty years in Haran, where he married Leah and Rachel, the daughters of Laban. i) He also took Bilhah and Zilpah, the servants of Leah and Rachel, as additional wives. According to the custom of the day, the children they bore to Jacob were legally Leah and Rachel’s children. c) Genesis 29–30 records that Joseph had twelve sons and one daughter by his four wives. This week’s handout has information on what their names mean, but briefly these sons were: i) By Leah: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. ii) By Bilhah: Dan and Naphtali. iii) By Zilpah: Gad and Asher. iv) By Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. (1) Rachel died in childbirth, naming her last son Ben-Oni (“son of my suffering”), but Jacob changed his name to Benjamin (“son of the right hand”). (Genesis 35:18.) d) As the oldest son, Reuben held the birthright and promise of his father’s blessing. However, he had sexual relations with Bilhah, his father’s concubine, and Jacob heard about it. (Genesis 35:22.) i) Because of this transgression, Reuben lost his birthright.3 e) Simeon and Levi were next in line to receive the birthright, but they lost it through their excess in avenging the rape of their sister Dinah, and the fact that they turned a sacred rite (circumcision) into a tool for deceit and revenge. (Genesis 34.)4 f) So, as the next oldest son, Judah took the leadership role. g) Joseph was the eldest son of the second wife, and therefore in line to receive the birthright. But he was much younger and from a wife with whom the relationship with the other wives, especially Leah, was quite strained, so he was not at all liked by his brothers.
1 I am grateful to my friend Greg Smith of Raymond, Alberta, for allowing me to liberally borrow from the notes he prepared for Gospel Doctrine on this material. 2 See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_and_the_Amazing_Technicolor_Dreamcoat 3 See 1 Chronicles 5:1. Reuben’s act probably had other purposes than merely satisfying his sexual desire. By having sex with Bilhah, Reuben (Leah’s oldest son) would have prevented Bilhah from succeeding Rachel as the favorite wife, and by sleeping with his father’s concubine he would also be attempting to take over leadership of the clan. 4 Jacob’s response to this action wasn’t exactly honorable, either: He didn’t reprove Simeon and Levi for murder, but only for making trouble for him in the land. (Genesis 34:30.)

© 2009, Mike Parker

For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class

Old Testament: Joseph and the sons of Jacob

Week 9, Page 2

2) Joseph the favored son and dreamer (Genesis 37). a) Joseph was also honorable and faithful to his father. When his brothers were making mischief, Joseph brought back a bad report about them to their father (Genesis 37:2). i) Some have incorrectly seen this as Joseph being a “tattletale.” However, what we’re really seeing is that, even at a young age, Joseph honored and respected his father, kept the covenant, and behaved better than his elders. He obeyed even when not under the watchful eye of his father, while his brothers engaged in behavior that Jacob would not support. The narrative portrays Joseph as faithful to his father in little things, even though unpopular—and so he will eventually be given authority over greater things.5 b) Joseph was his father’s pride and joy—the first son of his most beloved wife (Genesis 37:3). c) The “coat of many colours” is a translation based on the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament. No one is certain what the Hebrew phrase here means. (1) It seems to suggest a richly embroidered over-tunic, with long sleeves. (a) The standard outfit of the day for men consisted of a shirt-like tunic that covered the torso and upper arms, and came to the knees. Over this would be worn a sleeveless coat that also came to the knees.6 (b) Joseph’s coat, on the other hand, reached to his wrists and ankles. (2) It was a garment of distinction, and possibly royalty. Whatever it was, it clearly set Joseph apart as the favored son. ii) The brothers hated Joseph because of his preeminence, and this lead to everything that followed (Genesis 37:4). d) When Joseph began having dreams that allegorically implied that his family—even his father and his father’s wives—would bow down to him, this really angered his brothers (Genesis 37:5–11). i) Rather than “rubbing their nose in it,” we should remember that these dreams were revelations from God. The brothers’ anger doesn’t just reflect their dislike for Joseph, for also their unwillingness to accept God’s will. ii) Even Jacob was a bit skeptical, but he “observed the saying” (37:11b)—he paid attention to it, and did not cast it out as being of no worth. He had respect to the things of God, even if they seemed unlikely. iii) As we’re going to see later, Joseph truly was a seer in the same class as Enoch and other ancient seers. e) We see more of Joseph’s reliability when his father sends him on an errand to find his brothers, who are out grazing the flocks (Genesis 37:12–17). i) His father sent him to Shechem, but Joseph went “the extra mile” to journey to Dothan to find the brothers. This conscientiousness is a hallmark of Joseph, and his faithfulness in small things will carry over into bigger things later.

5 6

Compare Matthew 25:21, D&C 132:53. Hence Matthew 5:40: “And if someone wants to sue you and to take your tunic, give him your coat also” (NET). For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

© 2009, Mike Parker

Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class

Old Testament: Joseph and the sons of Jacob

Week 9, Page 3

f) It’s at this point his brothers conspired to murder him (Genesis 37:18–36). i) Reuben attempted to save Joseph’s life (37:21–22), but all of his plans came to naught.7 Judah was the one in charge, and his plan to sell Joseph for profit succeeded (37:26–27). 3) Judah and Tamar (Genesis 38). a) This chapter is an interlude. We break away from the story of Joseph and find out about the character of Judah, who was chief among the sons of Jacob and instigator of Joseph’s sale into slavery. b) Judah married a Canaanite woman, outside the covenant of his fathers, and through her had three sons: Er, Onan, and Shelah (Genesis 38:1–5). (The alert reader will know that this is always a bad sign!) i) Judah’s poor example “rubbed off” on his children. Er was wicked—worse than Judah, we assume, because God took Er’s life (Genesis 38:7). (1) This highlights a principle taught by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:
Parents simply cannot flirt with skepticism or cynicism, then be surprised when their children expand that flirtation into full-blown romance. If in matters of faith and belief children are at risk of being swept downstream by this intellectual current or that cultural rapid, we as their parents must be more certain than ever to hold to anchored, unmistakable moorings clearly recognizable to those of our own household. It won’t help anyone if we go over the edge with them, explaining through the roar of the falls all the way down that we really did know the Church was true and that the keys of the priesthood really were lodged there but we just didn’t want to stifle anyone’s freedom to think otherwise…. I think some parents may not understand that even when they feel secure in their own minds regarding matters of personal testimony, they can nevertheless make that faith too difficult for their children to detect. We can be reasonably active, meeting-going Latter-day Saints, but if we do not live lives of gospel integrity and convey to our children powerful heartfelt convictions regarding the truthfulness of the Restoration and the divine guidance of the Church from the First Vision to this very hour, then those children may, to our regret but not surprise, turn out not to be visibly active, meeting-going Latter-day Saints or sometimes anything close to it.8

c) In order to contextualize the rest of the story, we have to understand the law of levirate marriage.9 i) The word levirate does not come from “levite,” but from the Latin levir, meaning “husband’s brother.”10 It was common practice in the ancient Near East, including among Israel.

7 After the loss of the birthright, Reuben is portrayed as weak and ineffectual; nothing he plans comes to fruition. For example, see Genesis 42:37–38 where Reuben does not succeed, while Judah does with a nearly identical idea in 43:8–11. 8 Jeffrey R. Holland. “A Prayer for the Children,” General Conference, April 2003;

http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-353-29,00.html
9 10

Biblical examples are found in Deuteronomy 25:5–10, Matthew 22:23, and Ruth. See LDS Bible Dictionary, “Levirate.” For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

€ 2009, Mike Parker

Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class

Old Testament: Joseph and the sons of Jacob

Week 9, Page 4

ii) In this culture, women required a man to protect and provide for them. There were not many “career options” open to women. A woman was cared for by her father until she was married, by her husband while married, and by her male children when her husband was dead. iii) The loss of a husband while having no children usually meant a life of poverty; widows were considered “tainted goods,” so to speak, and so there was little chance of remarriage. iv) So, under the levirate marriage, a brother-in-law married his dead brother’s wife, and provided for her. Any children born, however, were considered his brother’s heirs, and not his, and were to care for their mother in her old age. v) In Genesis 38:8–10, Onan accepted the opportunity to marry Tamar, and used her for physical pleasure,11 but each time he practiced coitus interruptus so she would not conceive. (1) Onan therefore exploited levirate law and the marriage covenant for his purposes—he gets all the benefits, but will not provide Tamar with the children, support, or long-term security which the law is intended to provide. So God killed him. vi) At this point Judah should have provided his last son as a levirate husband, but he refused for fear the third would also die for wickedness as his elder brothers had (Genesis 38:11). vii)Judah shipped Tamar back to her father’s house. She had no reasonable hope of remarriage, having been married twice and also having no dowry. So, she lived in limbo, on the fringes of society, utterly vulnerable to the whims of others, with few options to provide for herself. d) Tamar eventually decided to take matters into her own hands. She dressed up as a prostitute, and propositioned Judah as he was walking along the road. He accepted, and she became pregnant by her father-in-law. (Genesis 38:12–23.) And then comes the interesting conclusion: i) When Judah found out Tamar had “played the harlot” and become pregnant, he ordered her to be killed. But Tamar turned the tables by producing Judah’s symbols of authority that he gave her during the encounter. Judah was confronted by his hypocrisy and forced to admit that “she hath been more righteous than I,” because he did not fulfill his obligations under the law. (Genesis 38:24–26.) ii) Tamar gave birth to twins, one of whom—Pharez12—became the ancestor of the royal house of David and, eventually, Jesus Christ.13 iii) We do not know how Tamar will be judged—that is not in our hands. But the Lord was able to turn even a rather dysfunctional and wicked family of reprobates to his purposes.

The Hebrew phrasing in Genesis 38:9 indicates that Onan’s act was a repeated practice and not merely one incident. The name means “he who breaks through,” referring to Pharez reaching out his hand at birth before his brother was born. The naming is significant for both Tamar’s struggle to “break through,” and also foretold the destiny of the tribe of Pharez who later became dominant (Genesis 46:12 and Numbers 26:20). The incident was also an allegorical message from God to Judah, in that the younger brother, Pharez, became dominant, just as Joseph would dominate his older brothers. 13 See Luke 3:33.
12

11

© 2009, Mike Parker

For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class

Old Testament: Joseph and the sons of Jacob

Week 9, Page 5

4) Joseph in Egypt (Genesis 39–46). a) Judah’s failure to keep the covenant promises, even while living a life of prominence and privilege, is directly contrasted with Joseph’s faithfulness under the most trying circumstances. b) Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39): i) Joseph was taken to Egypt, in chains, and sold to a captain named Potiphar, where his responsibility and trustworthiness works to his advantage. Soon he was running the entire household, and Potiphar trusted him completely. (Genesis 39:1–6.) ii) Joseph was handsome, and Potiphar’s wife tempted him. Joseph refused, out of faithfulness both to his master and to God:
Soon after these things, his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Have sex with me.” But he refused, saying to his master’s wife, “Look, my master does not give any thought to his household with me here, and everything that he owns he has put into my care. There is no one greater in this household than I am. He has withheld nothing from me except you because you are his wife. So how could I do such a great evil and sin against God?” (NET Genesis 39:7–9.)

(1) Unlike Judah and the other brothers, Joseph kept his covenants even at risk to himself, and even to deny himself pleasure. iii) But Potiphar’s wife kept up the pressure, daily (Genesis 39:10). This is often how moral temptations are, especially to us: they are not isolated events, and indeed the brazen, one-time assaults would be relatively easy to resist. It is the tedious, repetitive, insidious, almost inescapable daily assault and whispers that probably wear most people down. (1) But Joseph did not succumb. He got out quickly, even when he must have known that he could have gotten away with it, and running out would only be to his disadvantage. (Genesis 39:11–12.) (2) Potiphar’s wife played the race card—“ [my husband] hath brought in an Hebrew unto us”!—and Joseph was imprisoned on false testimony. (Genesis 39:13–20.) (a) It’s ironic that this is twice now that he has been condemned on the basis of his coat or garment. iv) Joseph was worse off than before. (Better to be a slave than a slave in prison!) (1) God’s revelation to him about being a ruler or leader seemed further away than ever. His keeping the commandments and covenants seems, ironically, to have taken him further from having God’s promises fulfilled, while those who were violating the covenant were back home, happy, prosperous, and enjoying their illicit relations. (2) It might be understandable if he doubted God’s promises, regretted his covenants, or slacked off. But, he didn’t. Soon, because of his steadfast reliability in things spiritual and temporal, he was running the entire prison. (Genesis 39:21–23.)

€ 2009, Mike Parker

For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class

Old Testament: Joseph and the sons of Jacob

Week 9, Page 6

(a) Elder Hartman Rector, Jr.:
[The] ability to turn everything into something good appears to be a godly characteristic. Our Heavenly Father always seems able to do this. Everything, no matter how dire, becomes a victory to the Lord. Joseph, although a slave and wholly undeserving of this fate, nevertheless remained faithful to the Lord and continued to live the commandments and made something very good of his degrading circumstances. People like this cannot be defeated.14

c) Joseph before Pharaoh (Genesis 40–41). i) In prison, Joseph met Pharaoh’s cupbearer (KJV “chief of the butlers”) and chief baker. They did something to offend Pharaoh, but, being of high rank, they were entitled to a servant in prison, and Joseph was given the assignment. (Genesis 40:1– 4.) ii) Both men had dreams, which Joseph interpreted for them (Genesis 40:5–19). (1) Joseph told the cupbearer that Pharaoh will “lift up thine head,” or “tell you to chin up,” we might say. Everything is going to work out, and he’ll be back to his position of prominence. Joseph only asks that the cupbearer mention his case to Pharaoh after he is restored to his position. (2) Unfortunately for the baker, Pharaoh will also “lift up” his head, but he will have it chopped off, and he will be impaled (have a stake rammed through his body). (3) This reinforces the idea which we saw in Genesis 37—Joseph uses his gift of seership to tell the truth, not to advance his own self-interest. He could have given positive interpretations to both men, hoping that at least one of them would help him out. Instead, he simply told the truth. iii) The cupbearer was restored, and the baker was executed. But the cupbearer forgot about Joseph. (1) Let’s emphasize again at this point that Joseph—like Abraham, like Isaac, and like Jacob—had many events in his life when it seemed that the covenant would come to nothing, or the promises of God would not be fulfilled. His was a life filled with cruel ironies and undeserved reverses. He was repeatedly asked to give up what the covenant promises him (preeminence, power, authority, freedom from bondage) for the sake of the covenant (obedience to father, law of chastity). At any point, Joseph could have gotten fed up, or cried “Why me?” or decided that the covenant wasn’t worth it, or that God did not keep His promises. And yet, he clung to revelation in the midst of the reverses he suffered. Like Abraham his great-grandfather, he “against hope believed in hope” (Romans 4:18). (2) Joseph was, by this time, 30 years old.15 For 13 years he had dropped lower and lower in the scheme of things, with no reasonable end in sight. iv) Then, one night, Pharaoh had a dream, and no one could interpret it. The cupbearer remembered Joseph, and told the tale (belatedly) to Pharaoh. Joseph was brought out, shaved, washed, and changed, and brought before Pharaoh. (Genesis 41:1–14.)
14

Hartman Rector, Jr., “Live Above The Law To Be Free,” General Conference, October 1972; Genesis 41:46. For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=7331438d9b76b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnex toid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD
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© 2009, Mike Parker

Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class

Old Testament: Joseph and the sons of Jacob

Week 9, Page 7

(1) Note the return of the garment motif—Joseph’s fine coat was taken from him when he was sold into slavery. His garment left with Potiphar’s wife got him falsely accused and imprisoned. But, now God will return that which has been taken away unjustly from Joseph. So first he receives new clothes to see Pharaoh.
And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace. (Genesis 41:15–16.)

(2) Again, Joseph’s humility is evident. If there is ever a time to build oneself up, it’s when you are called before Pharaoh! It would look best if someone seemed wise and indispensable. But, Joseph did not succumb to this temptation, and again attributed his wisdom to God—probably a chancy thing to do to a pagan ruler and his court, who likely don’t have much use for Joseph, his race, or his God. v) Pharaoh recounted his dream, and Joseph interpreted it (Genesis 41:17–36). (1) It is not surprising that the interpretation would be unclear to the Egyptians. Unlike most of the countries of the area, Egypt rarely suffered from famine. Egypt did not require seasonal rains for crops; rather, the annual flooding of the Nile provided an abundance of food for people and animals, as the dream shows. Without warning, would they think to save and prepare for seven years of famine, when such a thing was virtually unheard of in their land? (2) Pharaoh asked for advice, Joseph suggested putting someone wise in charge of saving grain, and Pharaoh picked Joseph. (Genesis 41:37–44.) Overnight, he rose from an obscure foreign slave to being second-in-command to one of the most powerful men in the world! (a) Time and the accomplishment of God’s purposes do much to alter our perspective. The facts have not changed, but the meaning which we can give them does. Yet, through the eye of faith, Joseph trusted that somehow, someway, God would fulfill His promises. (b) Joseph received new clothes again: “vestures of fine linen,” the finest cloth available, bleached white by the sun, the garments of royalty (Genesis 41:42). Thus, the royal coat of his father Jacob, which was stolen and stained with blood, was returned, as it were. His brothers’ efforts to take the garment from him resulted in him getting the true royal garment, of which his first coat was only a symbol. (c) And, like his father and great-grandfather, Joseph received a new name (Genesis 41:45), indicating the role of God in Joseph’s “rebirth” from slave to ruler.16

16 “The meaning of Joseph’s Egyptian name, Zaphenath-Paneah, is uncertain. Many recent commentators have followed the proposal of G. Steindorff that it means ‘the god has said, “he will live”’ (‘Der Name Josephs Saphenat-Pa‘neach,’ Z‚S 31 [1889]: 41-42); others have suggested ‘the god speaks and lives.’” (NET Bible, Genesis 41:45 fn.)

© 2009, Mike Parker

For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class

Old Testament: Joseph and the sons of Jacob

Week 9, Page 8

d) Joseph’s reunion with his brothers (Genesis 41–46). i) The conclusion of the story is lengthy. Since we’ve all read it, I’d like to make just two observations: (1) Joseph’s tests of his brothers might seem cruel and arbitrary, but the brothers “had it coming” from the Biblical perspective. (a) More importantly, though, Joseph had to decide what kind of men his brothers have become: Were they still bitter and resentful? Would they still seek his life? What was their attitude toward his younger full brother, Benjamin? Was Benjamin in danger because he was also a son of Rachel? Did the brothers respect their father better than they did, or did they still not care for his feelings? (2) When Joseph framed Benjamin (Genesis 44:1–13), Judah made an impassioned plea on Benjamin’s behalf (44:18–34). He used the term “my father,” multiple times. It’s clear that Judah was a changed man—gone was the man who would sell his brother for money, fake his death with goat’s blood, and then hypocritically stand in “mourning” with his father. Guilt for his misdeeds had softened him, changed him, and pushed him to take the very difficult steps necessary to repent. 5) Joseph as a type. a) Joseph is, of course, a type of Christ. i) Like Joseph, Jesus was the most loved son of his Father. ii) Like Joseph, Jesus descended into “spiritual Egypt,” to places of torment, even though He was innocent—cast into the pit.17 iii) Jesus was conspired against by his brethren, who sold him for silver. iv) Jesus was always faithful, and now stands on the right hand of God, as Joseph stood on the right hand of Pharaoh. b) Joseph is a symbol for each of us. i) In our lives we will have terrible reverses, suffer for the sins and injustices brought upon us by others, and actually suffer when we keep our promises and our covenants. ii) We may, from time to time, think we are coming up in the world. Things may improve a little bit, and we may gain a little worldly power and influence, then lose it all in an instant. iii) Like Joseph, we are all summoned before the King. We must wait upon Him, and make ourselves ready when He calls. We must wash ourselves, clean our clothes as best we can, and present ourselves before Him. Then, if we are humble and wise before Him, He will raise us up, put the ring seal on our hand and the royal garments of pure white linen upon us. We will be welcomed back into his household as a full heir and a ruler with Him.

17

See Jesus’ words of comfort to Joseph Smith on this matter (D&C 122:7). For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

© 2009, Mike Parker

Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class

Old Testament: Joseph and the sons of Jacob

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6) Joseph the seer. a) There is a tradition that Joseph was a great seer who prophesied about his descendants. This tradition is not found the Old Testament, but was spoken of by the prophet Lehi to his own son named Joseph. (2 Nephi 3:3–21.) i) Lehi himself was a descendant of ancient Joseph (2 Nephi 3:4), through Joseph’s son Manasseh (Alma 10:3). ii) Lehi told his son that the Nephites were part of Joseph’s prophecy:
[Joseph] obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel; not the Messiah,18 but a branch which was to be broken off,19 nevertheless, to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord that the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the spirit of power, unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light—yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom. (2 Nephi 3:5.)

iii) Joseph went on to prophesy that these promises would be carried out by another descendant of his, whose name would also be Joseph:
Yea, Joseph truly said: Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers. *** Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord. (2 Nephi 3:7, 12.)

iv) This material was restored by Joseph Smith through the Book of Mormon and through the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible.20 7) The blessings of Joseph’s descendants. a) Toward the end of his life, Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 48). Manasseh was the elder and deserved the birthright blessing, but Jacob switched his hands and gave the blessing to Ephraim (48:12–14). i) Ephraim was blessed that “his seed shall become a multitude of nations” (48:19). This was fulfilled in several ways:
Jacob promised Judah that the Messiah would be among his descendants: “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs [Hebrew ‫ / שילה‬shiloh]; the nations will obey him” (NET Genesis 49:10). 19 This is reminiscent of Jacob’s blessing to Joseph that he “is a fruitful bough near a spring whose branches climb over the wall” (NET Genesis 49:22). 20 See JST Genesis 50:24–38, in the appendix to the LDS edition of the Bible (pages 799–800). The material here is the same prophecy found in 2 Nephi 3. € 2009, Mike Parker For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
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Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class

Old Testament: Joseph and the sons of Jacob

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(1) Ephraim became the dominant tribe in the northern part of David and Solomon’s kingdom, so much so that when the kingdom was split into two nations after Solomon’s death, the northern kingdom of Israel was often called “Ephraim.” (2) The northern kingdom was conquered by Assyria in 722 B.C. and its inhabitants carried away captive. Because of this, the blood of Ephraim has been spread throughout among the Gentile nations of the earth. (3) In the last days, Ephraim’s descendants are being gathered first, because they have the responsibility of preparing the way for the gathering of the other tribes (D&C 113:1–10). If we fulfill our commission, the Lord’s promise is that the gathered tribes of Israel
shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim, my servants…. And there shall they fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim…. Behold, this is the blessing of the everlasting God upon the tribes of Israel, and the richer blessing upon the head of Ephraim and his fellows. (D&C 133:30, 32, 34.)

8) Next week: a) Moses: origins, calling, and exodus (Exodus 1–15).

€ 2009, Mike Parker

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