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Joseph Interprets Dreams

(Back to OT Junior Seminary Overview)

Old Testament Lesson 19: Genesis 40-41

To Prepare: Read Genesis 40 and Genesis 41; print a copy of the activity below for each child participating.


To Teach: Begin with a prayer. Remind the children that Joseph was in prison. The keeper of the prison was so impressed with Joseph that he put him in charge of all the other prisoners.

One day Pharaoh became angry with his butler and his baker and threw them into prison with Joseph. The baker and the butler each had a dream on the same night. In the morning, they were very disturbed. When Joseph asked why, they told him their dreams, and he told them their meanings. Read or summarize Genesis 40:9-15 about the butler’s dream and Joseph’s interpretation of it. Do the same for the baker’s dream in Genesis 40:16-19. On the third day, everything happened the way Joseph said it would: the baker was hanged and the butler returned to Pharaoh’s house, but he forgot about Joseph.

Two years later, Pharaoh had a pair of dreams that disturbed him (Genesis 41:1-7). In his first dream, seven fat, healthy cattle came up from the river, followed by seven thin, starving cattle. The seven starving cows ate the seven healthy cows. In his second dream, he dreamed that seven ears of plump, tasty corn came up on one stalk, and after that seven withered, shriveled ears of corn came up. Then, the seven thin ears devoured the seven full ears. He called all the wise men and magicians in the land to tell him what they meant, but no one could.

Once all the wise men failed, Pharaoh’s butler remembered Joseph. Pharaoh called Joseph out of prison and Joseph interpreted the dreams with help from God (Genesis 41:25-36). He said that there would be seven years of plenty (lots of food to harvest) followed by seven years of famine. Joseph suggested that Pharaoh gather extra food for each of the seven years of plenty and save it for the seven years of famine.

Pharaoh was so pleased that he put Joseph in charge of it. Joseph became wealthy and powerful, and was given a woman as his wife. He had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. The seven years of plenty passed, and famine descended not just on Egypt, but on many lands around. People began to come to Egypt from all around because it was the only place to buy food.

Finish up by drawing one of Pharaoh’s dreams. You did it again!

(Go to Lesson 20)

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