This story is featured in a collection of Bible stories for kids called Do Not Be Afraid: Bible Stories for Kids about Hope.
Joseph, the son of the Patriarch Jacob, was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, but God had a plan for him. God turned a sad situation into a miracle that saved many lives.
As you read this story, pay attention to the reason Joseph so easily forgives his brothers.
After being betrayed by his brothers, Joseph was taken into Egypt and then thrown in jail for a crime he did not commit. In jail, he sometimes felt discouraged, but through his faith, he became known as someone who could interpret dreams. So when Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, was having sleepless nights full of difficult dreams, he summoned Joseph from jail.
“I have had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I am told you have the ability to interpret dreams,” Pharaoh said to Joseph.
“It is not me. God will give you an answer to your dreams,” Joseph replied.
Pharaoh described his dream, and Joseph explained to him that it meant the next seven years would bring a great harvest, with lots of food. The seven years after that, however, would bring a famine, with very little food.
Pharaoh was impressed. He appointed Joseph to oversee the kingdom to prepare for the famine. Joseph became one of the most powerful men in the world.
Seven years later, Joseph’s family in Canaan was suffering from the famine. They were very hungry. His brothers traveled down to Egypt to ask for help. They did not know that their brother Joseph had become such an important person.
They appeared before Joseph to ask for Egypt’s help, but they did not recognize him as their brother. Joseph, however, recognized them. He tested them to see if they had changed, and indeed, they had. He revealed to them that he was their brother Joseph, and they were filled with remorse.
They worried that Joseph would hold a grudge against them. They asked for his forgiveness.
Joseph wept when he heard this, and his brothers wept, too, and bowed down before Joseph, saying, “We are here as your slaves!”
Joseph replied, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? You intended to do me harm, but God intended it for good. I was brought here so he could save many people. Have no fear. I will provide for you and for your children in Egypt.”
So the people of God traveled to Egypt and lived there through the famine and for many years afterward.
- Why did Joseph so easily forgive his brothers instead of holding a grudge or punishing them?
- How might this story give hope to someone in a difficult situation?
- Have you ever had a memorable dream? What happened in the dream, and what do you think it means?
Download & Print this Story and Reflection Questions
You can read this story to your kids online or download a PDF printout along with discussion questions here:
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