'Old Testament Prophets: Joseph'

Not in the Ensign

Prepared by & Anotated by Don R. Hender


    ďAnd also with Joseph and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham, your fathers, by whom the promises remain;" 1

    [Among the Patriarchal Fathers, by whom the promises of the Everlasting Covenant remained with its keys and powers is listed Joseph son of Jacob. He is often left out of that list, as he was in the Ensign presentations of the Prophets of the Old Testament. He should not be as he sits at the critical point of those blessing being preserved and fulfilled to the earth through his seed, even down to the latter days and beyond with those rights of priesthood belonging to such as Joseph Smith, his descendant, and upon many of the restoration who are of the linage of Joseph through his sons Ephraim and Manasseh.2 - drh]

   Joseph's dreams of the sun, moon and stars (Genesis 37:9), and the one of the sheaves bowing down (Genesis 37:7), are well known. From these dreams Joseph brother's hated him like Laman and Lemuel hated Nephi, and they assumed the attitude that they would not have their younger brother to be their ruler. Many conclude that these dreams were fulfilled when Joseph ruled in Egypt, but Jacob's comments recorded in JST Genesis 48:10-11 extends Joseph's dominance throughout down to the latter days and on 'for ever'. Some of Joseph's own prophecies JST Genesis 50:24-38 and 2 Nephi 3:14-16.

[This Section Is Given As if Joseph Is Narrating His Story]

I was born in the land of our cousin Laban of Padan-aram, as were my elder brothers and sister. At that time the Lord commanded my father to leave the land of Laban and return to the land of his father Isaac. My father gathered together that which had been agreed would be his and started out for the lands of Isaac with his family, possessions, herds, servants and family members.3

As our journey was coming to an end, my father and his brother Esau did meet and were reconciled one to the other. Esau proposed that he would hold the lands east of the Jordan and Jacob would live in those lands of his father Isaac from Hebron to the highland pastures which reached to Galilee. On our journey my mother Racheal was with child and near to Ephrath she delivered my brother Benjamin. Hers was a hard delivery from which she died, and my father buried her there in the way.4

As I grew, my father's chosen love for his beloved Rachel settled upon me. I was to be the 'firstborn son of the covenant' as the firstborn son of his chosen wife. This seemed to fall to me almost naturally since the eldest three sons of my father by his wife Leah had committed acts disqualifying them from the righteousness required of the birthright covenant. In my father Jacob's determination to settle it upon me and my posterity, I was also so blessed of the Lord.5

I was an obedient child and favored of my father and the Lord. In respect to the token of the covenant, my father Jacob had made for me a coat of many colors like unto the bow of heaven, the very token of the covenant. And it soon became observable by those of my family just what our father's intent was in respect to me. In addition during that time I had a series of three prophetic dreams which I reported to my father and family. These were the dream of the sun, moon and stars; a dream of the gahtered sheaves of the field; and the dream of the preserved and rotted fruit which included an entimation that the Messiah would be my legal and rightful heir, which match with what was reveled to my mother Rachel while yet she did live.6

Because of these events and dreams my elder brethren began to hate me and murmur against me, saying they would not have their younger brother to rule over them. And they withdrew their association from me and began to plot against me.

At one point my brethren where in the high pastures of Ramah caring for the flocks. My father Jacob, who kept me near him, asked me to go up and check on how the care of the flocks progressed and then to return and give him my report. As I journeyed near to the pastures I inquired where our herds and my brothers had last been seen and I was directed to where they were. Upon seeing me coming in the distance, some of my brothers designed what they would do to me. They had decided to take my life and when I arrived at their camp they took me, removed my coat and placed me in a dry well. They, including Judah, had determined there to let me die of thurst and wasting. But when my eldest brother Rueben redturned from his turn in the fields and learn as to what had happened, he forbade them from killing me. And his thought was that he would remove me from the pit and return me to our father. But at his next turn in the fields, a caravan of Midianites were passing by on their way to Egypt. And while Judah and my other brethren dared not to cross Rueben's direction, it was Judah who promoted an alternative manner by which they might rid themselves of me. And that was to sell me, their younger brother, into slavery, to be taken by the carravan to Egypt to be sold there as a slave.

When Reuben returned again and found me gone, my brothers devised a plan whereby they would tell my father Jacob that I had been killed by wild beasts. The torn up my coat of many colors and dipped the remmenants of the coat in goats blood. They would tell my father Jacob that this is all they had found of me and that they had presummed me to have been killed by wild beasts and carried off.

This brought great sorrow upon my father Jacob and he there after protected and guarded the life of my brother Benjamin with great care. Eventually the guilt of my brothren worn upon their consciences, and they began to feel the wait of sorrow in their hearts for what they had done, having caused such great grieve to their father Jacob.

In Egypt I was sold to the household of Potiphar, an officer and captain of the guard unto Pharaoh. He was a just man and I was a dutiful servant. And did prosper as a slave and thus Potiphar gave me a position of trust and responsibility in his household. But this good fortune was not to last. Potipher's wife lusted after me and she set out a sceme of seduction with me as her object. In the course of that instance I did resist her and was able to escape her advances but not before she had obtained a portion of my outer clothing. She used the article of my clothing she had obtained and made up a story of how I had come on to her. Potipher was angry and sent me to prison for the alledged false acts his wife had accused me of. Yet the LORD was with me in prison and I was raised by the favor of the prison keeper to administer unto the other prisoners and stand over them and the prison keeper trusted in me all these things. 7

Then it was that the chief baker and chief butler were accused of wrong doing and placed into prison where I was held. And I did minister unto them. Therein they both had dreams and when they learned that I could interpret dreams by the spirit of God in me, they inquired of me what each of their dreamss did mean. The dreams indicated that one of them would be found guilty and be put to death and the other would be set free and return to the king's service. I asked the butler if he would remember me when he had gotten out and was turned to the king's service. But for a time the butler forgot me. 8

Thus I had been in prison for two years when it was that Pharaoh himself did have such dreams which did disturb him mind. None of his advisors and wisemen could interpret the dreams for him. It was then that the butler recalled that in prison there was one named Joseph would could truthfully interprets dreams. And he remembered me and spoke to Pharaoh of the Hebrew in prison who did correctly interpret his own dream. Thus I was summoned to appear before the king, which I did after being appropriately cleaned and made presentable. Pharaoh then told me his dreams and I did interpret them as the LORD revealed to my understanding that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. Pharaoh not only accepted the interpretation but the spirit did impress him that he did set me in command to be over his house, land and people to do that which accordingly was necessary to do to deal with the matter and solve the problem. And it was during this time that I was wed unto Asenath, the daughter of a Hyksos priest of On by who I had two sons in the years of plenty, Manasseh and Ephraim. 9

In the seven years of famine all of Egypt and the surrounding nations came to buy food of the Egyptian nation making Egypt the greatest nation and Pharaoh the greatest and most wealthy ruler as they traded all that they had to buy Pharaoh's grain. Even my brothren from Hebron came to buy grain and food. I recognized them and had them brought before me to inquire who they were and what they wanted of Egypt. And they did bow down themselves before me and as I dealt with them I found that they were repeated for what they had done unto me but I did not reveal myself to them at that time but sent them back to Hebron with grain and food excepting Simeon who I held requiring of them to bring back their brother Joseph as a proof of who they were and what they were about. 10

After a time my father Jacob did reluctantly and but out of necessity allow my brother Benjamin to be brought down into Egypt as per my request. Upon their return with Benjamin to Egypt, I did invite them to my house dine. There they bowed themselves to me again and they did pay me tribute. Still I did not reveal myself unto them. But I devised a plan whereby to retain Benjamin and test them further. I sold them more grain and food but had concelled in Benjamin's sack my silver cup. After having their departure cut short and bring them back and when I heard Judah offer himself in Benjamin's stead, I could conceal myself no longer from them. And I did, according to Pharaoh's offer for I did live in Pharaoh's palace, request and require of them to return to Hebron and bring my father Jacob and his house hold to return and live in Egypt in the land of Goshen.11

It was when my father had come down into Egypt that Jacob did bestow upon me and my two son's the responsibility and blessings of the firstborn and covenant of the Lord. And my father did place Ephraim the second born before his brother Manasseh as the leader of the house of Israel and bearer of the covenant of God as Jacob's own firstborn in the stead of Rueben. And unto me, Jacob did seal upon my head those blessing of the covenant including that from me would be the shepherd, the stone of Israel, meaning the Messiah Jesus.12 And great blessing to come did the LORD reveal unto me concerning not only the Messiah, but the deliverer of Israel from the bondage of Eygpt as well as that my descendant would be to whom the gospel would be revealed unto the nations of the earth in the latter days.13

Joseph, Ruler over Egypt

Joseph was the firstborn son of Rachel upon whom according to scripture fell the birthright blessings of the covenant. And Jacob loved Joseph, but Joseph's brothers would not that their younger brother should rule over them in the house of Jacob.

And thus Joseph's brothers plotted first to kill Joseph, but then when Rueben the eldest resisted, the brothers then acted as Judah suggested, and settled their envy of Joseph by selling him into slavery to the Ishmealites who would sell Joseph as a slave in Egypt.

    Joseph was not only honest, hardworking, dutiful, of the higherest morale character and could be trusted in all things, but he was favored and blessed by the Lord and lived in obedience to and in harmony with the Spirit of God. And he rose up in the favor of his master until one day the desires of his master's wife caused her to falsely accused Joseph of that which he did not do as he had resisted her advances toward him. But rather than to have Joseph put to death Potiphar put Joseph in prison. And there again Joseph did look to God and rise above his invironment and circumstances, trusting in the Lord and finding favor with God and man.

Joseph was a prophet, a visionary man, a man of dreams from God and the interpretation of those dreams. He not only had received his own prophetic dreams, he understood the revealing of matters to his mother Rachel. In Egypt it was his prophetic powers held by him from God by which he interpreted the dreams of the chief butler and the chief baker. Joseph had asked the butler to remember him to Pharaoh. But the butler forgot Joseph until the time that Pharaoh had troubling dreams of his own. When Pharaoh's advisors and wisemen could not interpret Pharaoh's dreams the butler spoke to Pharoah and told him there was a Hebrew in prison that could interpret dreams succesfully. Pharaoh call for Joseph to appear before him and he told Joseph his dreams. Joseph by the power and spirit of God prophetically interpreted those dreams and Pharaoh was so impressed and inspired by the spirit to place Joseph in charge of dealing with the seven years of plenty and seven years of famine as govenor over his people, lands and kingdom. And thus under the influence and direction of God's inspriation, Joseph did succesfully deal with the governing of all of Egypt.

It was in the fist seven years of plenty that Joseph married Asenath, the daughter of the semite Hyksos priest of On, and they had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. In the second seven years, Joseph's brethern had come to Egypt to buy food due to the famine. In negociating his peace with his brethren, Joseph with the approval of Pharaoh did have his father Jacob's household come to live in Egypt in the land of Goshen.

Jacob had recieved the covenant blessing of the first born over his elder brother Esau, so he knew what problems could be caused by it. Thus it seems fitting that when it came time to bestow and extend the blessings of the covenant beyond his immediate son Joseph, Jacob himself would preside and take it upon himself to bless Ephraim over Manasseh by crossing his hands of blessing, blessing Ephraim with his right hand and Manasseh with his left. Joseph had protested but Jacob was firm and let Joseph understand that this was the will and design of the LORD.

And toward the very end of the life of Jacob, Joseph and his brethren were give their 'patriarchal father's blessings by Jacob. Joseph's blessing was such that did confirm that Joseph was to be the heir and fulfiller of the covenant blessing and promises of the everlasting covenant which God had made with man from Adam to Noah, from Abraham to Jacob, and on down through Joseph unto Ephraim which would provided salvation unto the earth, every nation, kindred, tongue and people; all whoever had, does now or will ever live upon this earth.

And the LORD GOD did further visit Joseph in Egypt and did show and prophesy unto him concerning the fulfillment in him and his posterity. And that there would be raised up in the latter days a prophet like unto Moses who would be a descendant of Joseph of Egypt, and that his name would also be named after his father who would be named Joseph as well. And he revealed unto Joseph in Egypt that this Joseph of the latter days would be the restorer of the gospel of Jesus Christ and bring forth a record of the house of Joseph.

Joseph of Egypt, son of Jacob, is one of the greatest prophets of God of the Old Testament. Yet as that record has been kept by the Jews, his position is not fully presented as such. Joseph stands as the heir of the birthright blessings of father Abraham and stands as ancestral father of the prophet of the restoration. One day Joseph, son of Jacob will be more fully recognized.

Great Are the Covenants
Jehovah Made with Jospeh

Name the six or seven life changing occurances in Covenant Israel since they dwelt in Egypt. Then you may begin to understand Joseph's Greatness. Joseph was the Last Standing Patriarch of Israel. On him rested the fate and the blessing of Israel to come as a part of the covenant birthright of the firstborn that Joseph held and on no one else.

Consider Moses, Scattering of Israel, Lehi & Mulek to America, Jesus Christ, Europe discovers and Migrates to America, Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon Church. All are within the Covenant Blessings of Joseph.

  [Fact Box: Joseph]

  • Writings of Joseph: Certainly there were writings and prophecies of Joseph. And just as sure, we do not have them all. But what we do have is that which has been either integrated into that record of the Book of Moses concerning Joseph, the Book of Genesis. We know that there are such because of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible restores some critical one in the 50 chapter of JST Genesis.* And we have Father Lehi's paraphrasing of them from the Book of Mormon*, which we suppose to have come to Lehi from the plates of brass as also likely contained in the books of Moses contained therein. If not in Moses' books there, then there may have remained in the brass plate record even some specific original more direct writings of Joseph in that record which must stand as a part of the Stick of Joseph.
  • Premortal role: Joseph would have been selected to stand as one of the Patriarchal by whom the blessing, promises and covenants of the fathers would remain.* And as such Joseph would stand in line to be the legal and rightful ancestral line by which Jesus, Messiah ben Joseph, the 'seed'*, would be born.
  • Little known or understood: Joseph as the 'firstborn heir' of Jacob, received the 'birthright' blessing of the covenant whereby those blessings and promises did remain.*
  • Mortal roles: Joseph provided for the temporal salvation of the house of Israel in a parallel to Jesus' roles of providing for man's spiritual salvation.
  • Postmortal roles: Joseph will stand in his position as those Patriachal Fathers, by whom the promises of the fathers have come down.* He also, according to the word of the LORD in his own prophecies, is the literal ancestor to Joseph Smith*, and we must presume that it is in this 'priesthood right' that Joseph Smith stood as the prophet of the restoration.*
There is evidence both in the bible and in Jewish traditions that both Rachel and Joseph had prophetic dreams about the Messiah ben Joseph who was to come from the seed of Joseph as part of the fulfillment of the covenant of God with man.

There is a sizable amount of evidence that Joseph of Egypt is the legal and rightful ancestor, that is Jesus Christ is the legal and rightful heir of the covenant blessings of the firstborn because he is the heir of Joseph of Egypt from an earthly perspective, for that it becometh it to be in order to fulfill all righteousness, that is that Jesus be the son of Joseph (John 1:45). Attached to this picture is a link which explores those evidences from a very positive perspective that Jesus is Messiah ben Joseph.

Reference Notes:                                                                                          ~ Jacob Journeys Down Into Egypt ~

1. See Doctrine and Covenants 27:10.

2. see D&C 113:7-8; Isaiah 51:1; Abraham 1:31; Abraham 2:11; JST Genesis 50:25-33; 2 Nephi 3:14-16; D&C 86:8-11; D&C 113:5-6; Isaiah 11:10.

3. Gensis 30, 31.

4. Gensis 33, 35.

5. Genesis 37:3, 23 & 32; JST Genesis 48:5-11; Genesis 50:22-26; 1 Chronicals 5:1-2.

6. Genesis 37; Yersushalmi Berachot 9:3; BhM* Volume 6:81 (See also the Messiah Texts, page 165); Isaiah and the Prophets, p. 28 & Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews vol. 5:299; 2:7 (respectively)

7. Genesis 39.

8. Genesis 40.

9. Genesis 41.

10. Genesis 42.

11. Genesis 43-47.

12. Genesis 48 & 49, JST Genesis 48.

13. JST Genesis 50; 2 Nephi 3. rev. 11 March 2016

rev. 23 March 2014