Joseph was the eleventh of twelve sons of Jacob (aka Israel), born in 1716 BC to Jacob's second wife Rachel at Pandan-Aram near Haran on the Euprates River north of Canan. He would become second-in-command behind Pharaoh himself after many years of trials, dying in the midst of his extended family who joined him in Egypt at the age of 110 in 1606 BC.
Family and Early Life Edit
Joseph's father had been sent by Isaac to find a wife among his kin. Jacob had fallen in love with Rachel, only to have to marry her sister Leah first. This had set up a competition that would come to involve the slave girls Zelpah and Bilnah and at least thirteen offspring.
Joseph was the firstborn of two sons born to Rachel. Benjamin would be born six years later and bring about Rachel's death in childbirth. This tragedy would solidify Joseph's place as his father's favorite. This caused trouble in Joseph's teen years, bringing about jealousy among his older siblings. Joseph lead a godly life, finding favor with God to the extent that he received dreams communicating God's will -- and future reality. As a result, the jealousy grew greater, leading to a plan to actually kill Joseph.
The oldest sibling, Reuben, would change the plan to their advantage by selling their younger brother into slavery instead. The band of "Ishmaelite" traders would treat him like any other "merchandise," selling Joseph to an Egyptian official. The brothers had taken Joseph's fine coat and bloodied it up to fool Jacob. The ruse would work until a area-wide famine would force the family to trade with Egypt directly.
Slavery and Political Life in Egypt Edit
Meanwhile, God was with Joseph, blessing the household of his new owner, Potifer, to the extent that the Hebrew slave was put in charge of the household. The owner's wife, meanwhile, proved very flirtatious -- to the point of seducing her young slave. When Joseph ran away, the woman claimed attempted rape, landing him in prison. Even in jail, though, Joseph was successful, being given authority among the prisoners. With gained confidence, he was able to get closer to the inmates. Again, dreams helped Joseph. This time, he explained others' dreams.
Finally, Pharaoh himself had dreams that he needed interpreting. The Hebrew slave came to his new master's aid (that master being the state), revealing that God was telling in these dreams that famine was coming in seven years for a period of seven years. The good news was that there would be seven very good years first. When the famine came, so did Joseph's brothers. By this time, though, their brother had become the equivalent of a "Prime Minister."
Death and LegacyEdit
Jacob and his family, along with slaves and servants, had grown to around seventy people. The family had travelled away from the Euphrates down into Canaan soon after Joseph's birth. The short sojourn near where Abraham had lived had lasted less than a generation. With food abundant in Egypt's storehouses, the whole family moved into Egypt. Jacob and his family were honored guests until years after Joseph died, in Egypt, in 1606 BC. His last wish was that he would be buried in his father's homeland someday. His mummified body would be transported there during the exodus centuries later.