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Lesson Prep

Background Scripture (read 2-3 times during the week)

Genesis 37

Story Summary

Joseph was the second youngest son of Jacob and his favorite. His father, Jacob, made him richly ornamented robe (the "coat of many colors"). 

Joseph's brothers were jealous of Jacob's love for Joseph and offended by Joseph's dreams.

  • First, Joseph dreamed that they were out binding sheaves of grain. His sheaf of grain rose and stood upright, while his brothers' sheaves bowed down to his. Of course, Joseph couldn't keep this dream to himself, so he told his brothers.
  • Then, he had a dream that the sun and moon (his mother and father) and 11 stars (his brothers) were bowing to him.  This one actually upset his father too.

His brothers were so enraged and jealous of his brother that they began to plot to kill him. One day, Jacob sent Joseph to the fields to check on his brothers (notice he was the only one not working in the field - further evidence of Jacob's favoritism).  As they saw him approaching, they realized this was their chance to kill him. Reuben was the only one with a soft heart (mostly for his father), and convinced the other brothers to just leave him in a cistern and tell Jacob he was killed by a wild animal. Judah wanted to get something out of it though, and convinced them to sell Joseph into slavery for money.  They waited for some Ishmaelites to come by and sold him.

Joseph was sold to the Ishmaelites while they traveling to Egypt. The Ishmaelites descended from Abraham’s first son Ishmael. You can remind your students that Abraham also had Isaac. Isaac and Ishmael were half brothers. Isaac had Jacob, who had Joseph. This means Joseph was sold to his great uncle’s family. The Ishmaelites then sold him to Potiphar when they got to Egypt. Potiphar worked for the Pharaoh.

What You Will Need

Snack Suggestion
gingerbread man-shaped cookies, colored icing or colored sprinkles to decorate joseph’s coat

Resource Sheets

Joseph is Sold into Slavery Coloring Sheet

This coloring sheet depicts Joseph's brothers selling him into slavery.

Robe Outline

Use this robe outline for several of the reinforcement activities below

Small Version of Coloring Sheet

This is a smaller version of the coloring sheet to be used in the "Robe-shaped Book" reinforcement activity

Lesson

1. Warm Up

get your kids talking and engaged

What is the strangest dream you’ve ever had? Dreams are important in our Bible story today. 

2. Teach the Story

teach a holistic story

It is very important that you have an overall understanding of the story and can emphasize how Joseph got from the land of Canaan to Egypt. This will set up the story next week when we learn about how Joseph's family came to Egypt.

Read story from a Children's storybook Bible for younger children.

For older children, read the story from an age-appropriate Children's storybook Bible or tell the story yourself.

3. Bible Mastery

give them basic Bible skills

Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud: Genesis 37:19-28

4. Comprehension Questions

make sure they understand the story

First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?

  • Why were Joseph's brothers jealous of him? (They were jealous of their father's deep love for Joseph and his dreams of them bowing down to him)
  • What was Joseph's first dream? (that his brothers' sheaves of grain bowed down to his sheaf)
  • What was Joseph's second dream? (that the sun and the moon and 11 stars were bowing down to him)
  • What was Joseph's brothers' first plan to harm him? (to kill him)
  • What did Joseph’s brothers end up doing to him? (sold him into slavery)
  • Who did they sell him to? (Ishmaelites who were on their way to Egypt)
  • What did they tell Jacob happened to Joseph? (a wild animal killed him)
  • How did they convince Jacob he was dead? (they put animal blood on his many-colored coat)

5. Faith Questions

help them apply the story to their lives and open up a conversation about faith and the gospel; close with prayer
  • Have you ever felt like Joseph? Has someone done something wrong to you?
  • Even though others might do mean things, God still loves you and God is still with you.

6. Memory Verse

hide God's Word in their heart
Let us not become tired of doing good. At the right time we will gather a crop if we don't give up. Galatians 6:9

Reinforcement Activities

Fruit Loop Robe

Scripture Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons. Joseph had been born to him when he was old. Israel made him a beautiful robe. Genesis 37:3

Supplies robe printout for each student (see resource sheets), fruit loops, glue

  • Glue fruit loops to robe.

Tissue paper Robe

Scripture Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons. Joseph had been born to him when he was old. Israel made him a beautiful robe. Genesis 37:3

Supplies small square pieces of colored tissue paper, glue. robe outline (see resource sheets)

  • Bunch up pieces of tissue paper. Glue to robe outline.

Coffee Filter Robe

Heads up! Cut coffee filters in the shape of a robe prior to the lesson.

Scripture Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons. Joseph had been born to him when he was old. Israel made him a beautiful robe. Genesis 37:3

Supplies coffee filters cut into the shape of a coat, washable markers, spray bottle with water

  • Have students color the coffee filter with washable markers.
  • Spritz filter with a fine mist of water.
  • Allow to dry.

Robe-shaped Book

Scripture Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons. Joseph had been born to him when he was old. Israel made him a beautiful robe. Genesis 37:3

Supplies White paper, crayons, glue, scissors

  • Fold paper in half.
  • Cut slits near top of paper on each side.
  • Fold sides in toward each other.
  • Decorate front of book as Joseph’s colorful robe.
  • Glue coloring sheet to inside of book.
Robe-shaped Book Example

Jealousy lesson

Heads up! Be aware of allergies and accommodate snack so no one feels left out!

Scripture Joseph's brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them. So they hated Joseph. They couldn't even speak one kind word to him. Genesis 37:4

Supplies small plain cookies for each student, larger cookie with icing, etc for teacher

  • Give class small plain cookies while the teacher eats a large, fancy decorated cookie.
  • Do not make a big deal about the difference.
  • Wait for students to comment.
  • Ask students how they felt when they were given the small plain ones and had to watch the teacher eat the large, decorated cookie.
  • They may have been mad or upset or think it isn't fair.
  • That feeling is jealousy. Joseph’s brothers felt jealous that they were treated differently than Joseph.
  • Ask the students if they have ever felt jealous about anything.
  • Remember to focus this activity on Joseph and his brothers, rather than just the idea of jealousy.

Bible Verse Robe

Scripture Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons. Joseph had been born to him when he was old. Israel made him a beautiful robe. Genesis 37:3

Supplies Each word of Genesis 37:3 written on different cards (need two sets), each card being a different color, balloons, 2 bathrobes, masking tape

  • Place colored cards in balloons prior to class.
  • Split class into two teams.
  • Each team chooses someone to be Joseph and wears a robe.
  • Each team must pop balloons to get out their verse cards.
  • Once balloons are popped, each team must attach them in order on the back of Joseph's robe (use masking tape).
  • First team to get verse correct wins.

Colors Game

Scripture Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons. Joseph had been born to him when he was old. Israel made him a beautiful robe. Genesis 37:3

Supplies Enough chairs for all students but one

  • Have students sit in chairs, in a circle.
  • Choose a child to be Joseph to stand in the middle.
  • Joseph calls out a color.
  • Any student wearing that color must move to another chair.
  • Joseph tries to get a chair from those moving,

Bow Down Freeze Tag

Scripture Joseph had a dream. When he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said to them, “Listen to the dream I had. We were tying up bundles of grain out in the field. Suddenly my bundle rose and stood up straight. Your bundles gathered around my bundle and bowed down to it. Genesis 37:5-7, Then Joseph had another dream. He told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said. “I had another dream. This time the sun and moon and 11 stars were bowing down to me.” Genesis 37:9

  • Choose one person to be it - "Joseph".
  • Joseph must tag other players.
  • Once a player is tagged, they must bow down on the ground to Joseph.
  • They can not rejoin game, unless one of their teammates comes to untag them.
  • Object of game is for Joseph to get all other players bowing down to him.

Bible verse scavenger hunt

Scripture Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons. Joseph had been born to him when he was old. Israel made him a beautiful robe. Genesis 37:3

Supplies Each word of Genesis 37:3 written on different cards (need two sets), each card being a different color, 2 bathrobes, masking tape

  • scatter the words around the room and have the kids try to find them (taped to bottoms of table or chairs, stick in the door jam or baseboard, taped to teachers back, etc) Once the kids have found all of the words have them try to build the verse on a paper cut out of a bathrobe or have someone wear an actual bathrobe if available.

Collect the Coats Game

Scripture Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons. Joseph had been born to him when he was old. Israel made him a beautiful robe. Genesis 37:3

Supplies Collect the Coats Cards (download at link below)

  • Play this fun and exciting variation of the Spoons card game to introduce a lesson about Joseph. The goal is to be the first to collect 4 of the same Single-colored Coat cards. And as soon as any player succeeds in doing this, don’t be the last to grab a Multi-colored Coat card from the center of the table!
  • (From biblegamescentral.com)