(Joʹseph) [shortened form of Josiphiah meaning “May Jah Add (Increase); Jah Has Added (Increased)”].
1. The first of Jacob’s two sons by his beloved wife Rachel. (Ge 35:24) At his birth, Rachel, because of having been barren, exclaimed: “God has taken away my reproach!” She then called his name Joseph, saying: “Jehovah is adding another son to me,” that is, another son besides Dan and Naphtali, whom Rachel had accepted as her own although they were borne by her maidservant Bilhah. (Ge 30:3-8, 22-24) At this time Jacob was evidently 91 years old.—Compare Ge 41:46, 47, 53, 54; 45:11; 47:9.
Some six years later Jacob left Paddan-aram with his entire family to return to the land of Canaan. (Ge 31:17, 18, 41) Upon learning that his brother Esau was coming to meet him with 400 men, Jacob divided off his children, wives, and concubines, placing Rachel and Joseph in the rear, the safest position. (Ge 33:1-3) Joseph and his mother therefore were the last to bow before Esau.—Ge 33:4-7.
Thereafter Joseph resided with the family at Succoth, Shechem (Ge 33:17-19), and Bethel respectively. (Ge 35:1, 5, 6) Later, on the way from Bethel to Ephrath (Bethlehem), Joseph’s mother Rachel died while giving birth to Benjamin.—Ge 35:16-19.
Hated by His Half Brothers. At the age of 17, Joseph, in association with the sons of Jacob by Bilhah and Zilpah, tended sheep. While doing so, he, although their junior, did not share in their wrongdoing but dutifully brought a bad report about them to his father.—Ge 37:2.
Jacob came to love Joseph more than all his other sons, he being a son of his old age. Joseph’s adherence to right may also have contributed to his becoming the special object of his father’s affection. Jacob had a long striped garment, perhaps such as was worn by persons of rank, made for his son. As a result, Joseph came to be hated by his half brothers. Later, when he related a dream that pointed to his gaining the preeminence over them, his brothers were incited to further hatred. A second dream even indicated that not only his brothers but also his father and mother (apparently not Rachel, as she was already dead, but perhaps the household or Jacob’s principal living wife) would bow down to him. For relating this dream, Joseph was rebuked by his father, and the jealousy of his brothers intensified. The fact that Joseph spoke about his dreams does not mean that he entertained feelings of superiority. He was merely making known what God had revealed to him. Jacob may have recognized the prophetic nature of the dreams, for he “observed the saying.”—Ge 37:3-11.
On another occasion, Jacob, then at Hebron, requested that Joseph check on the welfare of the flock and his brothers while they were in the vicinity of Shechem. In view of their animosity, this would not have been a pleasant assignment for Joseph. Yet unhesitatingly he said: “Here I am!” From the Low Plain of Hebron he then set out for Shechem. Informed by a man there that his brothers had left for Dothan, Joseph continued on his way. When they caught sight of him at a distance, his brothers began scheming against him, saying: “Look! Here comes that dreamer. And now come and let us kill him and pitch him into one of the waterpits . . . Then let us see what will become of his dreams.” (Ge 37:12-20) The firstborn, Reuben, however, desired to thwart the murderous plot and urged that they not kill Joseph but throw him into a dry waterpit. When Joseph arrived they stripped him of his long striped garment and followed through on Reuben’s recommendation. Subsequently, as a caravan of Ishmaelites came to view, Judah, in Reuben’s absence, persuaded the others that, rather than kill Joseph, it would be better to sell him to the passing merchants.—Ge 37:21-27.
Sold Into Slavery. Despite Joseph’s plea for compassion, they sold him for 20 silver pieces. (Ge 37:28; 42:21) Later, they deceived Jacob into believing that Joseph had been killed by a wild beast. So grieved was aged Jacob over the loss of his son that he refused to be comforted.—Ge 37:31-35.
Eventually the merchants brought Joseph into Egypt and sold him to Potiphar, the chief of Pharaoh’s bodyguard. (Ge 37:28, 36; 39:1) This purchase by the Egyptian Potiphar was not unusual, ancient papyrus documents indicating that Syrian slaves (Joseph was half Syrian [Ge 29:10; 31:20]) were valued highly in that land.
As Joseph had been diligent in furthering his father’s interests, so also as a slave he proved himself to be industrious and trustworthy. With Jehovah’s blessing, everything that Joseph did turned out successfully. Potiphar therefore finally entrusted to him all the household affairs. Joseph thus appears to have been a superintendent, a post mentioned by Egyptian records in association with the large homes of influential Egyptians.—Ge 39:2-6.
Resists Temptation. Meanwhile Joseph had come to be a very handsome young man. Consequently Potiphar’s wife became infatuated with him. Repeatedly she asked him to have relations with her. But Joseph, trained in the way of righteousness, refused, saying: “How could I commit this great badness and actually sin against God?” This, however, did not end the danger for Joseph. Archaeological evidence indicates that the arrangement of Egyptian houses appears to have been such that a person had to pass through the main part of the house to reach the storerooms. If Potiphar’s house was laid out similarly, it would have been impossible for Joseph to avoid all contact with Potiphar’s wife.—Ge 39:6-10.
Finally Potiphar’s wife took advantage of what she considered to be an opportune time. While there were no other men in the house and while Joseph was caring for the household business, she grabbed hold of his garment, saying: “Lie down with me!” But Joseph left his garment in her hand and fled. At that she began to scream and made it appear that Joseph had made immoral advances toward her. On her relating this to her husband, the enraged Potiphar had Joseph thrown into the prison house, the one where the king’s prisoners were kept under arrest.—Ge 39:11-20.
In Prison. It appears that initially Joseph was treated severely in prison. “With fetters they afflicted his feet, into irons his soul came.” (Ps 105:17, 18) Later, however, the chief officer of the prison house, because of Joseph’s exemplary conduct under adverse circumstances and the blessing of Jehovah, placed him in a position of trust over the other prisoners. In this capacity the prisoner Joseph again showed himself to be an able administrator by seeing to it that all the work was done.—Ge 39:21-23.
Thereafter, when two of Pharaoh’s officers, the chief of the cupbearers and the chief of the bakers, were put into the same prison, Joseph was assigned to wait upon them. In the course of time, both of these men had dreams, which Joseph, after ascribing interpretation to God, explained to them. The cupbearer’s dream pointed to his being restored to his position in three days. Joseph therefore requested that the cupbearer remember him and mention him to Pharaoh so that he might be released from prison. He explained that he had been kidnapped from “the land of the Hebrews” and had done nothing deserving of imprisonment. Probably so as not to cast a bad reflection on his family, Joseph chose not to identify the kidnappers. Subsequently he interpreted the baker’s dream to mean that he would be put to death in three days. Both dreams were fulfilled three days later on the occasion of Pharaoh’s birthday. This doubtless strengthened Joseph as to the certain fulfillment of his own dreams and aided him to continue enduring. By that time some 11 years had already passed since his being sold by his brothers.—Ge 40:1-22; compare Ge 37:2; 41:1, 46.
Before Pharaoh. Again restored to his position, the cupbearer forgot all about Joseph. (Ge 40:23) However, at the end of two full years, Pharaoh had two dreams that none of Egypt’s magic-practicing priests and wise men could interpret. It was then that the cupbearer brought Joseph to Pharaoh’s attention. At once Pharaoh sent for Joseph. In keeping with Egyptian custom, Joseph, before going before Pharaoh, shaved and changed his garments. Also in this case he did not take any credit to himself but ascribed interpretation to God. He then explained that both of Pharaoh’s dreams pointed to seven years of plenty to be followed by seven years of famine. Additionally, he recommended measures for alleviating the future conditions of famine.—Ge 41:1-36.
Made Second Ruler of Egypt. Pharaoh recognized in 30-year-old Joseph the man wise enough to administer affairs during the time of plenty and the time of famine. Joseph was therefore constituted second ruler in Egypt, Pharaoh giving Joseph his own signet ring, fine linen garments, and a necklace of gold. (Ge 41:37-44, 46; compare Ps 105:17, 20-22.) This manner of investiture is attested by Egyptian inscriptions and murals. It is also of interest that from ancient Egyptian records it is known that several Canaanites were given high positions in Egypt and that Joseph’s change in name to Zaphenath-paneah is not without parallel. Joseph was also given Asenath the daughter of Potiphera (from Egyptian, meaning “He Whom Ra Has Given”) the priest of On as a wife.—Ge 41:45.
Thereafter Joseph toured the land of Egypt and prepared to administer affairs of state, later storing great quantities of foodstuffs during the years of plenty. Before the famine arrived, his wife Asenath bore him two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.—Ge 41:46-52.
Half Brothers Come to Buy Food. Then the famine came. Since it extended far beyond Egypt’s borders, people from surrounding lands came to buy food from Joseph. Eventually even his ten half brothers arrived and bowed low to him, thus partially fulfilling Joseph’s two previous dreams. (Ge 41:53–42:7) However, they did not recognize him, dressed as he was in royal attire and speaking to them through an interpreter. (Ge 42:8, 23) Feigning not to know them, Joseph accused them of being spies, upon which charge they asserted that they were ten brothers, that they had left behind at home their father and their younger brother, and that another brother was no more. But Joseph insisted that they were spies and put them in custody. On the third day he said to them: “Do this and keep alive. I fear the true God. If you are upright, let one of your brothers be kept bound in your house of custody [apparently the one in which all ten had been in custody], but the rest of you go, take cereals for the famine in your houses. Then you will bring your youngest brother to me, that your words may be found trustworthy; and you will not die.”—Ge 42:9-20.
In view of these developments, Joseph’s half brothers began to sense divine retribution on them for having sold him into slavery years earlier. In front of their brother, whom they still did not recognize, they discussed their guilt. On overhearing their words reflecting repentance, Joseph was so emotionally overcome that he had to leave their presence and weep. On returning, he had Simeon bound until such time as they would come back with their youngest brother.—Ge 42:21-24.
Half Brothers Come With Benjamin. When Joseph’s nine half brothers told Jacob what had happened in Egypt and when it was discovered that the money of all of them was back in their sacks, all became very much afraid, and their father gave expression to grief. Only the severity of the famine, coupled with Judah’s assurance for the safe return of Benjamin, moved Jacob to allow his youngest son to accompany the others back to Egypt.—Ge 42:29–43:14.
Upon arriving there, they were reunited with Simeon, and much to their surprise, all were invited to have dinner with the food administrator. When Joseph came they presented him with a gift, prostrated themselves to him, and after answering his inquiries concerning their father, again bowed down to him. On seeing his full brother Benjamin, Joseph was so aroused emotionally that he left their presence and gave way to tears. After that he was able to control his feelings and had the noon meal served. The 11 brothers were seated at their own table according to age, and Benjamin was given portions five times greater than the others. Likely Joseph did this to test his brothers as to any hidden jealousies. But they gave no evidence of such.—Ge 43:15-34.
As on the previous visit, Joseph had each one’s money put back in his bag (Ge 42:25), and additionally he had his silver cup placed in Benjamin’s bag. After they had got under way, he had them overtaken and charged with stealing his silver cup. Perhaps to impress upon them its great value to him and the serious nature of their supposed crime, the man over Joseph’s house was to say to them: “Is not this the thing that my master drinks from and by means of which he expertly reads omens?” (Ge 44:1-5) Of course, since all of this was part of a ruse, there is no basis for believing that Joseph actually used the silver cup to read omens. Apparently Joseph wanted to represent himself as an administrator of a land to which true worship was foreign.
Great must have been the consternation of his brothers when the cup was found in Benjamin’s bag. With garments ripped apart, they returned to Joseph’s house and bowed before him. Joseph told them that all except Benjamin were free to go. But this they did not want to do, showing that the envious spirit that had moved them about 22 years earlier to sell their brother was gone. Judah eloquently pleaded their case, offering to take Benjamin’s place lest their father die from grief because of Benjamin’s failure to return.—Ge 44:6-34.
Joseph Reveals His Identity. Joseph was so affected by Judah’s plea that he could no longer contain himself. After requesting all strangers to leave, he identified himself to his brothers. Although greatly mistreated by them formerly, he harbored no animosity. Said he: “Now do not feel hurt and do not be angry with yourselves because you sold me here; because for the preservation of life God has sent me ahead of you. For this is the second year of the famine in the midst of the earth, and there are yet five years in which there will be no plowing time or harvest. Consequently God sent me ahead of you in order to place a remnant for you men in the earth and to keep you alive by a great escape. So now it was not you who sent me here, but it was the true God.” (Ge 45:1-8) Joseph’s forgiveness was genuine, for he wept over and kissed all his brothers.—Ge 45:14, 15.
Thereafter Joseph, according to Pharaoh’s orders, provided wagons for his brothers so that they might bring Jacob and his entire household to Egypt. Additionally he gave them presents and provisions for the journey. And, in parting, he encouraged them not to get “exasperated at one another on the way.”—Ge 45:16-24.
Joseph’s Father Comes to Egypt. Jacob at first could not believe that his son Joseph was still alive. But, when finally convinced, 130-year-old Jacob exclaimed: “Ah, let me go and see him before I die!” Later, at Beer-sheba while on the way to Egypt with his entire household, Jacob, in vision, received divine approval for the move and was also told: “Joseph will lay his hand upon your eyes.” So Joseph was to be the one to close Jacob’s eyes after his death. Since the firstborn customarily did this, Jehovah thereby revealed that Joseph was to receive the right as firstborn.—Ge 45:25–46:4.
Having been advised of his father’s coming by Judah, who had been sent in advance, Joseph got his chariot ready and went to meet Jacob at Goshen. Then, with five of his brothers, Joseph came to Pharaoh. As directed by Joseph, his brothers identified themselves as herders of sheep and requested to reside as aliens in the land of Goshen. Pharaoh granted their request, and Joseph, after introducing his father to Pharaoh, settled Jacob and his household in the very best of the land. (Ge 46:28–47:11) Thus, wisely and lovingly Joseph made the best of an Egyptian prejudice against shepherds. It resulted in safeguarding Jacob’s family from being contaminated by Egyptian influence and eliminated the danger of their being completely absorbed by the Egyptians through marriage. From then on Jacob and his entire household were dependent on Joseph. (Ge 47:12) In effect, all bowed down to Joseph as Pharaoh’s prime minister, fulfilling Joseph’s prophetic dreams in a remarkable way.
Effect of Famine on Egyptians. As the famine continued, the Egyptians gradually exhausted all their money and their livestock in exchange for food. Finally they even sold their land and themselves as slaves to Pharaoh. Then Joseph settled them in cities, doubtless to facilitate the distribution of grain. Apparently, though, this resettlement in cities was a temporary measure. Since the Egyptians had to return to their fields to sow seed, logically they would again dwell in their former houses. Once they were again enjoying a harvest from the land, the Egyptians, according to Joseph’s decree, were required to give a fifth of their produce to Pharaoh for using the land. The priests, however, were exempted.—Ge 47:13-26.
Jacob Blesses Joseph’s Sons. About 12 years after the famine ended, Joseph brought his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, before Jacob. It was then that Jacob indicated that the right of firstborn was to be Joseph’s, Ephraim and Manasseh being viewed as equals of Jacob’s direct sons. So from Joseph were to spring two distinct tribes, with two separate tribal inheritances. Though it displeased Joseph, Jacob, in blessing Ephraim and Manasseh, kept his right hand placed on the younger, Ephraim. By giving the preference to Ephraim, he prophetically indicated that the younger would become the greater.—Ge 47:28, 29; 48:1-22; see also De 21:17; Jos 14:4; 1Ch 5:1.
Jacob Blesses Joseph and Other Sons. Later, Jacob, on his deathbed, called all his sons to him and blessed them individually. He likened Joseph to “the offshoot of a fruit-bearing tree.” That “fruit-bearing tree” was the patriarch Jacob himself, and Joseph became one of the prominent branches. (Ge 49:22) Though harassed by archers and an object of animosity, Joseph’s bow “was dwelling in a permanent place, and the strength of his hands was supple.” (Ge 49:23, 24) This could have been said of Joseph personally. His half brothers harbored animosity and figuratively shot at him to destroy him. Yet Joseph repaid them with mercy and loving-kindness, these qualities being like arrows that killed their animosity. The enemy archers did not succeed in killing Joseph nor in weakening his devotion to righteousness and brotherly affection.
Prophetically, though, Jacob’s words could apply to the tribes that were to spring from Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, and their future battles. (Compare De 33:13, 17; Jg 1:23-25, 35.) It is of interest that the tribe of Ephraim produced Joshua (Hoshea; Jehoshua), Moses’ successor and the leader of the fight against the Canaanites. (Nu 13:8, 16; Jos 1:1-6) Another descendant of Joseph, Gideon of the tribe of Manasseh, with the help of Jehovah, defeated the Midianites. (Jg 6:13-15; 8:22) And Jephthah, evidently also of the tribe of Manasseh, subdued the Ammonites.—Jg 11:1, 32, 33; compare Jg 12:4; Nu 26:29.
Other aspects of Jacob’s prophetic blessing also find a parallel in Joseph’s experiences. When Joseph, instead of taking vengeance, made provision for the entire household of Jacob, or Israel, he was as a shepherd and a stone of support to Israel. Since Jehovah had guided matters so that he could serve in this capacity, Joseph had come from the hands of the “powerful one of Jacob.” Being from God, Joseph had Jehovah’s help. He was with the Almighty in that he was on Jehovah’s side and therefore was a recipient of his blessing.—Ge 49:24, 25.
The blessing of Jehovah also was to be experienced by the tribes to descend from Joseph through Ephraim and Manasseh. Said Jacob: “He [the Almighty] will bless you with the blessings of the heavens above, with the blessings of the watery deep lying down below, with the blessings of the breasts and womb.” (Ge 49:25) This assured Joseph’s descendants of needed water supplies from heaven and from underground, as well as a large population.—Compare De 33:13-16; Jos 17:14-18.
The blessings that Jacob pronounced upon his beloved son Joseph were to be like an ornament to the two tribes to spring from Joseph. These blessings were to be an ornament superior to the blessings of forests and springs that adorn the eternal mountains and the indefinitely lasting hills. They were to be a permanent blessing, continuing upon the head of Joseph and of those descended from him just as long as mountains and hills continued.—Ge 49:26; De 33:16.
Joseph was “singled out from his brothers” because God chose him to perform a special role. (Ge 49:26) He had distinguished himself by displaying excellence of spirit and ability to oversee and organize. It was therefore appropriate that special blessings descend upon the crown of his head.
After Jacob finished blessing his sons, he died. Joseph then fell upon his father’s face and kissed him. In compliance with Jacob’s wish to be buried in the cave of Machpelah, Joseph had the Egyptian physicians embalm his father’s body in preparation for the trip to Canaan.—Ge 49:29–50:13.
Attitude Toward His Brothers. Subsequent to their return from burying Jacob, Joseph’s half brothers, still plagued by guilty consciences, feared that Joseph might take revenge, and they pleaded for forgiveness. At that, Joseph burst into tears, comforting and reassuring them that there was no reason for fear: “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you had evil in mind against me. God had it in mind for good for the purpose of acting as at this day to preserve many people alive. So now do not be afraid. I myself shall keep supplying you and your little children with food.”—Ge 50:14-21.
Death. Joseph survived his father by about 54 years, reaching the age of 110 years. It was his privilege to see even some of his great-grandsons. Before his death, Joseph, in faith, requested that his bones be taken to Canaan by the Israelites at the time of their Exodus. At death, Joseph’s body was embalmed and placed in a coffin.—Ge 50:22-26; Jos 24:32; Heb 11:22.
The Name Joseph Given Prominence. In view of Joseph’s prominent position among the sons of Jacob, it was most appropriate that his name was sometimes used to designate all the tribes of Israel (Ps 80:1) or those that came to be included in the northern kingdom. (Ps 78:67; Am 5:6, 15; 6:6) His name also figures in Bible prophecy. In Ezekiel’s prophetic vision, the inheritance of Joseph is a double portion (Eze 47:13), one of the gates of the city “Jehovah Himself Is There” bears the name Joseph (Eze 48:32, 35), and with reference to the reunifying of Jehovah’s people, Joseph is spoken of as chief of the one part of the nation and Judah as chief of the other part. (Eze 37:15-26) Obadiah’s prophecy indicated that “the house of Joseph” would share in the destruction of “the house of Esau” (Ob 18), and that of Zechariah pointed to Jehovah’s saving “the house of Joseph.” (Zec 10:6) Rather than Ephraim, Joseph appears as one of the tribes of spiritual Israel.—Re 7:8.
The fact that Joseph is listed at Revelation 7:8 suggests that Jacob’s deathbed prophecy would have an application to spiritual Israel. It is noteworthy, therefore, that the Powerful One of Jacob, Jehovah God, provided Christ Jesus as the Fine Shepherd who laid down his life for “the sheep.” (Joh 10:11-16) Christ Jesus is also the foundation cornerstone upon which God’s temple composed of spiritual Israelites rests. (Eph 2:20-22; 1Pe 2:4-6) And this Shepherd and Stone is with the Almighty God.—Joh 1:1-3; Ac 7:56; Heb 10:12; compare Ge 49:24, 25.
Parallels Between Joseph and Christ. Numerous parallels may be noted between the life of Joseph and that of Christ Jesus. As Joseph had been singled out as the special object of his father’s affection, so also had Jesus. (Compare Mt 3:17; Heb 1:1-6.) Joseph’s half brothers were hostile toward him. Similarly, Jesus was rejected by his own, the Jews (Joh 1:11), and his fleshly half brothers at first did not exercise faith in him. (Joh 7:5) Joseph’s ready obedience in complying with his father’s will in checking on his half brothers parallels Jesus’ willingly coming to earth. (Php 2:5-8) The bitter experiences that this mission resulted in for Joseph were comparable to what befell Jesus, particularly when abused and finally put to death on a torture stake. (Mt 27:27-46) As Joseph’s half brothers sold Joseph to the Midianite-Ishmaelite caravan, so the Jews delivered up Jesus to the Roman authority for execution. (Joh 18:35) Both Joseph and Jesus were refined and prepared for their lifesaving roles through suffering. (Ps 105:17-19; Heb 5:7-10) The elevation of Joseph to the position of food administrator in Egypt and the saving of life resulting therefrom finds a parallel in Jesus’ exaltation and his becoming a Savior of both Jews and non-Jews. (Joh 3:16, 17; Ac 5:31) The scheme of Joseph’s brothers to harm him proved to be God’s means of saving them from starvation. Likewise, the death of Jesus provided the basis for salvation.—Joh 6:51; 1Co 1:18.
4. “Son of Jonam”; ancestor of Christ Jesus in the lineage of his earthly mother Mary. (Lu 3:30) Joseph was a descendant of David and lived before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.
7. “Son of Mattathias” and ancestor of Jesus Christ on the maternal side. (Lu 3:24, 25) Joseph lived years after the Babylonian exile.
8. Son of a certain Jacob; adoptive father of Christ Jesus, husband of Mary, and later, the natural father of at least four sons, James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, besides daughters. (Mt 1:16; 13:55, 56; Lu 4:22; Joh 1:45; 6:42) Joseph was also called the son of Heli (Lu 3:23), this evidently being the name of his father-in-law. Ever obedient to divine direction, righteous Joseph adhered closely to the Mosaic Law and submitted to the decrees of Caesar.
A carpenter by trade and a resident of Nazareth, Joseph had rather limited financial resources. (Mt 13:55; Lu 2:4; compare Lu 2:24 with Le 12:8.) He was engaged to the virgin girl Mary (Lu 1:26, 27), but before they were united in marriage she became pregnant by holy spirit. Not wanting to make her a public spectacle, Joseph intended to divorce her secretly. (See DIVORCE.) However, upon receiving an explanation from Jehovah’s angel in a dream, Joseph took Mary to his home as his legal wife. Nevertheless, he refrained from having relations with her until after the birth of her miraculously begotten son.—Mt 1:18-21, 24, 25.
In obedience to the decree of Caesar Augustus for persons to get registered in their own cities, Joseph, as a descendant of King David, traveled with Mary to Bethlehem of Judea. There Mary gave birth to Jesus and laid him in a manger, because other accommodations were not available. That night shepherds, having been informed by an angel concerning the birth, came to see the newborn infant. About 40 days later, as required by the Mosaic Law, Joseph and Mary presented Jesus at the temple in Jerusalem along with an offering. Both Joseph and Mary wondered as they heard aged Simeon’s prophetic words about the great things Jesus would do.—Lu 2:1-33; compare Le 12:2-4, 6-8.
It appears that sometime after this, while residing in a house at Bethlehem, Mary and her young son were visited by some Oriental astrologers. (Although Luke 2:39 might seem to indicate that Joseph and Mary returned to Nazareth right after presenting Jesus at the temple, it must be remembered that this scripture is part of a highly condensed account.) Divine intervention prevented their visit from bringing death to Jesus. Warned in a dream that Herod was seeking to find the child to destroy it, Joseph heeded divine instructions to flee with his family to Egypt.—Mt 2:1-15.
After the decease of Herod, Jehovah’s angel again appeared in a dream to Joseph, saying: “Get up, take the young child and its mother and be on your way into the land of Israel.” However, hearing that Herod’s son Archelaus was ruling in his father’s stead, he feared to return to Judea, and “being given divine warning in a dream, he withdrew into the territory of Galilee, and came and dwelt in a city named Nazareth.”—Mt 2:19-23.
Each year Joseph took his whole family with him to attend the Passover celebration at Jerusalem. On one occasion they were returning to Nazareth when, after covering a day’s distance from Jerusalem, Joseph and Mary found that the 12-year-old Jesus was missing. Diligently they searched for him and finally found him at the temple in Jerusalem, listening to and questioning the teachers there.—Lu 2:41-50.
The Scriptural record is silent on the extent of the training Joseph gave to Jesus. Doubtless, though, he contributed to Jesus’ progressing in wisdom. (Lu 2:51, 52) Joseph also taught him carpentry, for Jesus was known both as “the carpenter’s son” (Mt 13:55) and as “the carpenter.”—Mr 6:3.
Joseph’s death is not specifically mentioned in the Scriptures. But it seems that he did not survive Jesus. Had he lived beyond Passover time of 33 C.E., it is unlikely that the impaled Jesus would have entrusted Mary to the care of the apostle John.—Joh 19:26, 27.
9. A half brother of Jesus Christ. (Mt 13:55; Mr 6:3) Like his other brothers, Joseph at first did not exercise faith in Jesus. (Joh 7:5) Later, however, Jesus’ half brothers, doubtless including Joseph, became believers. They are mentioned as being with the apostles and others after Jesus’ ascension to heaven, so they were likely among the group of about 120 disciples assembled in an upper room at Jerusalem when Matthias was chosen by lot as a replacement for unfaithful Judas Iscariot. It appears that later this same group of about 120 received God’s spirit on the day of Pentecost in 33 C.E.—Ac 1:9–2:4.
10. A wealthy man from the Judean city of Arimathea and a reputable member of the Jewish Sanhedrin. Although a good and righteous man who was waiting for God’s Kingdom, Joseph, because of his fear of unbelieving Jews, did not openly identify himself as a disciple of Jesus Christ. However, he did not vote in support of the Sanhedrin’s unjust action against Christ Jesus. Later, he courageously asked Pilate for Jesus’ body and, along with Nicodemus, prepared it for burial and then placed it in a new rock-cut tomb. This tomb was situated in a garden near the place of impalement and belonged to Joseph of Arimathea.—Mt 27:57-60; Mr 15:43-46; Lu 23:50-53; Joh 19:38-42.
11. One put up along with Matthias as a candidate for the office of oversight vacated by the unfaithful Judas Iscariot. Joseph, also called Barsabbas (perhaps a family name or merely an additional name) and surnamed Justus, was a witness of the work, miracles, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, Matthias, not Joseph, was chosen by lot to replace Judas Iscariot before Pentecost of 33 C.E. and came to be “reckoned along with the eleven apostles.”—Ac 1:15–2:1.
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In agreement with the Bible’s report that Pharaoh had a chief cupbearer, grape harvesting and wine-making are depicted in a tomb in Thebes
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Grain harvesting and storing as depicted in an Egyptian tomb. Genesis refers to abundant grain harvest in Egypt