Scripture: Genesis 43 – Genesis 45:15
Target Age Group: 1st through 6th grade
Welcome the children to the classroom and chat with them about their week as they gather around the table.
Pray and ask God to teach the children not just head knowledge, but also heart knowledge.
Have the children open their Bibles to Genesis 43 or pages 79 – 85 in the the The Golden Children’s Bible .
Remind the children that last time Joseph’s brothers had come back from Egypt and found their money still in their sacks of grain that they had purchased from Egypt. Now they were in a dilemma because they were afraid that Joseph would throw them all (including Benjamin) into prison if they went back to Egypt. They realized that God was punishing them for what they had done to Joseph…
(Read the story to the children because at this age some of the children do not read smoothly, which hinders comprehension for the whole class.)
- When did Jacob tell the brothers to go back to Egypt? When they had run out of food.
- What did Judah remind his father of? Benjamin had to come along to prove that they were honest men.
- What did Judah guarantee to Jacob? He promised that they would bring Benjamin back, or he himself would “bear the blame”.
- What did Jacob send with the brothers for a gift to Joseph? balm, honey, spices and myrrh, nuts and almonds.
- Why did he have them take double the silver? He thought that maybe it was a mistake that the money was left in their bags.
- What did Jacob pray before they left? “May God Almighty grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you”
- When Jacob saw the brothers, what did he do? He had a meal prepared for them at his own house.
- How did the brothers respond to this invitation? They were afraid. They thought that Joseph was going to make them his slaves and take their donkeys because the money had been put back into their sacks the last time.
- What did the brothers do then? Explained to Joseph’s steward how they found the money in their sacks and that they didn’t know who had put it there, but that they had brought that back as well as more money to buy more food.
- How did the steward answer them? “Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks; I received your silver.”
- Then what did the steward do? He brought out Simeon to them, gave them water to wash their feet, and fed their donkeys.
- When Joseph came home, what did the brothers do? They presented their gifts and bowed down to Joseph.
- What does that remind you of? Joseph’s dreams.
- When Joseph saw Benjamin what did he do? He left the room to weep.
- Do you think he was crying because he was happy or because he was sad?
- When Joseph came back he had the food served. How did he seat the brothers? From the oldest to the youngest.
- What was the reaction of the brothers to this? Astonishment.
- What was unusual about the food served to Benjamin? It was 5 times the amount than the food served to the other brothers.
- Were the brothers jealous this time? No.
- What instructions did Joseph give to the steward? To fill their sacks with grain and their money, and to put Joseph’s silver cup into Benjamin’s sack.
- In the morning after the brothers were on their way home again what did Joseph have his steward do? Go and catch up with the brothers and ask them why they stole Joseph’s cup.
- When the steward questioned them, how did the brothers respond? They denied that they had the cup. “If any of your servants is found to have it, he will die; and the rest of us will become my lord’s slaves.”
- What did the brothers do when they found the cup in Benjamin’s sack? They tore their clothes. (This was a custom back then. It meant that you were in terrible grief.)
- When they were brought back to Joseph what did they do? They threw themselves down on the ground in front of him.
- What did Judah say? “What can we say to my lord?” Judah replied. “What can we say? How can we prove our innocence? God has uncovered your servants’ guilt. We are now my lord’s slaves—we ourselves and the one who was found to have the cup.”
- But, were they guilty of taking the cup? No.
- What guilt was Judah referring to? Their sin of selling Joseph into slavery.
- Joseph only wanted which brother for a slave? The one who took the cup. Benjamin.
- Judah pleaded with Joseph not to take Benjamin as a slave. What was his reasoning? His father lost Joseph already and he loves Benjamin so much that if he doesn’t return he will die of grief.
- What did Judah suggest as a solution? He himself would take Benjamin’s place as his slave because he had promised his father that he would be responsible for him. “Do not let me see the misery that would come on my father.”
- What does this tell you about Judah? He felt guilty and was sorry about his father’s grief over Joseph. He had had a change of heart and didn’t want to hurt his father anymore. He was being responsible and thoughtful of others instead of looking out for only himself.
- How did Joseph respond? He sent his servants out of the room and wept as he told the brothers who he was.
- The brothers were speechless. But how did Joseph comfort them? “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”
- What invitation did Joseph give them? To bring their father and the rest of the family to live there through the famine.
- Do you think that the brothers got what they deserved? No. They had sold their own brother into slavery. That is a terrible crime and they should have been put into prison for it.
- The Bible says that we deserve death for our sins. Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in christ Jesus our Lord” How do we get the gift? We confess our sins and ask for forgiveness from God.
- Let’s pray and thank God for Jesus taking our place when He died on the cross and giving us the gift of forgiveness…
During the remaining class time do activities that help to reinforce what the children have learned. Here are some suggestions…
Memorize the verse.
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
Kids will learn scripture quickly if it is put to music. Sing “Wages – Romans 6:23” by Mary Rice Hopkins.
Share a video of this story:
Video #1 from Crossroads Kids’ Club
Watch “Testament – Bible in Animation – Joseph”. This is a very cute children’s movie about Joseph.
Share the story “The Forgiving Prince” from “The Jesus Story Book Bible” . (Make sure that you order the collector’s edition, which has the DVD with the stories animated and narrated. It’s wonderful.)
Have the children use colors or pastels to draw their own vision of the story on a sketch pad page. Or have them color a color page related to the story.
Color page #1 from Bible Printables.
Color page #2 from Bible Printables.
An excellent color page book is “Through-the-Bible Coloring Pages For Ages 4-8” by Janet Skiles. The pages are reproducible.
Play the Joseph & His Brothers File Folder Game from The Catholic Toolbox. When I do a file folder game in the classroom, I make enough file folders for two children to share each folder. That way everyone can see and reach the board easily. I also give each pair a dice. This keeps the game moving along quickly. Kids love these games and are quick to learn the details of the story when they play them. Have a prize for the winner, but also a prize for each contestant when playing with younger children.
Have each child make a paper gift box . (Or this one. Or this one.) All of these are from The Toy Maker. Give each a little strip of paper with the verse 6:23 written on it to keep in the box. Have them take the box home and keep it in a prominent place in their rooms to remind them that God gave them the gift of forgiveness of sins.
This craft from Auntie’s Bible Lessons would work great for this lesson.
Debbie Jackson has some great ideas for teaching this class at Bible Fun for Kids. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Read the stories, “Uh-oh!” and “Joseph and the Silver Cup and God’s Saving Power” by Paul Dallgas-Frey.
This lesson from Sunday School Sources has skits. Have the children or helpers act them out. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sing “All Things Work Together” and “I Can Obey” by Mary Rice Hopkins.
Evaluate what the children have learned. While they are coloring or crafting ask each one what they learned today.
Send each child’s parent an e-mail (or a hard copy) of the Parents’ Page.