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Joseph

The Bible

Bible Usage:

Dictionaries:

  • Included in Eastons: Yes
  • Included in Hitchcocks: Yes
  • Included in Naves: Yes
  • Included in Smiths: Yes
  • Included in Websters: No
  • Included in Strongs: Yes
  • Included in Thayers: Yes
  • Included in BDB: Yes

Strongs Concordance:

Easton's Bible Dictionary
Joseph

Remover or increaser.

1. The elder of the two sons of Jacob by Rachel (Genesis 30:23, 24), who, on the occasion of his birth, said, "God hath taken away [Heb. asaph] my reproach." "The Lord shall add [Heb. yoseph] to me another son" (Genesis 30:24). He was a child of probably six years of age when his father returned from Haran to Canaan and took up his residence in the old patriarchal town of Hebron. "Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age," and he "made him a long garment with sleeves" (Genesis 37:3, R.V. marg.), i.e., a garment long and full, such as was worn by the children of nobles. This seems to be the correct rendering of the words. The phrase, however, may also be rendered, "a coat of many pieces", i.e., a patchwork of many small pieces of divers colours.

When he was about seventeen years old Joseph incurred the jealous hatred of his brothers (Genesis 37:4). They "hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him." Their anger was increased when he told them his dreams (37:11).

Jacob desiring to hear tidings of his sons, who had gone to Shechem with their flocks, some 60 miles from Hebron, sent Joseph as his messenger to make inquiry regarding them. Joseph found that they had left Shechem for Dothan, whither he followed them. As soon as they saw him coming they began to plot against him, and would have killed him had not Reuben interposed. They ultimately sold him to a company of Ishmaelite merchants for twenty pieces (shekels) of silver (about $2, 10s.), ten pieces less than the current value of a slave, for "they cared little what they had for him, if so be they were rid of him." These merchants were going down with a varied assortment of merchandise to the Egyptian market, and thither they conveyed him, and ultimately sold him as a slave to Potiphar, an "officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard" (Genesis 37:36). "The Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake," and Potiphar made him overseer over his house. At length a false charge having been brought against him by Potiphar's wife, he was at once cast into the state prison (39; 40), where he remained for at least two years. After a while the "chief of the cupbearers" and the "chief of the bakers" of Pharaoh's household were cast into the same prison (40:2). Each of these new prisoners dreamed a dream in the same night, which Joseph interpreted, the event occurring as he had said.

This led to Joseph's being remembered subsequently by the chief butler when Pharaoh also dreamed. At his suggestion Joseph was brought from prison to interpret the king's dreams. Pharaoh was well pleased with Joseph's wisdom in interpreting his dreams, and with his counsel with reference to the events then predicted; and he set him over all the land of Egypt (Genesis 41:46), and gave him the name of Zaphnath-paaneah. He was married to Asenath, the daughter of the priest of On, and thus became a member of the priestly class. Joseph was now about thirty years of age.

As Joseph had interpreted, seven years of plenty came, during which he stored up great abundance of corn in granaries built for the purpose. These years were followed by seven years of famine "over all the face of the earth," when "all countries came into Egypt to Joseph to buy corn" (Genesis 41:56, 57; 47:13, 14). Thus "Joseph gathered up all the money that was in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought." Afterwards all the cattle and all the land, and at last the Egyptians themselves, became the property of Pharaoh.

During this period of famine Joseph's brethren also came down to Egypt to buy corn. The history of his dealings with them, and of the manner in which he at length made himself known to them, is one of the most interesting narratives that can be read (Genesis 42-45). Joseph directed his brethren to return and bring Jacob and his family to the land of Egypt, saying, "I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land. Regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land is yours." Accordingly Jacob and his family, to the number of threescore and ten souls, together with "all that they had," went down to Egypt. They were settled in the land of Goshen, where Joseph met his father, and "fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while" (Genesis 46:29).

The excavations of Dr. Naville have shown the land of Goshen to be the Wady Tumilat, between Ismailia and Zagazig. In Goshen (Egyptian Qosem) they had pasture for their flocks, were near the Asiatic frontier of Egypt, and were out of the way of the Egyptian people. An inscription speaks of it as a district given up to the wandering shepherds of Asia.

Jacob at length died, and in fulfilment of a promise which he had exacted, Joseph went up to Canaan to bury his father in "the field of Ephron the Hittite" (Genesis 47:29-31; 50:1-14). This was the last recorded act of Joseph, who again returned to Egypt.

"The Story of the Two Brothers,' an Egyptian romance written for the son of the Pharaoh of the Oppression, contains an episode very similar to the Biblical account of Joseph's treatment by Potiphar's wife. Potiphar and Potipherah are the Egyptian Pa-tu-pa-Ra, the gift of the sun-god.' The name given to Joseph, Zaphnath-paaneah, is probably the Egyptian Zaf-nti-pa-ankh, nourisher of the living one,' i.e., of the Pharaoh. There are many instances in the inscriptions of foreigners in Egypt receiving Egyptian names, and rising to the highest offices of state."

By his wife Asenath, Joseph had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim (Genesis 41:50). Joseph having obtained a promise from his brethren that when the time should come that God would "bring them unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob," they would carry up his bones out of Egypt, at length died, at the age of one hundred and ten years; and "they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin" (Genesis 50:26). This promise was faithfully observed. Their descendants, long after, when the Exodus came, carried the body about with them during their forty years' wanderings, and at length buried it in Shechem, in the parcel of ground which Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor (Joshua 24:32; comp. Genesis 33:19). With the death of Joseph the patriarchal age of the history of Israel came to a close.

The Pharaoh of Joseph's elevation was probably Apepi, or Apopis, the last of the Hyksos kings. Some, however, think that Joseph came to Egypt in the reign of Thothmes III. (see PHARAOH), long after the expulsion of the Hyksos.

The name Joseph denotes the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh in Deuteronomy 33:13-17; the kingdom of Israel in Ezekiel 37:16, 19, Amos 5:6; and the whole covenant people of Israel in Psalms 81:4.

2. One of the sons of Asaph, head of the first division of sacred musicians (1 Chronicles 25:2, 9).

3. The son of Judah, and father of Semei (Luke 3:26). Other two of the same name in the ancestry of Christ are also mentioned (3:24, 30).

4. The foster-father of our Lord (Matthew 1:16; Luke 3:23). He lived at Nazareth in Galilee (Luke 2:4). He is called a "just man." He was by trade a carpenter (Matthew 13:55). He is last mentioned in connection with the journey to Jerusalem, when Jesus was twelve years old. It is probable that he died before Jesus entered on his public ministry. This is concluded from the fact that Mary only was present at the marriage feast in Cana of Galilee. His name does not appear in connection with the scenes of the crucifixion along with that of Mary (q.v.), John 19:25.

5. A native of Arimathea, probably the Ramah of the Old Testament (1 Samuel 1:19), a man of wealth, and a member of the Sanhedrim (Matthew 27:57; Luke 23:50), an "honourable counsellor, who waited for the kingdom of God." As soon as he heard the tidings of Christ's death, he "went in boldly" (lit. "having summoned courage, he went") "unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus." Pilate having ascertained from the centurion that the death had really taken place, granted Joseph's request, who immediately, having purchased fine linen (Mark 15:46), proceeded to Golgotha to take the body down from the cross. There, assisted by Nicodemus, he took down the body and wrapped it in the fine linen, sprinkling it with the myrrh and aloes which Nicodemus had brought (John 19:39), and then conveyed the body to the new tomb hewn by Joseph himself out of a rock in his garden hard by. There they laid it, in the presence of Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Joses, and other women, and rolled a great stone to the entrance, and departed (Luke 23:53, 55). This was done in haste, "for the Sabbath was drawing on" (comp. Isaiah 53:9).

6. Surnamed Barsabas (Acts 1:23); also called Justus. He was one of those who "companied with the apostles all the time that the Lord Jesus went out and in among them" (Acts 1:21), and was one of the candidates for the place of Judas.


Hitchcock's Names Dictionary
Joseph

increase; addition


Naves Topical Index
Joseph

1. Son of Jacob:

General references
Genesis 30:24

Personal appearance of
Genesis 39:6

His father's favorite child
Genesis 33:2; Genesis 37:3-4; Genesis 37:35; Genesis 48:22; 1 Chronicles 5:2; John 4:5

His father's partiality for, excites the jealousy of his brethren
Genesis 37:4; Genesis 37:11; Genesis 37:18-28; Psalms 105:17; Acts 7:9

His prophetic dreams of his fortunes in Egypt
Genesis 37:5-11

Sold into Egypt
Genesis 37:27-28

Is falsely reported to his father as killed by wild beasts
Genesis 37:29-35

Is bought by Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh
Genesis 37:36

Is prospered of God
Genesis 39:2-5; Genesis 39:21; Genesis 39:23

Is falsely accused, and cast into prison; is delivered by the friendship of another prisoner
Genesis 1:39; Psalms 105:18

Is an interpreter of dreams:

Of the two prisoners
Genesis 40:5-23


Of Pharaoh
Genesis 41:1-37


His name is changed to Zaphnath-Paaneah
Genesis 41:45

Is promoted to authority next to Pharaoh at thirty years of age
Genesis 41:37-46; Psalms 105:19-22

Takes to wife the daughter of the priest of On
Genesis 41:45

Provides against the years of famine
Genesis 41:46-57

Exports the produce of Egypt to other countries
Genesis 41:57

Sells the stores of food to the people of Egypt, exacting of them all their money, flocks and herds, lands and lives
Genesis 47:13-26

Exempts the priests from the exactions
Genesis 47:22; Genesis 47:26

His father sends down into Egypt to buy corn
Genesis 1:42

Reveals himself to his brethren; sends for his father; provides the land of Goshen for his people; and sustains them during the famine
Genesis 1:45; Genesis 47:1-12

His two sons

General references
Genesis 41:50; Genesis 41:52
Genesis 41:52
Ephraim, 1; Genesis 41:52
Manasseh, 1

Mourns the death of his father
Genesis 50:1-14

Exacts a pledge from his brethren to convey his remains to Canaan
Genesis 50:24-25; Hebrews 11:22; Exodus 13:19; Joshua 24:32; Acts 7:16

Death of
Genesis 50:22-26

His kindness of heart
Genesis 40:7-8

His integrity
Genesis 39:7-12

His humility
Genesis 41:16; Genesis 45:7-9

His wisdom
Genesis 41:33-57

His piety
Genesis 41:51-52

His faith
Genesis 45:5-8

Was a prophet
Genesis 41:38-39; Genesis 50:25; Exodus 13:19

God's providence with
Genesis 39:2-5; Psalms 105:17-22

His sons conjointly called Joseph
Deuteronomy 33:13-17

Descendants of
Genesis 46:20; Numbers 26:28-37

2. Father of Igal the spy
Numbers 13:7

3. Of the sons of Asaph
1 Chronicles 25:2; 1 Chronicles 25:9

4. A returned exile
Ezra 10:42

5. A priest
Nehemiah 12:14

6. Husband of Mary:

General references
Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:27

His genealogy
Matthew 1:1-16; Luke 3:23-38

An angel appears and testifies to the innocency of his betrothed
Matthew 1:19-24

Dwells at Nazareth
Luke 2:4

Belongs to the city of Bethlehem
Luke 2:4

Goes to Bethlehem to be enrolled
Luke 2:1-4

Jesus born to
Matthew 1:25; Luke 2:7

Presents Jesus in the temple
Luke 2:22-39

Returns to Nazareth
Luke 2:39

Warned in a dream to escape to Egypt in order to save the child's life
Matthew 2:13-15

Warned in a dream to return to Nazareth
Matthew 2:19-23

Attends the annual feast at Jerusalem with his family
Luke 2:42-51

7. Of Arimathaea. Begs the body of Jesus for burial in his own tomb
Matthew 27:57-60; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42

8. Three ancestors of Joseph
Luke 3:24; Luke 3:26; Luke 3:30

9. Called Barsabas, surnamed Justus. One of the two persons nominated in place of Judas
Acts 1:21-23

10. A designation of the ten tribes of Israel
Amos 5:6


Smith's Bible Dictionary
Joseph

(increase).

  1. The elder of the two sons of Jacob by Rachel. He was born in Padan-aram (Mesopotamia), probably about B.C. 1746. He is first mentioned when a youth, seventeen years old. Joseph brought the evil report of his brethren to his father, and they hated him because his father loved him more than he did them, and had shown his preference by making a dress which appears to have been a long tunic with sleeves, worn by youths and maidens of the richer class. (Genesis 37:2) He dreamed a dream foreshadowing his future power, which increased the hatred of his brethren. (Genesis 37:5-7) He was sent by his father to visit his brothers, who were tending flocks in the fields of Dothan. They resolved to kill him, but he was saved by Reuben, who persuaded the brothers to cast Joseph into a dry pit, to the intent that he might restore him to Jacob. The appearance of the Ishm'lites suggested his sale for "twenty pieces (shekels) of silver." ver. 28. Sold into Egypt to Potiphar, Joseph prospered and was soon set over Potiphar's house, and "all he had he gave into his hand;" but incurring the anger of Potiphar's wife ch. (Genesis 39:7-13) he was falsely accused and thrown into prison, where he remained at least two years, interpreting during this time the dreams of the cupbearer and the baker. Finally Pharaoh himself dreamed two prophetic dreams. Joseph, being sent for, interpreted them in the name of God, foretelling the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine. Pharaoh at once appointed Joseph not merely governor of Egypt, but second only to the sovereign, and also gave him to wife Asenath, daughter of Potipherah priest of On (Hieropolis), and gave him a name or title, Zaphnath-paaneah (preserver of life). Joseph's first act was to go throughout all the land of Egypt. During the seven plenteous years there was a very abundant produce, and he gathered the fifth part and laid it up. When the seven good years had passed, the famine began. (Genesis 41:54-57) [FAMINE] After the famine had lasted for a time, apparently two years, Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they brought, and brought it into Pharaoh's house, (Genesis 47:13,14) and when the money was exhausted, all the cattle, and finally all the land except that of the priests, and apparently, as a consequence, the Egyptians themselves. He demanded, however, only a fifth part of the produce as Pharaoh's right. Now Jacob, who had suffered also from the effects of the famine, sent Joseph's brother to Egypt for corn. The whole story of Joseph's treatment of his brethren is so graphically told in Genesis42-45 and is so familiar, that it is unnecessary here to repeat it. On the death of Jacob in Egypt Joseph carried him to Canaan, and laid him in the cave of Machpelah, the burying-place of his fathers. Joseph lived "a hundred and ten years," having been more than ninety in Egypt. Dying, he took an oath of his brethren that they should carry up his bones to the land of promise: thus showing in his latest action the faith, (Hebrews 11:22) which had guided his whole life. Like his father he was embalmed, "and he was put in a coffin in Egypt." (Genesis 50:26) His trust Moses kept, and laid the bones of Joseph in his inheritance in Shechem, in the territory of Ephraim his offspring. His tomb is, according to tradition, about a stone's throw from Jacob's well.
  2. Father of Igal, who represented the tribe of Issachar among the spies. (Numbers 13:7)
  3. A lay Isr'lite who had married a foreign wife. (Ezra 10:42) (B.C. 459.)
  4. A representative of the priestly family of Shebaniah. (Nehemiah 12:14) (B.C. after 536.)
  5. One of the ancestors of Christ, (Luke 3:30) So of Jonan.
  6. Another ancestor of Christ, son of Judah. (Luke 3:26) (B.C. between 536-410.)
  7. Another, son of Mattathias. (Luke 3:24) (B.C. after 400.)
  8. Son of Heli, and reputed father of Jesus Christ. All that is told us of Joseph in the New Testament may be summed up in a few words. He was a just man, and of the house and lineage of David. He lived at Nazareth in Galilee. He espoused Mary, the daughter and heir of his uncle Jacob,a nd before he took her home as his wife received the angelic communication recorded in (Matthew 1:20) When Jesus was twelve years old Joseph and Mary took him with them to keep the passover at Jerusalem, and when they returned to Nazareth he continued to acct as a father to the child Jesus, and was reputed to be so indeed. But here our knowledge of Joseph ends. That he died before our Lord's crucifixion is indeed tolerably certain, by what is related (John 19:27) and perhaps (Mark 6:3) may imply that he was then dead. But where, when or how he died we know not.
  9. Joseph of Arimath'a, a rich and pious Isr'lite, probably a member of the Great Council or Sanhedrin. He is further characterized as "a good man and a just." (Luke 23:50) We are expressly told that he did not "consent to the counsel and deed" of his colleagues in conspiring to bring about the death of Jesus; but he seems to have lacked the courage to protest against their judgment. On the very evening of the crucifixion, when the triumph of the chief priests and rulers seemed complete, Joseph "went in boldly unto Pilate and craved the body of Jesus." Pilate consented. Joseph and Nicodemus then, having enfolded the sacred body in the linen shroud which Joseph had bought, consigned it to a tomb hewn in a rock, in a garden belonging to Joseph, and close to the place of crucifixion. There is a tradition that he was one of the seventy disciples.
  10. Joseph, called Barsabas, and surnamed Justus; one of the two person chosen by the assembled church, (Acts 1:23) as worthy to fill the place in the apostolic company from which Judas had fallen.