Joseph the patriarch

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Joseph, son of Jacob[1] and grandson of Isaac, grew up as the favored child[2] by his father. This favoritism rose from a very divided household with Jacob having multiple wives. Jacob favored Joseph because he had borne him from Rachel, his favorite wife. Joseph's brothers became jealous of their father's favoritism of him. When Joseph came to his brothers with dreams that he had received from the Lord concerning his own future, they hated him all the more because the dreams had his brothers in subjection to him. He was eventually sold into slavery by his brothers. Through God's providence,[3] he eventually rose to power in Egypt because of his God-given ability to interpret dreams, and specifically two dreams that troubled Pharaoh (Gen 37, 39-50). Joseph's story significantly exemplifies a man of faith[4] and presents an example of resisting temptation (Gen 39).

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Joseph in church history

Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and Irenaeus identify Joseph as a type of Christ. Ambrose devotes an entire book to this concept. Athanasius views Joseph as a model of godly faithfulness while Gregory of Nyssa emphasizes his chastity. [citations needed]

Joseph in the DSS

The Dead Sea Scrolls view Joseph as the ideal person. [citations needed]


  1. Also known as Israel
  2. Genesis 37:3
  3. Gen 45:5, 7-8; 50:20
  4. Heb 11:22
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