The story of Joseph is important in Genesis and is well-known in popular culture today, largely due to the musical “Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat”. His appearance in this blog “Women of the Bible” is to provide the context for how the descendants of Sarah and Abraham, who first see the working out of God’s covenant, and are a nomadic people become a settled people living under oppression in Egypt prior to their liberation by God and journey to the Promised Land (Exodus).
A tenuous link would be to say that to see the character of the mother, look at her children. Leah’s children are not recorded in a way that shows their obedience to God’s law. Joseph, one of the two sons of Rachel, is portrayed very favourably. He is obedient to the God of his ancestors, even when sold into slavery and living in a strange land. He does not succumb to temptation when Potiphar’s wife tries to lead him astray. He uses his gift of dreams in a positive way and famine is averted for Egypt.
His brothers visit Egypt, in desperation, during the time of famine in their land, not knowing that the reason that Egypt has plentiful supplies in storage is through the foresight and dreams of their brother Joseph, who they had thought long-dead. He recognises them, although they don’t him and after some to-ing and fro-ing, the whole family including his elderly father Jacob arrive in Egypt.
Genesis 46 records:
“And Jacob arose from Well-of-the-Oath and Israel’s [Jacob] sons took up their father, and their baggage, and their wives, on the wagons which Joseph had sent. And they took up their possessions and all their property which they had acquired in the land of Canaan. And they entered Egypt, Jacob and all his offspring with him.”
We are given a detailed list of Jacob’s family, now known as Israel, including his sons, daughter Dinah (no children of Dinah listed) and grandchildren, including the children of Judah by Tamar travelled to Egypt. These numbered 66 as the descendants of Jacob (not including the wives of his descendants). The Twelve Tribes of Israel had arrived to settle in Egypt.