“Lesson 40: Genesis 50,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)
“Lesson 40,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
After Jacob died, his body was embalmed in Egypt. Following a period of mourning, it was taken and buried in the land of Canaan, according to his wishes. With their father dead, Joseph’s brothers feared that Joseph would seek revenge on them for their past injustices to him. Joseph reassured them that he held no grudge against them. Prior to Joseph’s death, he prophesied of Moses and Joseph Smith and their future dealings with his descendants.
Suggestions for Teaching
Jacob dies and is buried in Canaan
Write the following questions on the board, and display a picture of a happy family. (You may want to prepare these items before class.)
Invite students to ponder and then respond to the questions on the board.
Remind students that Jacob died after giving blessings to his sons and their families (see Genesis 49). Invite a student to read Genesis 50:1–2, 12–13 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Joseph responded to the death of his father. (You may want to explain that to embalm a body is to treat it with preservatives to protect it from decay.)
How did Joseph respond to the death of his father?
What did Jacob’s sons do for him after he died?
How might Jacob’s death have helped to bring his family closer together? How might it have divided his family?
Joseph comforts and shows mercy toward his brothers
Invite a student to read Genesis 50:15–18 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Joseph’s brothers worried about after their father died. (You may want to explain that the word requite in verse 15 means to repay or retaliate.)
After Jacob’s death, what were Joseph’s brothers concerned about? (That Joseph would hate them and seek revenge on them for mistreating him and selling him as a slave.)
Invite a student to read Genesis 50:19–21 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for Joseph’s response to his brothers’ concerns.
How did Joseph respond to his brothers? What impresses you most about his response?
What do you think Joseph meant when he said, “Am I in the place of God?” (Genesis 50:19).
If you were in the position of Joseph’s brothers, how might you have felt after hearing his response?
What principles can we learn from Joseph’s response to his brothers? (Principles students identify may include the following: When others sin against us, we should leave judgment to God. If we let go of past offenses, we can bring peace to ourselves and our families.)
To help students understand how leaving judgment to God and letting go of past offenses can bring peace to our families, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency. Ask the class to listen for what President Uchtdorf said could help families live in peace.
“I have discovered one thing that most [happy families] have in common: they have a way of forgiving and forgetting the imperfections of others and of looking for the good.
“Those in unhappy families, on the other hand, often find fault, hold grudges, and can’t seem to let go of past offenses. …
“It is through our Savior’s sacrifice that we can gain exaltation and eternal life. As we accept His ways and overcome our pride by softening our hearts, we can bring reconciliation and forgiveness into our families and our personal lives. God will help us to be more forgiving, to be more willing to walk the second mile, to be first to apologize even if something wasn’t our fault, to lay aside old grudges and nurture them no more” (“One Key to a Happy Family,” Ensign or Liahona, Oct. 2012, 5–6).
What did President Uchtdorf say could help us live in peace with our families?
Consider sharing an example from your life of how letting go of past offenses and forgiving others has blessed you and your family.
Ask students to think about someone they need to forgive, especially in their families. Invite them to ask Heavenly Father for help to forgive.
Genesis 50:22–26; Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 50:24–38
Joseph prophesies of Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the gospel
Note: You may want to point out to students that the prophet Lehi quoted the words of Joseph in this scripture block to his youngest son, whose name was also Joseph (see 2 Nephi 3).
Ask the class:
Do you think it is possible to die with joy? Why or why not?
After a few students have responded, invite the class to scan Genesis 50:22, looking for how long Joseph lived. Ask them to report what they find.
Then ask students to turn to Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 50:24 (in the Bible appendix) and read what Joseph said he felt as he was dying.
Based on what you have learned about Joseph’s life, why do you think he said he would die with joy?
Explain that in addition to the things he had done during his life that brought him joy, Joseph could also go down to his grave with joy because the Lord had revealed to him how two great prophets—Moses and Joseph Smith—would bless his descendants. If possible, display pictures of Moses and Joseph Smith (Gospel Art Book , nos. 14, 87; see also LDS.org). Explain that the Lord promised Joseph that Moses would deliver his descendants from Egyptian bondage (see Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 50:24 [in the Bible appendix]).
Explain to students that Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 50:25 (in the Bible appendix) contains Joseph’s prophecy of the scattering of Israel. You may want to invite students to underline the phrase “a branch shall be broken off, and shall be carried into a far country.”
What group of people do you think this could be referring to? (Lehi and his family could be one fulfillment of this prophecy; see also Genesis 49:22.)
Invite a student to read Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 50:25 (in the Bible appendix) aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the promises given concerning the descendants of Joseph who would be scattered.
What promises did the Lord make concerning these descendants of Joseph?
Explain that in order to bring His people out of spiritual darkness and captivity, the Lord raised up a “choice seer” (Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 50:26–27) named Joseph Smith.
Invite a student to read Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 50:26–27 (in the Bible appendix) aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for words and phrases that describe the Prophet Joseph Smith. Have them report what they find, and write their responses on the board.
You may want to explain that a seer is “a person authorized of God to see with spiritual eyes things that God has hidden from the world (Moses 6:35–38). He is a revelator and a prophet (Mosiah 8:13–16)” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Seer”; scriptures.lds.org).
What do you think the description of the Prophet Joseph Smith being “a choice seer” (Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 50:26) means?
Invite a student to read Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 50:28–29, 32–33 (in the Bible appendix) aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for more words and phrases that describe the Prophet Joseph Smith. Ask them to report what they find, and write their responses on the board.
According to Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 50:28, what covenants would Joseph Smith bring to our knowledge?
In verse 29, the Lord said that this choice seer, Joseph Smith, “shall do my work.” What is the “work” the Lord gave Joseph Smith to do? (Help students identify the following truth: Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord restored His gospel to the earth.)
Invite a student to read Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 50:30–31 (in the Bible appendix) aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord said He would give Joseph Smith power to bring forth.
What words of God did the Lord give the Prophet Joseph Smith power to bring forth?
Explain that in verse 31 the phrase “the fruit of thy loins shall write” refers to a record written by descendants of Joseph of Egypt. The phrase “the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write” refers to a record written by descendants of Judah, or the Jews.
What do you think these two records are? (Wait for students to answer. Then hold up a copy of the Book of Mormon and a Bible.)
What did the Lord say would happen to these two records?
As the Book of Mormon and the Bible grow together, what impact will they have on the world?
After students respond, consider inviting them to write the following truth in the margin of their scriptures near Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 50:31: The Book of Mormon and Bible bring peace, truth, and a knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.
To illustrate how the Book of Mormon and the Bible bring people to a true knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ, draw a point or dot on the board. Ask the students how many straight lines can be drawn through this single point. Draw many lines through the point.
How might this illustration represent the Bible and the various interpretations of what the Bible teaches?
Draw a second point on the board. Explain that this point represents the Book of Mormon. Ask students how many straight lines could be drawn between the two points on the board. Draw a single line through the two points.
From this illustration, how do the Book of Mormon and the Bible work together to confound false doctrine and help bring people to a true knowledge of Jesus Christ and His gospel?
How have the Book of Mormon and the Bible helped you draw closer to your Savior, Jesus Christ, and His gospel?
Invite students to look back at Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 50:27 (in the Bible appendix) and underline the phrase “he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins.”
What do you think this phrase means? (Explain that to be esteemed is to be respected and admired.)
Explain that whether we descend from Joseph of Egypt or belong to another tribe of Israel, we who have been blessed by the restored gospel of Jesus Christ have many reasons to highly esteem the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Write the following questions on the board and invite students to answer them in their class notebooks or scripture study journals:
Invite a few students to share their responses with the class. Conclude the lesson by testifying of the Restoration of the gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith.