“Unit 8: Day 1, Genesis 40–41,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 8: Day 1,” Old Testament Study Guide
While in prison because of the false accusations of Potiphar’s wife, Joseph interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh’s chief butler and chief baker. Two years later, when Pharaoh had dreams that “all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof” (Genesis 41:8) could not interpret, the butler remembered Joseph. Pharaoh sent for Joseph and described his dreams. Joseph explained that he himself could not interpret the dream, but God could. Joseph then told Pharaoah that the dream was God’s warning about an upcoming famine. Pharaoh recognized the Spirit of God in Joseph, and he made him a ruler in Egypt. He also gave him charge of storing food in preparation for the famine.
Consider the following question: In what ways does God communicate with His children?
On the following lines, list a few of the ways that God communicates with us: ________________
In which of these ways have you felt that God has communicated with you?
Have you ever had an opportunity to help another person recognize that God was communicating with him or her?
As you study Genesis 40–41, watch for how the Lord communicated with some individuals in Egypt and how they were able to recognize that the messages were from God.
If possible, invite three other people to participate in a role play with you of the events recorded in Genesis 40. They could be family members, other students, or friends. Assign them to play one of the parts in the following script. If you can’t find others to participate with you, then read it alone, imagining the different people. As you read, look for how God communicated with two prisoners in Egypt.
- If you have other people reading with you, discuss the following questions together. Then write in your scripture study journal one thing you learned from your discussion. If you are reading by yourself, write your answers to the questions in your scripture study journal.
How did God communicate with the butler and the baker?
According to verse 8, to whom did Joseph give credit for the interpretation of the dreams? Why do you think this is significant?
In Genesis 41:1–7 we learn that Pharaoh also had some troubling dreams.
Continue the role play, but ask the person who was reading the baker’s part to play the part of Pharaoh. As you read, look for what Pharaoh discovered about his dreams. (In these verses the word kine means cattle and the phrase “ears of corn” is used to represent several types of grain.)
- If you have other people reading with you, discuss the following questions together. Then write in your scripture study journal one thing you learned from your discussion. If you are reading by yourself, answer the questions in your scripture study journal.
According to verse 16, how would Pharaoh know that Joseph’s interpretation of his dreams was from God?
What did Pharaoh do for Joseph because he helped him understand the dreams?
What principles can we learn from Joseph helping Pharaoh recognize that God was communicating with him?
One of the principles you may have thought about is that when we help others recognize God’s involvement in their lives, it can inspire them to act in faith. You may want to write this principle in your scriptures.
- Answer two or more of the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How often do you think God is influencing your life and the lives of others around you? Why is it sometimes difficult to recognize God’s hand in our lives?
If you could see perfectly how much the Lord is involved in your life, how do you think it would influence your faith in Him?
When has someone helped you see how the Lord is influencing your life? What impact did recognizing this influence have on you?
How have you helped someone else recognize the Lord’s hand in his or her life?
Look for an opportunity today or this week to help someone recognize the Lord’s hand in his or her life. You could put an object in your pocket or write a reminder on a piece of paper to help you remember this assignment. Consider sharing your experience in your weekly seminary class or with the people who have participated in the role play with you.
Reread Genesis 41:38, looking for what we need to have in our own lives in order to help others recognize God’s hand in their lives.
Why is it important to have the Spirit with you in order to help others recognize the Lord’s hand in their lives?
Because Joseph lived in a way that enabled the Spirit to be with him, the Lord could use Joseph as a tool to help fulfill His purposes.
In Genesis 41:46–52 we learn that for seven years Joseph went throughout all of Egypt gathering food until there was more grain in storage than could be numbered. During this time, Joseph and his wife, Asenath (see Genesis 41:45), had two sons. You may want to mark the names of these sons in verses 51 and 52.
Read Genesis 41: 53–57, looking for the result of Pharaoh’s decision to follow Joseph’s counsel.
One principle we can learn from Pharaoh’s decision to follow Joseph’ counsel is this: If we follow the counsel of the prophets, then we will be better prepared to face difficulties. You might consider writing this principle in your scriptures.
- Think about some ways you can apply this principle in your efforts to be prepared for difficulties that may come in the future. Then answer the following questions in your scripture study journal. You could ask your family members or those who participated with you in the role play for ideas.
In what ways have prophets in our day asked us to prepare for future physical or temporal challenges?
How have they asked us to prepare for future trials of our faith or spiritual difficulties?
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Genesis 40–41 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: