Joseph is the firstborn son of Jacob’s favorite wife, Rachel, and definitely his favorite son. Alas, he is the eleventh-born of twelve, not exactly high on the evolutionary scale of sibling rivalry. It gets worse: the ten who came before him are all his half brothers, a fact virtually guaranteed to cause friction in family dynamics.
Joseph, a young Hebrew shepherd, has been wrenched from a pastoral countryside, packed over land alongside spices, ointments and other commodities, to find himself suddenly being jostled by the hustle and bustle of a modern metropolis in a foreign land. The culture shock continues as he finds himself being sold yet again, into the household of an Egyptian official.
Joseph had come to this foreign land as a slave and had risen to a position of complete authority in his master’s household. When put into prison, the same thing happened; he was placed in charge of everyone and everything. Now, in this most extraordinary turn of events, he has risen to the position of number two in the entire nation of Egypt. Only the Pharaoh himself carries greater authority. Joseph is thirty years old. Thirteen years have passed since his arrival.
But through it all God had a plan. He had promised Abraham, then Isaac and then Jacob he would bless not only their family but also the nations through them.