40 & 41 - Joseph: Food in Egypt & Benjamin's journey


15 minute Story planner

Genesis 42-43
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor pages 53 and 54

Summarise the story so far. Many years after Jacob left the land God had promised his grandfather Abraham, he made the long journey back home. By the time he settled back in the Promised Land (the land of Canaan) Jacob had a very large family; his wife Leah had had many children, while his wife Rachel had had two. Altogether Jacob had 12 sons and one daughter. Joseph was Jacob's favourite son. Because of the love Jacob showed Joseph, his brothers hated him and sent him away to Egypt. In Egypt Joseph worked hard. He was given a good job in Potiphar's household. But Potiphar's wife treated him unfairly and after a while she persuaded her husband to put Joseph in prison. While he was in prison Joseph was called to the palace, there he told the king the meaning of his dream. A little while later Joseph was put in charge of a plan to save the Egyptians from famine.

1. Setting the scene - 2mins 
Find the Old Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about 'The Old Testament FlashCards' cards one to three

2. Starter question - 1 min
Have you ever been really, really, really hungry? So hungry that your tummy has started to rumble and all you could think about was food, food, food? After seven years of good harvests the crops in Egypt began to fail. The Egyptians were now hungry. Joseph began to hand out the grain he had put by in the storehouses - but soon it was not only the Egyptians that needed food, after a while people from the countries near by came in search of something to eat too.

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Beware of allergies - make sure it is safe for the children in your group to handle the food used in these activities

  • The 12 brothers from week 1 (see Printables - ‘The names of Jacob's children and how to display them’ instructions)
  • Bags of unpopped popcorn, uncooked lentils or rice
  • Small bags of copper coins

Click on the images at the beginning of this post for more resources from the web

4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Talk about foods from around the world.
You will need: a selection of store cupboard ingredients and/or fresh produce from around the world. These do not have to be exotic items as many common items are grown or packaged in different countries.

1. Before the session write down on small slips of paper where the items are from.
2. During the session set the children a challenge to try and guess where the items are from or simply place the slips next to the items as you talk about the countries they were grown or packaged in.
3. Spend some time discussing why different countries produce different types of food.
4. Talk about people needing to buy food from Egypt at the time of Joseph as there wasn't enough food in the surrounding countries.
5. Finally talk about what might have happened if Joseph hadn't told the king the meaning of his dream. With older children you could talk about the consequences of the brothers sending Joseph to Egypt and how this meant that one day their family would have enough food to eat. 

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God we think about the difference Joseph made to the lives of people living in Egypt. We think about how his meeting with the steward and baker led him to stand before the King of Egypt.  We think about how you revealed the meaning of the King's dream to him so that Egypt could prepare for famine. We think about how hard he worked in Potiphar's household - preparing him for managing the plan that would one day feed thousands of people. 

Father we thank you that you have wonderful plans for each one of our lives. Father help us to remember that even when things seem to be going wrong you can turn everything around for good. Father help us to trust you in all that we do. 

Father God we thank you for all the people that have obediently lived your way and how their lives have made a difference to our lives today. Father help us to be people that long to make a difference to the people around us. Amen. 

With younger children, or during a shorter session you may wish to select just one or two phrases from the reflective prayer.

Alongside this story, make the craft...

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