Joseph’s brothers travel to Egypt for food

Illustration by Linda Rivers


Jacob — a son of Isaac and a grandson of Abraham — had 12 sons. His favorite was his second-youngest son, Joseph.

This made Joseph’s older brothers so jealous that they sold Joseph into slavery in Egypt.

With God’s help, Joseph could interpret dreams. One day, he was summoned to interpret the dreams of Pharaoh, the Egyptian ruler.

Joseph said that Pharaoh’s dreams meant there would be seven years of plentiful harvests followed by seven years of terrible famine.

Pharaoh was so happy that he put Joseph in charge of preparing for the famine, and he also made him governor of the entire country.

When the famine came, it gripped not only Egypt but the entire world. People — including 10 of Joseph’s 11 brothers — traveled to Egypt from many other countries to ask for food, which Joseph was in charge of giving out.

One day, Joseph’s brothers came and knelt before him to ask for food. They did not recognize Joseph, but Joseph recognized them. He also noticed that Benjamin, his youngest brother, was not there.

Joseph kept his identity secret, and he pretended he needed an interpreter to talk to his brothers. Through the interpreter, he accused his brothers of being spies from the land of Canaan. Even though his brothers explained who they were and what they were doing in Egypt, Joseph had them locked in the guardhouse for three days.

“If you have been honest, only one of your brothers need be confined in this prison, while the rest of you may go and take home provisions for your starving families,” Joseph told them through the interpreter. “But you must come back to me with your youngest brother. Your words will thus be verified, and you will not die.”

Joseph’s brothers agreed.

As they left Joseph, they said to one another that they were being punished for what they had done years earlier.

“Did I not tell you not to do wrong to the boy?” Reuben, the eldest brother, said of Joseph. “But you would not listen! Now comes the reckoning for his blood.”

Joseph heard what his brothers were saying about him. He turned away from them and wept.


Genesis 41 & 42


  1. Who wanted his dreams interpreted?
  2. Who came to ask Joseph for food?

ESSAY: When have you helped people who were hungry and needed food?


Two dreams that Joseph had in his youth contributed to his brothers’ hatred of him.

In Genesis 37:5, we read that Joseph told his brothers he had dreamed they were all binding sheaves in a field. Suddenly, Joseph’s sheaf stood upright, and his brothers’ sheaves bowed down to it.

“Are you really going to make yourself king over us? Will you rule over us?” said Joseph’s brothers, who hated him even more than usual.

In another dream, Joseph saw the sun, moon and 11 stars bowing to him. When he told his father and brothers, Jacob reproved him.

“What is the meaning of this dream of yours? Can it be that I and your mother and your brothers are to come and bow to the ground before you?” Jacob said.

This made his brothers furious, but Jacob kept the matter in mind.

One day, when Joseph was 17, Jacob sent him to check up on his brothers, who were tending their father’s flocks.

“Here comes that dreamer!” they said when they saw Joseph approaching.

They discussed ways they could mistreat Joseph and even considered killing him.

“We will see then what comes of his dreams,” they said.

Many years later, when Joseph was almost 40 years old, his dreams came true when his brothers treated him like a king and bowed before him in Egypt.


St. Kunigunde of Poland

St. Kunigunde, or Kinga, was born in 1224 and was the daughter of Hungarian royalty. At age 16, she married King Boleslaus IV of Poland.

Kunigunde and her husband ruled together for 40 years. She was very generous, and she helped the poor and sick, supported the Friars Minor and ransomed Christian prisoners.

After she was widowed, she entered a Poor Clares convent that she had founded in southern Poland.

She died in 1292, and we remember her on July 24.


Unscramble the letters in each word and arrange them to form a quotation from the Bible Accent.

htat reeh meadrer smoce

Answers: that, here, dreamer, comes

Here comes that dreamer.

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