Women of Genesis Bible Study

The Women of Genesis: Lesson 34

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33

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Read Genesis 46:1-47:26

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Questions to Consider

1. Briefly review previous lessons (links above) to refresh your memory on the background of today’s passage. What events led up to the action in chapters 46-47?

2. Review previous lessons regarding the role the Abrahamic Covenant has played in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, especially with regard to physically living in Canaan and “possessing the land”.Β Trace Israel’s journey from Hebron to Egypt on a Bible map. Why would he have stopped and sought the Lord at Beersheba, specifically, and why would God have assured him it was OK to leave Beersheba and enter Egypt? (46:1-4)

3. Compare 46:3 to Genesis 12:2. How is this a promise to Israel of fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant? How can this passage be a reminder to us that God does not forget His promises and that He has a right to carry out those promises in any way and any timing He chooses, even if it doesn’t make sense to us? What does this teach us about God’s sovereignty, His authority, and His infinite wisdom, compared to our humility and limited knowledge?

4. Why would it have been important to the nation of Israel’s history and record-keeping to list the names, numbers, and relationships (46:8-27) of the people who left Canaan to settle in Egypt?

5. Consider 47:5-6 and recall 45:16-20. Why was Pharaoh, a pagan, so favorably disposed toward Joseph, and consequently, Joseph’s family? What character traits had Joseph displayed while serving Pharaoh that had such an impact on him? Think about the way you serve your employer, your family, and your church. How does the Fruit of the Spirit you display impact your relationships with those you serve?

6. Compare 47:11-2 with these passages. How does Joseph’s provision for his family who has come to him paint a picture of God taking care of the needs of those who come to Him?

7. Consider 47:13-26 with regard to Egypt’s rise to power in the ancient world. What did Pharaoh take from the people first? (47:14-15) Next? (47:16-17) Next? (47:18-21) How did this shift the balance of power between the people and the Egyptian government? Was it God’s will for Egypt to become a powerful and prominent nation? Who sent the famine that set these wheels in motion and who could have stopped it? Thinking ahead to the Exodus, what was the significance of having an “almighty” Pharaoh and empire as the backdrop for Almighty God’s signs, wonders and deliverance?

8. Think about 47:23,35 in light of these passages. How does Joseph purchasing the people to save their lives point to Christ’s redemption of sinful man? Was there any way for the people to save themselves? How did Joseph show mercy and compassion to them? What was the people’s response to becoming servants? Were they resentful? Grateful? What does this teach us about why we should serve Christ, and the attitude with which we should serve Christ?


Homework

Again compare 46:3 to Genesis 12:2, and consider 46:1-4, this time putting yourself in Israel’s shoes. God has promised Canaan to Abraham’s descendants. Israel already lives there with a decent number of descendants. (46:8-27) From Israel’s human vantage point, does it make sense for him to pack everybody up and leave the Promised Land (46:5-7) rather than staying, increasing in number, and taking over Canaan? But can Israel see the big picture, centuries into the future, the way God does?

Think about a time God worked in your life in a way that, humanly speaking, didn’t make sense. Compare your finite knowledge of the situation with God’s infinite knowledge of it and His “big picture” plans. Considering this, write down three reasons it is important toΒ trustΒ God and three reasons it is important toΒ obey God, especiallyΒ when things don’t make sense.


Suggested Memory Verse

And they said, β€œYou have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be servants to Pharaoh.”
Genesis 47:25

Women of Genesis Bible Study

The Women of Genesis: Lesson 33

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,Β 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32

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Read Genesis 44-45

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Questions to Consider

1. Genesis 44:1 begins with the word “then.” What happened prior to the action in chapter 44? Briefly review recent lessons (links above) to refresh your memory on the background for today’s lesson.

2. Review question 5 from Lesson 32. How much time might have passed between the brothers’ first trip to Egypt (and Joseph’s rough treatment of them) in Genesis 42 and their second trip to Egypt (and Joseph’s rough treatment of them) in Genesis 44? It’s important to keep in mind that the events of these two chapters did not occur back to back in real time.

3. Review question 4 from Lesson 32, and consider again: why did Joseph act the way he did toward his brothers? (44:1-17) Why did he again return their money into their sacks and plant “evidence” in Benjamin’s sack that he could use for a false accusation? Was it revenge for how they had treated him? Was he trying to find out if their character had changed since that time? Was he trying to find out how they were accustomed to regarding and treating Benjamin so he could keep Benjamin in Egypt and protect him from them if necessary? Could it have had something to do with guiding them toward repentance for what they had done to him? (Hint: Notice that the further Joseph carries the rough treatment, the more information he draws out of his brothers about themselves and the rest of his family.)

4. What did Judah’s plea in 44:18-34 reveal to Joseph about his brothers’ regard for their father and for Benjamin? What was Judah willing to do (44:33) out of concern for them? Considering the reasons (from question 3) Joseph may have treated his brothers roughly, what response did this treatment draw out of Judah and the other brothers (44:12-17)?

5. What finally convinced Joseph it was time to reveal his identity to his brothers? (45:1-4) Compare 45:3 with 44:30-34. Why would Joseph ask if his father were still alive?

6. In what specific ways in chapters 44-45 is God’s sovereignty over man’s circumstances showcased? What does Joseph believe about God’s sovereignty in his own life? (45:5-8)

7. Compare 45:5 and 45:7. Distinguish between these two purposes for which God sent Joseph to Egypt. Notice the word “you” in verse 7. To whom does “you” refer? What were the implications for the future of Israel of God preserving a remnant of survivors of Joseph’s brothers?

8. What can we learn about repentance and forgiveness from today’s passage? In 45:5, is Joseph brushing aside his brothers’ sin?

9. Write about joy as it is portrayed in chapter 45. What is the source of joy? How is it expressed, and to/between whom?

10. Compare 45:5 to Isaiah 53:10. How does God sending Joseph – via the route of suffering – to save people point us ahead to Christ? Did Joseph’s hard work and suffering save everyone affected by the famine, or only those who came to him seeking the “bread of life”?


Homework

What did you learn from 44:9 about the imprudence of speaking rashly when you don’t know all the facts of the situation? What does the Bible teach about speaking or vowing rashly? Consider these passages, noticing how some of them are worded in the positive (“do this”) and some are worded in the negative (“don’t do that”). Make a two column chart listing all of the positive statements in these passages in one column. In the second column, accurately re-word this statement in the negative. For example: Part of James 1:19 says “be quick to hear”. You might re-word this as “don’t be someone who doesn’t listen to others”.) Make a second chart for the negative statements in these passages, rewording them into positive statements.

Apply these concepts to a current or past situation you’ve been in. In what ways were you obedient to these biblical instructions? Are there any you were disobedient to and need to repent of?


Suggested Memory Verse

And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.
Genesis 45:5

Women of Genesis Bible Study

The Women of Genesis: Lesson 32

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,Β 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31

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Read Genesis 42-43

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Questions to Consider

1. Imagine you are writing the setting for the first act of a play that begins with the action in chapter 42. Reviewing previous lessons (links above) if necessary, how would you briefly set the scene?

2. By which name does this passage call Jacob in 42:1? In 42:5? Why do you think it switches back and forth?

3. Examine the extent of the famine (42:5) on an Old Testament map. How widespread was it?

4. Why did Joseph act the way he did toward his brothers? (42:6-38) Why did he speak roughly to them, accuse them of being spies, jail them for three days, insist on keeping Simeon to ensure their return, ask them to bring Benjamin back, and return their money into their sacks? Was it revenge for how they had treated him? Was he trying to find out if their character had changed since that time? Did he really think they might be spying out Egypt? Could it have had something to do with guiding them toward repentance for what they had done to him? (Hint: Notice that the further Joseph carries the rough treatment, the more information he draws out of his brothers about themselves and the rest of his family, and the more he obligates them to come back to Egypt.)

5. Examine 43:2. Speculate on how much grain the 10 brothers could have carried back from Egypt and how long it might have lasted. Where was Simeon this whole time? (42:19,24) Which of the other brothers had spent a long time in an Egyptian jail? Why didn’t Joseph keep Reuben, the firstborn? (Remember, in this culture the firstborn would have been seen as the most important, or valuable, son, making him a better bargaining chip.)

6. How is the gospel reflected in Israel – the father – sending (43:13) his “only son” (42:38) to (what Israel thought would be) his death (42:36,43:14) in order to redeem (42:34,43:5,14) his captiveΒ (42:24) child who could do nothing to free himself?

7. How do you suppose Joseph’s steward knew about the one true God? (43:23)


Homework

Think about Joseph’s position and power compared to the lack of position and power of Simeon and the other brothers. What ultimately won Simeon’s redemption – his own abilities, the money his brothers brought, the present they brought, or bringing Benjamin? Even after all of those efforts to earn Simeon’s freedom, didn’t Joseph still have the power to kill or imprison any or all of his brothers if he wanted to? Was Simeon’s redemption earned by any human effort or was it by Joseph showing mercy and extending grace? How is this a picture of our salvation being completely dependent on the mercy and grace of God? Write down three Bible verses that explain how salvation is by God’s grace and mercy, not by our human effort of good works to earn salvation.


Suggested Memory Verse

MayΒ God AlmightyΒ grant you mercy before the man, and may he send back your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me,Β if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.
Genesis 43:14

Women of Genesis Bible Study

The Women of Genesis: Lesson 31

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,Β 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

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Read Genesis 40-41

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Questions to Consider

1. Reviewing previous lessons (links above) if necessary, briefly summarize Joseph’s life and experiences up to this point. What was happening to Joseph when last we left him?

2. What’s the first thing you think of when you think of Joseph? His “coat of many colors” and his status as favorite son? That God enabled him to interpret dreams? His fame and success as Pharaoh’s right hand man during Egypt’s famine? Joseph was favored and successful at many points in his life, but he also suffered greatly. From previous lessons and from today’s passage, describe the various ways Joseph has suffered in his life. How do Joseph’s sufferings and successes point us ahead to Christ as both Suffering Servant and King of Kings? How does Joseph’s being lifted up out of “the heart of the earth” (the “pit” 40:15, 41:14) foreshadow Christ’s resurrection?

3. Since God is sovereign and in complete control of everything that happens, why didn’t He remind the cupbearer to speak up on Joseph’s behalf as soon as he got out of prison? (40:14-15, 23, 41:1, 9-13) Why didn’t He cause Pharaoh to have his dream sooner? (41:1) Why did God wait two whole years, allowing Joseph’s suffering to continue?

4. How did Joseph give glory to God for his abilities and witness to Pharaoh about the one true God? (41:15-16, 25,28,32,38-39). List some ways you can use your God-given talents and abilities to honor Him, to bring glory to Him, and to testify to others about Him. Why is it important for Christians, like Joseph, to have a good work ethic?

5. List the godly character traits exhibited by Joseph in this passage. Which Bible passages talk about these traits? Are any of these traits lacking in your life? Which of these traits do you think you are most spiritually mature in?

6. What can we learn about the nature and character of God from this passage? Which of His attributes are showcased? What can we learn about how God governs the affairs of men and works in the hearts of men?

7. Since this is aΒ descriptive passage (a narrative report of what happened) rather than aΒ prescriptive passage (instructions or commands), what can weΒ notΒ learn from this passage? For example: Does the fact that God spoke to three people through dreams in this passage mean that we should expect Him to speak to us through dreams today? Does the fact that Joseph became successful and powerful guarantee that God will make you successful and powerful? List several things we canΒ not learn from this passage along with the correctly handled Scriptures that would apply.


Homework

Have you ever been in a “two more years in prison” situation like Joseph was in which you went through prolonged suffering, injustice, or feeling abandoned? Why did God allow you to suffer? What does the Bible say about suffering? Looking back on your situation, what are some good things God brought out of it? How did He grow you spiritually during that time? Set aside some prayer time to thank God for bringing you through that suffering and for what He taught you and how He grew you during suffering. Ask God to give you the opportunity to comfort someone who’s suffering the way He comforted you.


Suggested Memory Verse

Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, β€œSince God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are.”
Genesis 41:39