Joseph to me is an odd story, in part because everyone makes tons and tons of crafts about Joseph’s coat, but to me the focus of the story isn’t Joseph’s coat. That’s why this story makes such a great Sunday School lesson, because there are so many lessons you can pull out of this story. This story is coming right after Jacob having a few too many wives and a whole lot of kids.
Update: I’ve gotten a few disagreements about my thoughts on this story, so I want to add a few things before I get into the meat of the story:
- The whole arc of Joseph’s story is about God’s providence and how God uses the actions of sinful man to achieve HIS plans. But if there was only one lesson from each Bible story I could read the Bible once and be done.
- There are lessons for us to learn from each person’s actions and attitudes, and they are almost all negative examples.
What is the story of Joseph’s Coat?
It’s the brothers, and a know-it-all teenage boy. (yes, God gave Joseph the visions, and yes he may not have meant to appear as a know-it-all, but he still lacked wisdom in his statements)
It’s Joseph telling his brothers about his dreams, and telling them “I dreamed you all bowed down to me.” What older brother wants to hear that? Especially since most of his brothers were grown men with families of their own, and Joseph was just a child in their eyes.
It’s about 10 brothers who hate their younger brother so much, they plot to kill him. But, change their mind at the last minute and sell him into slavery. Then LIE to their father for 20 years about this. Can you imagine? Spending 20 years looking at your broken father and not telling the truth? How hard did their hearts have to be?
It’s about a Dad who spent his whole life seeing favoritism tear his family apart and being exiled from his family because of it. Only to repeat the cycle with his own family. (I am going to stand by my opinion that Jacob’s parenting decisions contributed to the decisions his sons made. In ancient times the oldest son was supposed to be the favored son, but it was not so in this family.)
So, now you know where I am on this story, the threads I see as important. Let’s get into the activities we did for Joseph’s coat.
First for a fun active game we tried to drop Joseph into the well. We did it at the super easy height of as tall as your arm, but you could obviously make it harder by dropping him in from on top of a chair. It took everyone several tries and there were lots of giggles. This is vaguely based off of Bible Class Creations Joseph in the Well post.
Then we played a couple of rounds of “Poor Kitty,” and “Two truths and a lie,” to think about what the brothers went through. Think about it, they had to keep a straight face when I’m betting they wanted to laugh at the “joke” they were pulling (hence the playing poor kitty). Then they had to tell a convincing enough lie to fool Jacob (who is himself an impressive trickster).
We did a lot of talking about what it was like to be Jacob and the brothers, and about the problems lying creates, and the problems everyone caused in the decisions they made.
More Josephs’ Coat activities
To continue Joseph’s story, the next part is: Joseph in jail.