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1001 Stories Collection

The Story of Joseph

1001 The Storyof Joseph
Added on 29th September 2020

Religious story from The Old Testament


The story of Joseph, his father's favourite son, whose dreams do not endear him to his brothers.


Jacob (also called Israel) has twelve sons. Joseph is his favourite so he makes him a beautiful robe. His brothers are (not surprisingly!) jealous and Joseph makes them even angrier when he tells them about dreams where he rules over them. His brothers sell him into slavery and lie, telling Jacob that Joseph has died. Now a slave, anything could happen to Joseph in Egypt…

Why we chose it

The story of Joseph is one of the best known Old Testament stories.

Where it came from

This story is part of what Christians call the Old Testament and Jews call the Hebrew Bible. Genesis is the first book the ‘Torah’ (the first five books of the Bible). It begins with the creation of the world and follows the family of the first humans, Adam and Eve, and ends with Joseph’s story, establishing the Israelites in Egypt, setting the stage for Moses’ story and the Exodus.

Jews and Christians regard this to be ‘scripture’, a story that is revealed and inspired by God and therefore has a special importance with something to teach those who follow these religious traditions.

Where it went next

For Christians, Joseph is called an example of faith (Hebrews 11:22). The story has also been reproduced in different art forms including a television series Joseph in 1995 and an animation by DreamWorks Joseph: King of Dreams in 2000. Also, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice produced their long running musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1971). Interestingly, the Hebrew word for Joseph’s coat (ketonet passim) may either mean many-coloured, or just a long-sleeved coat.

Associated stories

Muslims consider Joseph to be an Islamic prophet. He is the only person to have an entire chapter of the Qur’an dedicated to him. There are certain differences between this and the Genesis account: for instance, when the brothers tell Jacob that Joseph has died he cries until he becomes blind. This blindness is only healed many years later when Joseph is reunited with his father.

Added on 29th September 2020

Religious story from The Old Testament