Joseph In Prison Lesson 4

A Thankful Heart Series

Joseph’s Thankfulness (In Prison) Lesson 4

(C) Jeanne McIntosh October 2011 All rights reserved 

Warm up: Say: Pass out either a ball of yarn or a roll of toilet paper. Have each child take the yarn and wrap around their arm or hand and give to the next person to do the same. Continue until all kids are tied together with the yarn or toilet paper (whichever you prefer). Say: We are going to hear a story today about a man who was tied up in prison over a lie that someone told about him. He did not go voluntarily, but was placed there bound up behind bars unable to go where he wanted to any longer. In the midst of all this, Joseph had a heart of praise toward God.

Read the Memory Verse: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” Psalm 100: 4 

Teacher Scripture Reading: Genesis Chapters 39-47

Say: Joseph was treated much worse by his own brothers, yet he never failed to give God thanks by the attitudes he showed toward those who treated him mean. God was good to Joseph through all these bad circumstances. Let us say the verse all together, again. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 100: 4 


Bible Sermon Based on Genesis 39-47 (summary)

After Joseph had been sold by his brothers and taken into Egypt, he was sold to a man named Potiphar. Joseph did such a good job working that Potiphar made him charge of the whole estate. He managed the house very well.


One day, Potophar’s wife told a lie on Joseph that made Potiphar so angry he had him placed in jail. Joseph had done nothing wrong, but when someone tells a lie on you, it can get you into BIG trouble. It was not fair at all, but Joseph had a good attitude about it. He was so helpful and courteous in the prison that the guard put him in charge over all the other prisoners.


Some time later, Joseph came upon two friends he had made while serving his time in the prison. They were the Butler and the Baker. These men used to serve the King Pharaoh. He noticed that they looked downcast (sad), so Joseph stopped by to ask them what the problem was. The both told Joseph they each had a strange dream and did not know what they meant. “Tell me you dreams, and God will give me an answer to what they mean,” Joseph told them.


The Butler dreamed about a vine and three branches which blossomed cluster of grapes. Then, he dreamed he squeezed the grapes giving the King some juice. Joseph told him that in three days he would get out of prison and go back to work for King Pharaoh. Joseph then begged the Butler to please tell the king that he was in prison, and did not deserve to be there.


The Baker was so happy to hear the Butler’s good news that he couldn’t wait to tell Joseph his dream. He told Joseph that he dreamed he had three baskets on his head, and some birds came to eat the bread that was in the baskets. Joseph told him that in three days the king would take him out of prison and he would die. Sure enough both dreams happened just as Joseph told them it would. However, the Butler forgot all about Joseph and did not tell the King about him in the prison.

A couple years later, King Pharaoh had a dream. It was a crazy dream and no one could tell him the meaning of it. Pharaoh was getting upset that no one could tell him what his dream meant. The butler then remembered Joseph, and proceeded to tell the king all about him, and how he interrupted their dreams and how they both came true. The King called for Joseph to come before him from the prison.

When Joseph went before Pharaoh (after cleaning up and getting on some new clothes), he asked the king to tell him the dream.  Pharaoh told Joseph that he dreamed there were seven skinny cows that ate up seven fat cows. Then, he once again he dreamed that there were seven thin ears of corn that ate up seven bigger ears of corn.

God told Joseph what the dreams meant. “King Pharaoh, God has given you the same dream two times, because both dreams mean the same thing. There will be seven years of plenty food in the land, following seven years of famine in the land.”

“What am I to do in preparation of this?” Pharaoh asked him. Joseph responded, “Look for a wise person to prepare for this famine. Stock up the food during your time of plenty placing it in large storage houses. When the seven bad years come, you will have plenty food to feed everyone and no one will starve.”

The king said, "You are the man to do this, Joseph." He made ruler next to him over the whole country and gave him nice clothes along with his signet ring to wear. 

Joseph was thirty years old when he went to work for Pharaoh the king of Egypt. Joseph was 30 years old when he began this work for Pharaoh. During this time of preparation for the famine that was soon coming, Pharaoh gave him a wife. Joseph and his wife had two baby boys. 

Just as God told Joseph, there were seven good years of plenty. After these years had passed, sure enough, there came seven years of famine. It became terrible all over the land and hungry people came from all over to buy food from Joseph. He had plenty, because God had given him wisdom in how to prepare for this.

Joseph's father, Jacob, heard word of all the food in Egypt and sent his sons down to buy food in Egypt as well. They did not know how important their brother was. They did not even know him when they saw him all dressed up like a royal king. Just as Joseph’s dream years ago, the brothers all bowed to Joseph when they saw him. They told him they came down to Egypt for food for the family. Joseph was kind to his brothers and gave them food. They still did not know who he was and returned home to take their father all the food they purchased in Egypt.

All the time while Joseph was treated so mean by his own brothers, sold as a slave, lied about by Potiphar’s wife, and put in prison, God know the whole picture. God had a special plan for Joseph and this was to save his family from starvation. God is so good even when we do not understand why we are treated wrong by others at times.

Eventually his whole family came to live in Egypt, and Joseph took very good care of them.

When Joseph’s father found out that his son, Joseph he was still alive and not killed after all by some animal in the field, his heart was revived. He was so happy he could hardly contain himself. He found it difficult to actually believe the news, however, his sons finally convinced their father it was true – Joseph was alive and doing very well. He was down in Egypt.

Joseph sent his own personal chariot to get his father and bring him to Egypt in order that he could care for him. When Joseph actually after so many years, he hugged him and a cried and cried. Jacob was old and said, Now that I have seen my dear son, I can die.

Pharaoh was also very good to the whole family. He gave them the land of Goshen to raise cattle. God was good to them all. Joseph forgave his brothers for selling him to some strangers and told them that what they meant for evil, God meant it for their own good.

Sometimes, boys and girls there may be those at school who tell lies on you or treat you mean. But remember, to be like Joseph. Treat them kindly anyhow. God is watching and he will take care of you – you can be sure of that.









Joseph’s Thankfulness

Treasures from the Word



Teaching the Memory Verse: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” Psalm 100: 4  (Write the verse on the board)

Teacher: Worksheets are provided for extra activity. You can do these together, allow the kids to do alone, or let them work with a partner. Some children will need help with spelling words. You may want to write some suggestions on the board for them. Use your own discretion on how much help to give them.

  1. Distribute bibles for kids if they can read. Open bibles together helping them find the correct page number.
  2. Read the memory verse together.
  3. Ask if anyone would be willing to read the verse with a friend together.
  4. Activity. Ask them to stand and say the verse for each thing that applies to them: “Stand and say the verse if you ate breakfast this morning (after each time tell them ‘you may sit down’); stand and say the verse if you helped with the dishes this week (sit down); stand and say the verse if you have a birthday this month (sit down); stand and say the verse if you have a dog or cat (sit down); stand and say the verse if you like pizza (sit down); stand and say the verse if you did you homework all last week (sit down); stand and say the verse if you like you have a best friend; if you like the color green (you many sit down).”
  5.  (Try to refrain from reading, but simply talk to the kids.) Say: God is good. Things happened in the life of Joseph that he did not understand at the time he was going through different painful situations. God knew the whole time what was going on, and had a plan for Joseph. He made him ruler over the land and used him to save his whole family from starvation. He has a plan for each one of you here today. If you will obey God, read your Bible, and pray every day, God will help you see his plan for your life. He only shows us little pieces at a time. We could not handle it if God told us the whole story. If we will be forgiving like Joseph and love our enemies, God will help us to be brave. Pray together with the kids and ask God to help them be kind and forgiving towards others, and to spend time with him each day reading the bible and praying.
  6. Pass out worksheets - one at a time. Do these together. Write the answers on the board for young children. Help them as needed according to their ages and ability.
  7. Joseph in Prison coloring sheet -





1.  OSPJEH  _______________ Hint: Who is the story about today?

2.  ALJI __________________ Hint: Joseph was put here.

3.  RADEM __________________ Hint: The butler and baker did this.

4.  UELRR __________________ Hint: Pharaoh made Joseph this

5.  TFHARE ________________ Hint: This man was so happy to hear Joseph was alive.


          Draw a picture of Joseph in prison.









Think of something about the story today that begin with the first letter of each line below and write it on the lines provided.


O ___________________________________________

S ___________________________________________

E ____________________________________________

P ____________________________________________



P _____________________________________________


I ______________________________________________

S ______________________________________________

O ______________________________________________

N _____________________________________________

Joseph’s Thankfulness - Circle the Best Answer

1.  Joseph was sold to a man name?

Jack               Jenny                      Potiphar                King


2.  Joseph was sent to prison because someone told a____ on him?

Truth              lie                           story                        poem


3.  The butler and baker each had a____________?

Popsicle                 cold                problem                  Dream


4.  King Pharaoh had a dream that meant there would be a _________?

Famine                    party               storm                      meeting


5.  Joseph was made _________ over all the country?

King                        ruler               slave                   important


6.  Joseph’s family came to buy __________?      

Pizza                      supplies           food                        ice cream

Sequence Cards

                                Color then cut out. Paste in correct order on one sheet of colored cardstock.

      The Butler and Baker each dreamed a dream.









                       Joseph is sent to prison

   Joseph is made ruler of ALL the land next to    Pharaoh.











         Joseph went to live at Potiphar’s house






Fold into a book and cut across top line in order to open the book. Kids draw a sequence of pictures of the story of Joseph today.






Joseph          Goes to Prison




Cast: Jamie and Tammy are teens (dressed in long colorful skirts, white blouses, and solid color scarves over their hair, and brown sandals). Joseph is a teenager (wears long robe with tie around waist and band around his head, and brown sandals). Butler and Baker (wear special hats. The butler can wear a chef hat and white apron). Suggestions: #NB8499 $3.50 Chef Hat and Baker Hat NB 7015 $4.45.

Introduction: Joseph is purchased by a man named Potiphar who treats him kindly. Joseph is soon placed in prison due to a lie that Potiphar’s wife told on him. Once again, Joseph is held captive against his will when he had done no wrong. He interprets some dreams hoping to get out of prison to be forgotten.

Props: Blocks for Joseph to stand on at auction, money bag, green scarf, rope




Scene 1: Joseph with his hands tied in front of him head hanging down is being auctioned to the highest bidder.

Auctioneer: Who will give twenty five dollars for this nice looking young man? Strong young man with great muscles who can do two days work on one. Twenty five dollars is all we are asking. Twenty five, twenty five, going once, going twice.

Bidder: 25.00

Auctioneer: Now we have twenty five dollars. Who will give thirty? Thirty dollars for this nice looking young man who is strong with great muscles and can do two days work in one. Thirty once, thirty twice…..

Bidder: 50.00

Auctioneer: Sold to the gentlemen for 50.00 (Potiphar submits a bag of money and commands the ropes to be taken off).

Potiphar: (Merchant takes off ropes) We will get you some nice clothes and a bath, and make sure you are fed all that you want to eat. You will get to rest off your feet and ride in my carriage. I will take good care of you for I have good plans for you. Come with me young man. (All exit)

Scene 2

Tammy: You really look great in the yellow scarf. The color is growing on me every time I see you.

Jamie: (Picks up book and opens) I love it!

Tammy: Did Joseph make it ok on that trip?

Jamie: Let’s see here. They finally arrived at their destination – Egypt. The merchants took Joseph to an auction block and placed him there to be sold to the highest bidder.

Tammy: How could they do something like that? He was a free man.

Jamie:  Joseph wanted to cry out, but knew no one would listen; and oh well, maybe, he could learn something from all this. A man by the name of Potiphar purchased him to be his slave. He was a kind man, and gave him whatever he needed. He gave him some new clothes, a good dinner, and a bath –which he greatly needed. It felt so good – but it was not home. How Joseph missed his father. He often wondered what was he thinking all this time? Would he be worried?

Tammy: I bet he was. My dad would not sleep all night. He would send my big dog, Sam after them all right.

Jamie: But Joseph did not have a watchdog, Sam.

Jamie: He worked for a long time for Potiphar who was always kind and provided for all his needs. Joseph talked allot to God during this time and thanked him for giving him such a kind man as Potiphar. He learned many new things and was promoted to a higher position in the home. Potiphar trusted him so he made him ruler over his whole household.

Tammy: That was pretty cool!

Jamie: One day while Potiphar was gone for the day, His wife came in and started talking kind of too friendly with Joseph. She kept trying to get him to notice her. Joseph did not like that kind of attention. He decided to go outside and find something else to do. When he did this, she got mad at him and went and told Potiphar that Joseph was treating her in a wrong manner.

Tammy: That was some big lie! Mom would ground me for a week if she caught me in a lie.

Jamie: Potiphar believed his wife, and he got very angry at Joseph. He told him that since he could not be trusted anymore that he would have to be sent to prison.

Tammy: Why did God allow Joseph to go to prison for a lie that someone had told on me. He just went right back into more trouble.

Jamie: I guess God had a bigger plan for Joseph. Life does not always seem fair – does it? So Joseph thought he may as well make the best of it for he was there to stay for a while.

Tammy: I wouldn’t like Potiphar’s wife her for a friend.

Jamie: I don’t think I would either. I do have a nice neighbor, Mrs. Smith who likes me to water her plants in the summer. She gives me lemonade and chocolate chip cookies when I am done.

Tammy: She is nice, isn’t she? But you know her better than I do. So what happened in the prison?

Jamie: The prison was smelly, cold, damp and full of many people who were there for various reasons. Joseph felt like he did not belong in such a place as this. Maybe, if he could find some work to do to keep himself busy time would go faster. He started talking with the guards and prisoners and made friends among them.

Tammy: Maybe it was not be such a bad place after all.

Jamie: The guards gave him some work to do, and he was kept rather busy. During all this time, he continued talking to God. God was the only one who could help him in this situation and Joseph knew he must trust in Him. Then something happened one morning that was very strange.

Tammy: What was so strange about it?

Jamie: Joseph heard about some dreams from a butler and baker, some of his friends. They had dreamed some dreams and were worried about it. When Joseph told them what the dreams meant it actually came true.

Tammy: Wow!

Jamie: God helped him eventually get out of prison and he helped a lot of people. Joseph did not hold any grudges against anyone. He was kind and always forgave those who treated him bad.

Tammy: I think God would like us to be that way, too. Don’t you?

Jamie: Sure, remember the Golden Rule.

Both Girls:  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. What a good rule!

© Jeanne McIntosh 2010 All rights reserved. (SKIT)


NOTE: See The Thankful Series Overview for ideas for music, snacks, and crafts.


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