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People's Dictionary of the Bible

Joseph

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Joseph (jô'zef), increase, 1. The elder of Jacob's two sons by Rachel, Genesis 37:3, and beloved by his father. The gift of the new robe, or coat of many colors, was perhaps intended to give him the rights of primogeniture, as the son of his first wife, in place of Reuben who had forfeited them. Genesis 35:22; 1 Chronicles 5:1. He was born in Mesopotamia. Genesis 30:22-24. By a wonderful providence of God he was raised from a prison to be the chief ruler of Egypt under Pharaoh. "The story of his father's fondness, of his protest against sin among his brothers, of their jealous hostility and his prophetic dreams, of his sale by his brethren to Midianites and by them to Potiphar in Egypt, of the divine favor on his pure and prudent life, his imprisonment for three to twelve years for virtue's sake, his wonderful exaltation to power and his wise use of it for the good of the nation, of his tender and reverent care of his father, his magnanimity to his brethren, and his faith in the future of God's chosen people, is one of the most pleasing and instructive in the Bible, and is related in language inimitably natural, simple, and touching. It is too beautiful for abridgment, and too familiar to need full rehearsal."—Hand. The history of Joseph is strikingly confirmed by the Egyptian monuments. Joseph married the princess Asenath, daughter of Potipherah, priest of On; and his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, Genesis 41:50, whom Jacob adopted. Genesis 48:5, became the heads of two of the twelve tribes of Israel. 2. The son of Heli and reputed father of Jesus Christ. He was a just man, and of the house and lineage of David. He lived at Nazareth in Galilee. He espoused Mary, the daughter and heir of his uncle Jacob, and before he took her home his wife received the angelic communication recorded in Matthew 1:20. When Jesus was twelve years old, Joseph took his mother and Jesus to keep the passover at Jerusalem, and when they returned to Nazareth he continued to act as a father to the child Jesus, and was reputed to be so indeed. But here our knowledge of Joseph ends. That he died before our Lord's crucifixion is indeed tolerably certain, by what is related, John 19:27; and, perhaps, Mark 6:3, may imply that he was then dead. But where, when, or how he died, we know not. 3. Joseph of Arimathæa, a rich and pious Israelite, probably a member of the Great Council or Sanhedrin. He is further characterized as "a good man and a just." Luke 23:50. We are told that he did not "consent to the counsel and deed" of his colleagues in the death of Jesus. On the evening of the crucifixion Joseph "went in boldly unto Pilate and craved the body of Jesus." Pilate consented. Joseph and Nicodemus then, having enfolded the sacred body in the linen shroud which Joseph had bought, placed it in a tomb hewn in a rock, in a garden belonging to Joseph, and close to the place of crucifixion. There is a tradition that he was one of the seventy disciples. 4. Joseph, called Barsabas, and surnamed Justus: one of the two persons chosen by the assembled church, Acts 1:23, as worthy to fill the place in the apostolic company from which Judas had fallen.


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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Joseph'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/rpd/j/joseph.html. 1893.

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