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During Joseph’s time in Egypt, the famine was so long that Joseph asked his father Israel (who used to be named Jacob) to come to Egypt. So Israel and Joseph’s 11 brothers — Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher — came to live in Egypt. They brought their wives, children and all their stuff with them.
The Pharaoh in Egypt really liked Joseph because of all the good things he had done. So Pharaoh told Joseph that he could give the very best land in Egypt to his father, brothers and their families. Joseph did that. He made sure all the children of Israel had land and plenty of food. They started to prosper and have more and more and more land and children.
One day Israel said to his son Joseph, “When I die, please don’t bury me in Egypt. Carry me out of Egypt and bury me where my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, are buried.”
“I will,” Joseph promised.
Then Israel began to worship God as he leaned on the top of his staff (he still needed a staff to lean on because of the time he wrestled with God, and God — TOUCH! — made his hip hurt).
In Faith and Trust of all God had promised, Israel reminded Joseph, “I am about to die, but God will be with you and take you back to the land He promised to Abraham and Isaac.”
Then Israel called all his sons together and blessed them. Soon after that, Israel died, and they buried him just the way Joseph promised they would.
Later, in Faith and Trust of all God had promised, Joseph said to his brothers, “Now I am about to die. But God will be with you and take you back to the land He promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. When that happens, please carry my bones with you.”
After Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, the Israelites multiplied. There were more of them, and then more and more of them, and then more and more and more! Egypt was filled with them.
Then a new Pharaoh came to power in Egypt. He had never known Joseph or anything about the helpful things Joseph had done for Egypt during the famine.
“This is a problem,” the new Pharaoh said to the other Egyptians, “The Israelites have become way too many people. We have to do something, because if they ever decide to fight us, they would WIN.”
So the Egyptians made the children of Israel become slaves. They forced them to work too hard, making bricks and doing all kinds of work in the fields.
But, the Egyptians’ plan didn’t work. The children of Israel were not becoming fewer and weaker. God was making the opposite happen! They were multiplying and all this work was making them stronger.
Even though they had to work too much and too hard and were treated too badly, God took care of Israel’s children. Eleven brothers and their families had come to Egypt at first, but now they had grown into millions of people.