Old Testament Institute Lesson – Week 4

Religion 301 Old Testament Student Manual
Genesis through 2-Samuel

Here is the next entry in my series from the Old Testament Institute class that I’m teaching. These notes cover Genesis 12 – 23. I have decided not to include any pictures since I’m not sure of copyright issues with them.

To recap… I’m a Stake Institute Teacher. I teach a group of about a dozen YSA in my home on Wednesday evenings. It is a great calling! I decided I would post my notes for the classes. They are just that… notes. They are meant to help me direct the discussion and have references to pictures and quotes. I’ve included the quotes, but not the pictures.


  • SHOW SLIDE 2 about covenant people

As you begin to study the expansion of the covenant line, remember one thing. Sometimes we tend to oversimplify the concept of a covenant people and the heritage of certain groups of people. For example, we tend to think of the Arabs as descendants of Ishmael or Esau, the Jews as descendants of Judah, the American Indians and South Pacific Islanders as descendants of Laman, and so forth. In broad terms all of these statements are true, of course, but through centuries of intermarriage and conversion, the “pure blood lines” (an impossible term in reality) of the various ancestors have been vastly intermingled. Surely down through nearly four thousand years the descendants of Isaac have intermarried with the descendants of Ishmael and the other sons of Abraham. We know that after the ten tribes were taken into captivity the term Jew was used in a nationalistic sense (to mean a member of the kingdom of Judah) and not just in a tribal sense (to mean a descendant of Judah, son of Jacob). Thus, Lehi, who was of Manasseh (see Alma 10:3), and Ishmael, who was of Ephraim (see Erastus Snow, in Journal of Discourses, 23:184–85), were Jews, that is, were living in Judah…

The important thing is that being Israel, or a covenant person, involves faithfulness as well as blood lineage. Thus, as Nephi said, repentance and faith in the Holy One of Israel is what determines whether one is of the covenant (see 2 Nephi 30:2), a concept also taught by Paul (see Romans 2:28–29). In other words, while the blood lineage is significant, it can be overridden by one’s own faithfulness or lack of faithfulness.

Chapter 24

Lord blessed Abraham in all things

Isaac can’t marry a Canaanite

Go to Abraham’s homeland to find a wife

Servant pays for a wife for Isaac
The servant had faith. He presented a plan and prayed about it.

Rebekah was Isaac’s cousin

See JST Genesis 24: 16

Servant speaks to Rebekah


  • SHOW SLIDE 3 artwork of Rebekah at the well

How much can a camel drink? Rebekah was a willing worker!

Servant welcomed by family

Rebekah is given to Isaac

Rebekah chose to go

Isaac Loved Rebekah

Chapter 25

Abraham remarries

Abraham lived to be 175

Ismael had 12 sons

Isaac lived 137 years

Rebekah is barren for 20 years (Isaac was 40 in v20, 60 in v26)
Isaac prays, she conceives and gives birth to Esau and Jacob

Esau sells birthright to Jacob for pottage (lentil stew)

  • SHOW SLIDE 4 artwork of Jacob and Esau

This story is about Esau’s disregard for his birthright, not Jacob’s deceit

Chapter 26

The Abrahamic covenant continues through Isaac

Isaac lies about Rebekah being his sister, the king finds out, promises to leave them alone

Chapter 27

Isaac is going blind

Story of Jacob being blessed instead of Esau

  • SHOW SLIDE 5 artwork of LEGO Jacob and Isaac

Can someone really get a blessing if it was intended for someone else?
Was Jacob deceitful?
Priesthood keys can both bind and loose (see Matthew 16: 19). Isaac never revoked the blessing.

Chapter 28

Jacob not to marry a Canaanite

Abrahamic covenant continues with Jacob

Jacob has dream of ladder

  • READ SLIDE 6 quote from President Romney about working way up ladder
“When Jacob traveled from Beersheba toward Haran, he had a dream in which he saw himself on the earth at the foot of a ladder that reached to heaven where the Lord stood above it. He beheld angels ascending and descending thereon, and Jacob realized that the covenants he made with the Lord there were the rungs on the ladder that he himself would have to climb in order to obtain the promised blessings—blessings that would entitle him to enter heaven and associate with the Lord.
“Because he had met the Lord and entered into covenants with him there, Jacob considered the site so sacred that he named the place Bethel, a contraction of Beth-Elohim, which means literally ‘the House of the Lord.’ He said of it: ‘. . . this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’ (Gen. 28:17.)
“Jacob not only passed through the gate of heaven, but by living up to every covenant he also went all the way in. Of him and his forebears Abraham and Isaac, the Lord has said: ‘. . . because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.’ (D&C 132:37.)
“Temples are to us all what Bethel was to Jacob. Even more, they are also the gates to heaven for all of our unendowed kindred dead. We should all do our duty in bringing our loved ones through them.”
Marion G. Romney, “Temples—The Gates to Heaven,” Ensign, Mar. 1971, p. 16

Jesus himself appears and continues the covenant

Chapter 29

  • SHOW SLIDE 7 showing Jacob’s genealogy

Jacob meets Rachel

Says he’ll work 7 years to marry Rachel

Time flies… Jacob loved Rachel

Jacob didn’t know he had been with Leah?

Is given Leah

Is given Rachel

Leah has Rueben, Simeon, Levi and Judah

  • SHOW SLIDE 8 showing listing of children

Chapter 30

Jacob marries Bilhah

Jacob has 2 more children… Dan and Naphtali

Jacob marries Zilpah, has Gad and Asher

Mandrakes were plants that superstitiously supposed to excite and win love. It obviously did nothing here (see v 22)

Leah has another son Isaacher, then Zebulun, then Dinah

God opened her womb

Rachel has Joseph. He is son 11, child 12

Chapter 31

Angel called Jacob; Jacob didn’t say who is there. He said here am I
Story of Jacob leaving, Rachel taking the idols/tablets, Laban looking for them
Jacob and Laban covenant to be at peace
The heap of stones was called witness heap
The pillar was called watchtower

Chapter 32

Jacob literally wrestles with God?

  • SHOW SLIDE 9 with artwork of Jacob wrestling an angel
  • SHOW SLIDE 10 with quote about wrestling with being
“Who wrestled with Jacob on Mount Peniel? The scriptures say it was a man. The Bible interpreters say it was an angel. More than likely it was a messenger sent to Jacob to give him the blessing. To think he wrestled and held an angel who couldn’t get away, is out of the question. The term angel as used in the scriptures, at times, refers to messengers who are sent with some important instruction. Later in this chapter when Jacob said he had beheld the Lord, that did not have reference to his wrestling.”
Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:17

Jacob’s name changed to Israel

Chapter 33

Jacob and Esau talk about Jacob’s gifts

Chapter 34

Dinah is defiled
The brothers say they will live there if everyone is circumcised, but end up killing all of the males

Jacob is upset

Chapter 35

Name change reiterated

Covenant given again

Rachel has son, Jacob’s 12th, Benjamin

Reuben had sex with Bilhah
Reuben had the birthright, but lost it. Therefore it went to the firstborn of the next real wife (Rachel)

Chapter 36

Esau’s genealogy

Chapter 37

Starting the story of Joseph of Egypt


  • SHOW SLIDE 11 showing picture of Donny Osmond as Joseph

Coat of many colours
Ornate, distinctive, long tunic with sleeves

First dream… sheaves worship sheaf

Stars, sun, moon worship Joseph

Israel pondered over this dream

Conspiring to kill Joseph, decide to sell him

Shekels or pieces of silver
This was about 8 oz. or 230g total. In today’s money silver is about $35 per oz., so that would be $280

Chapter 38

Story of Judah
Married Shua, had Er, then Onan, then Shelah
Er married Tamar. He was evil, so he died
Onan was told by Judah to marry Tamar. Wouldn’t have children with her, so he died.
Shelah was too young
Judah has sex with Tamar but doesn’t know it

Perez and Zerah are born

Chapter 39

The captain of the guard was also the chief executioner

Though a servant, Joseph prospered

Joseph was blessed, and when put in charge of Potiphar’s house, it too was blessed.

Joseph was goodly person and well favoured
NIV – well-built and handsome
NAS – handsome in form and appearance
AMP – attractive person and fine looking

Story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife

  • SHOW SLIDE 12 artwork of Joseph resisting

If Potiphar was executioner, why wasn’t Joseph killed?

Chapter 40

Butler’s dream
Vine with 3 branches, lots of grapes, put juice in cup, in 3 days would be freed

Baker’s dream
Baked goods eaten by birds
Would be beheaded

Butler released, baker beheaded, butler forgot about Joseph

Chapter 41


  • SHOW SLIDE 13 showing artwork of Pharaoh’s dreams

Pharaoh has dreams of cows and corn

The magicians and wise men couldn’t interpret them

Baker remembers Joseph

Joseph called from jail. He was there for at least 2 years!

Joseph hears dreams and interprets them

Joseph suggests plan

Joseph put in charge of the plan

Joseph marries Asenath

Manasseh and Ephraim are born

What trust! “What he say to you, do”

Chapter 42

Jacob has 10 sons go to Egypt

Joseph recognizes them, but they don’t recognize him

Demands that the younger one comes

Joseph loads them up with grain

Jacob doesn’t want Benjamin to go

Chapter 43

They run out of food, have to return to Egypt

Nuts = pistachios

Provender – dry food, as hay or oats, for livestock or other domestic animals

Chapter 44

Benjamin is “caught” stealing, has to stay
Judah explains how Jacob might die after hearing this news

Chapter 45

Joseph reveals who he is

Joseph is a type of Christ

  • SHOW SLIDE 14 with listing of ways Joseph is a type of Christ
  1. Joseph was the favoured son of his father; so was Jesus (see Genesis 37:3; Matthew 3:17).
  2. Joseph was rejected by his brothers, the Israelites, as was Jesus (see Genesis 37:4; John 1:11; Isaiah 53:3; 1 Nephi 19:13–14).
  3. Joseph was sold by his brothers into the hands of the Gentiles, just as Jesus was (see Genesis 37:25–27; Matthew 20:19).
  4. Judah, the head of the tribe of Judah, proposed the sale of Joseph. Certain leaders of the Jews in Jesus’ day turned Jesus over to the Romans. Judas (the Greek spelling of Judah) was the one who actually sold Jesus. (See Genesis 37:26; Matthew 27:3.)
  5. Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver, the price of a slave his age. Christ was sold for thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave His age. (See Genesis 37:28; Matthew 27:3; Exodus 21:32; Leviticus 27:5.)
  6. In their very attempt to destroy Joseph, his brothers actually set up the conditions that would bring about their eventual temporal salvation—that is, Joseph, by virtue of being sold, would become their deliverer. Jesus, by His being given into the hands of the Gentiles, was crucified and completed the atoning sacrifice, becoming the Deliverer for all mankind.
  7. Joseph began his mission of preparing salvation for Israel at age thirty, just as Jesus began His ministry of preparing salvation for the world at age thirty (see Genesis 41:46; Luke 3:23).
  8. When Joseph was finally raised to his exalted position in Egypt, all bowed the knee to him. All will eventually bow the knee to Jesus. (See Genesis 41:43; D&C 88:104.)
  9. Joseph provided bread for Israel and saved them from death, all without cost. Jesus, the Bread of Life, did the same for all men. (See Genesis 42:35; John 6:48–57; 2 Nephi 9:50.)

They plan to bring Jacob back

Chapter 46

Jacob travels to Egypt

There are 67 people in the family who travelled; 70 people in family total

Israel/Jacob sees Joseph again

Chapter 47

Famine continues

Chapter 48

Ephraim gets first-born blessing, even though he is not first-born

Chapter 49

Israel leaves blessing on family

Reuben, Simeon, Levi are worried

Judah will be the leader

Judah would rule until Shiloh (Christ) comes

People persecuted Joseph, but he remained strong

The blessings of Joseph are greater than the blessings on his ancestors

Jacob dies

Chapter 50

They mourn for Jacob
Joseph asks permission of Pharaoh to bury Jacob. Pharaoh tells him to go

The brothers are afraid that after Jacob’s death that Joseph will exact revenge. Joseph doesn’t

“Am I in God’s place?”

Short Prophecy
2 Nephi 3 has a longer version of the prophecy that was on the brass plates
JST Genesis 50: 24-36 has 13 extra verses that aren’t in Old Testament

Joseph lives to be 110 years old


  • SHOW SLIDE 15 about what we learn from Joseph
“Joseph vividly demonstrated why he was favored of the Lord, or, as the scriptures said, why ‘the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man. . . .’ (Gen. 39.) His reliance was upon the Lord. His trust was in the Lord, and his allegiance ran to the Lord.
“I believe this is the greatest lesson that can be learned by the youth of Zion—to do the right thing because you love the Lord. It is so vitally important that, I feel, if you do anything in righteousness for any other reason than you love the Lord, you are wrong—at least you are on very shaky ground. And, somewhere your reasons for acting in righteousness will not be strong enough to see you through. You will give way to expediency, or peer group pressure, or honor, or fame, or applause, or the thrill of the moment, or some other worldly reason. Unless your motives are built upon the firm foundation of love of the Lord, you will not be able to stand.”
Hartman Rector, Jr., “Live above the Law to Be Free,” Ensign, Jan. 1973, p. 130

Published by Graham

Former YM President, EQ President, Bishop, and Stake Institute Teacher. Now back to being the YM President. Happily married to Lisa, with 3 beautiful children.

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