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Relationship to Genesis. The relationship of Chapters 36-50 to the rest of Genesis is discussed at Genesis.
Story. Chapters 36-50 consist of the Joseph cycle, the last of the four major sections of Genesis. Chapters 36-50 tell how Joseph forgives and cares for his unworthy brothers, thus creating the House of his father Israel. This cycle of stories consists of four major sections:
- Chapter 36: Descendants of Esau. A genealogical list of Esau's descendants.
- Chapter 37-41a: Joseph's worthiness and suffering. Joseph has two dreams that his brothers will serve him, and his brothers plot to be rid of him. Judah is seduced by Tamar, but Joseph refuses Potiphar's wife. While imprisoned, Joseph interprets two dreams for Pharoah's chief butler and baker. Two years later Joseph interprets two dreams for Pharoah and is elevated to be the second ruler in Egypt.
- Chapter 41b-47a: Joseph saves House of Israel. Joseph prepares Egypt against the seven years of drought. Joseph's brothers travel to Egypt to buy grain. Joseph hides his cup in Benjamin's sack, his brothers are thus tricked into promising to be his servants, and he then reveals himself to his brothers. The Egyptians are impoverished, selling all that they possess and even themselves to Pharoah for grain. In contrast, the House of Israel is given the best of Egypt's resources.
- Chapters 47b-50: Blessings and burials. Jacob blesses his own sons and the two sons of Joseph. Jacob then dies and is buried in Canaan. Joseph's brothers fear retribution and again promise to be his servants.
Outline. An outline of the complete book of Genesis, including Chapters 36-50, is found at Genesis: Outline and page map.
Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapters 36-50 include:
- Forgiveness and Mercy.
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Outline and page map
This section contains an outline for Genesis 36-50. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of the text. Click the "edit" link to edit or add content to this section. →
- genealogical lists (36:1-43)
• Book 12: "These are the generations of Jacob ..." (37:2)
- A. Joseph's two dreams that brothers will serve him (37:1-11)
- A'. Brothers' plans to get rid of Joseph (37:12-36)
- D. Pharaoh prepares for the famine (41:46-57)
- D'. Pharaoh profits from the famine and Egyptians impverished (47:13-26)
- a. Jacob desires to be buried in Canaan (47:27-31)
- a. Jacob desires to be buried in Canaan (49:29-32)
- a. Jacob is buried in Canaan (50:1-14)
- c. brothers fear retribution, again agree to serve Joseph (50:15-21)
- a. Joseph desires to be buried in Canaan and dies (50:22-26)
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Prompts for life application
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Prompts for further study
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This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the "edit" link to edit or add content to this section. →
- LDS Institute Old Testament Student Manual, Vol. 1 (PDF version): Chapter 8/28: Gen 37-50. Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2003.
Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.