Not Your Average Joe

One of the most thrilling historical accounts, with so good a plot not even Hollywood could match it, is the tale of Joseph. With its totally unexpected twists and turns, it is a real page turner. His life is displayed in such a way to us, that it seems surreal. But it actually happened, which is really the most interesting part of the entire record. Joseph has three character traits that distinguish him from all the rest; his response to temptation, his leadership skills, and his ability to forgive. These show how Joseph became the man he was towards the end of the biblical book of Genesis.

To begin, Joseph demonstrates his restraint from caving to temptations. After being a selfish and spoiled young man, God teaches him humility by sending him off to Egypt. There, he is employed by an officer of Pharaoh named Potiphar. At this time Joseph was given charge over everything his master owned, with the exception of his wife. Now, since Joseph was considerably handsome, Potiphar’s wife began to lust after him, and repeatedly asked him to lie with her, which he promptly refused, time after time. This shows his control of his temptations, although, Potiphar’s wife used trickery to land him in jail. But, God was still at work in Joseph’s life.

Another attribute of Joseph that shines through is his leadership ability. Time and time again, Joseph shows us and the people of his day, that he could be trusted with being vizier to Pharaoh. But his skills first begin to show when he is working at Potiphar’s house. Potiphar entrusted all of his possessions (except for his wife). But, even though Joseph was banished from the house, he still showed a knack for leadership in the jail. The jailer gave Joseph the privilege to rule over the prisoners and make sure they did as they were instructed. Still again he showed his skill for taking charge when he formulated a plan for the seven-year famine in Egypt. As it is easy to see, Joseph often was able to display his leadership skill.

The final striking aspect of Joseph’s character, is his ability to forgive. At first, Joseph’s life seemed grim. His brothers threw him into a cistern and sold him to traders. After that, he served Potiphar, the jailer, and then Pharaoh himself. So, when his brothers came crawling back for sustenance, Joseph deceived them a little but, but he did not feel ill toward his brothers, nonetheless. After he reveals himself to them, he forgives them. On another occasion, after Jacob’s death, he forgives his brothers again, consoling them when they believe he might turn on them in revenge. However, Joseph seems to have no regrets, as he says, “. . . ‘Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.’” And thus, Joseph can be a great example to us, in his willingness to forgive.

Through the trials and tribulations in his life, Joseph displayed significant character traits, from the time he reached Egypt, until his death there nearly a century later. The three most obvious attributes of Joseph revealed in Genesis are the way he handled temptations, the way he was able to take charge, and lastly, his way of forgiving people who have wronged him. In Joseph’s amazing life, we can all take a least one aspect from Joseph’s life and apply it to ourselves. Joseph is certainly one great role-model for believers in the gospel of Christ, and we should all imitate him in one way or another.


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