Joseph was an heir to the covenant God made with Abraham. The narrative in these chapters show how Joseph lived with integrity, even though he was punished for it. The Lord was with him in his trials.
Early Christians found parallels between the life of Joseph and the life of Christ. A table in this article points out fifty-six comparable events: Joseph and Jesus were shepherds, both were especially beloved by their fathers, both had their brothers or close ones seek to kill them, and so forth. Finding such parallels puts Christ at the heart of the Joseph story. This article also lays out a short chiastic message of Joseph’s life, centering on Joseph being exalted in Egypt.
“The Story of Judah and Tamar,” Ben Spackman, Religious Educator
The narrative in Genesis 38 is filled with contrast, irony, and wordplay. Though its insertion into the Joseph story seems random, the presence of several literary themes common to Genesis 37 and 39 (extending further into the Joseph story in some cases) demonstrates the deliberate and skillful placement of this episode. First is the theme of deception involving a piece of clothing. Also, Judah progresses from selfishness (offering tokens of himself as a pledge to pay a prostitute) to selflessness and redemption in the Joseph story (offering himself as a pledge for the good of his family, redeeming Benjamin and sparing Israel pain). In portraying this episode in Genesis 38, we also come to understand how Judah loses the birthright, which passes to Joseph.
“Quiet Slumber: Revelation through Dreams,” Ryan Jenkins, Religious Educator
God has communicated with people through dreams and visions, such as Joseph’s receiving dreams and interpreting others’ dreams. This article includes a list of dreams in the Old Testament, teachings of modern prophets regarding dreams, and a caution regarding interpreting dreams.
“Lessons from the Old Testament,” Ronald A. Rasband, Ensign March 2006
Joseph’s response to Potiphar’s wife is as powerful now as it was then: “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” After this experience, Joseph was falsely accused and thrown into prison. However, the Lord continued to bless him because of his righteousness.