I recently read a book titled “Joseph- How God builds character .”A friend who is also in ministry wrote it several years ago. The book talks about the mind-blowing journey of Joseph, the son of Jacob and Rachel. He was not the only Joseph in the Bible to have a twist in fate happen in their life. Even Joseph, Jesus’ father, thought he was engaged to a virgin, only to find out that she was already pregnant. These stories made me wonder; how many times is Joseph mentioned in the Bible?
There are about ten to eleven Josephs in the Bible. The name appears around 228 times in the Bible. The Old Testament has several Josephs in 16 Books. The New Testament talks about Joseph of Arimathea, who had the body of Jesus buried with dignity in Mark 15:43. The father of Jesus, the son of Mattathias and the father of Judah are some of the characters named Joseph in the New Testaments.
Join me as we discover the Bible’s numerous characters named Joseph. We will also learn about their backgrounds. Keep reading for these and more interesting facts about the name Joseph.
What does the name Joseph mean in the Bible?
Joseph is a powerful name that has its origins in the Hebrew language. The literal meaning of the name is ‘he takes away”. When Rachel learned she had given birth to a boy, she praised the Lord. She uttered the words, “God has taken away my reproach.” She prayed aloud for God to add her another baby boy and named the boy Joseph. Some Christians take the name Joseph to mean “The Lord shall add.”
How many Josephs are in the Bible?
There were over 7 l Josephs mentioned in the Bible. The first is Joseph, the son of Israel, as written in Genesis 37:7. The other Joseph is Jesus’ earthly dad in the book of Matthew 13:55. In Numbers 13:7, we encounter another Joseph who was among the spies sent to analyze the land of Canaan. Another Joseph is in the book of Chronicles 5: 2, 9, where the Bible states that he was one of David’s musicians. The Book of Ezra 10:42 speaks of another Joseph who annulled his marriage to a gentile woman. In Nehemiah 12:14, there was also a chief priest whose name was Joseph. The book of Luke 3:24 contains a list of Jesus’ ancestors and one of them was Joseph, the son of Mattathias. Luke 3:30 briefly mentions Joseph, who was Judah’s father. Finally, Joseph of Arimathea was the man who gave his tomb for the burial of Jesus Christ in Mark 15:43. In the book of Acts, the Bible mentions two Josephs, one in Acts 1:23-25 and the other in Acts 4:36.
Who were the Josephs in the Bible?
Several men go by the name Joseph in the Bible, but only two have some details of their lives laid out in the Bible. These men are Joseph, the son of Jacob, and Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. Avid Bible readers are very familiar with the story of Old Testament Joseph. The great man saved the world from starvation through God’s guidance. Joseph was Rachel’s first son with Jacob after many years of praying for a child. By the time they had Joseph, Jacob was an old man. Since Rachel was his favorite of his two wives, Jacob loved Joseph more than he loved his other children, and it showed. This was the root cause of the enmity between Leah’s sons and Joseph.
The Bible tells us that Jacob was so fond of Joseph that he took the time to make the young a colorful coat. His brothers were so jealous that they sold him to random merchants who were headed o Egypt. The entire chapter of Genesis 37 recounts how Joseph’s brother plotted to kill him but instead sold him as a slave at 17 years. In Egypt, he ended up in jail for a crime he did not commit. Still proved to be useful to his masters even behind bars. Joseph rose in the ranks to become the second most powerful person after the Pharaoh. He came up with a plan to ensure the world does not stave due to the 7 years of famine.
The other noteworthy Joseph is in the New Testament as the father of Jesus Christ and Mary’s husband-to-be. Matthew 13:55 says that he earned his living as a carpenter. Joseph found himself in a complicated situation where the girl he wanted to marry turned up pregnant. Back then, a young woman had to be a virgin to find a decent man for marriage. For all intends and purposes, Mary was a virtuous young woman. That is why her pregnancy took Joseph by surprise. While Joseph was contemplating calling off the marriage, an angel appeared to him and talked him out of it. After this, Joseph took on the role of a father and protector for baby Jesus. Not much else is said about Joseph in the four Gospels.
10 Biblical references about Joseph
The Bible contains many references to Joseph. The following are some examples.
Four references of Joseph with the multi-colored coat
In Genesis 37:3-4, the Bible explains how much Jacob loved Joseph. He gifted his son a nice robe that triggered the jealousy of his brothers to no end. Joseph’s brothers were extremely mean to him. This scripture says that they constantly spoke unkind words to him.
Later, in Genesis 39:9, the Bible tells the story of how Joseph ended up in jail despite his innocence. Potiphar was Joseph’s boss at the time. Potiphar’s wife was attracted to Joseph, and she acted on it. She asked Joseph to be intimate with her, and he adamantly refused. Potiphar’s wife was falsely accused of rape.
The book of Joshua 24:32 speaks about the official burial of Joseph’s bones. Since Joshua was the one who made it into the Promised Land. He buried Joseph’s bones at Shechem, which was the burial ground that Jacob bought for his family.
Hebrews 11:22 is another scripture that recounts the story of Joseph in the New Testament. It specifically mentions the death of Joseph. Here we are reminded about the instructions Joseph gave the Israelites regarding the
Two references to Joseph, the father of Jesus
In the book of Matthew 1:19, scripture says that Joseph was faithful to the law even though he wanted to call off his engagement to Mary. You see, Joseph was a kind and honorable man. That is why God choose him to play the role of a father to baby Jesus.
In Matthew 13:55, Jesus was teaching in the synagogue, and his wisdom amazed the people there. So much so that they started asking how He got so wise and powerful. Some of the people spoke up and said that he was the son of the carpenter’s son. They also mentioned his biological brother, who were James, Joseph, and Simon.
Joseph of Arimathea
This man was a respected member of society and a member of the council. Mark 15:45 says that he believed in the coming of the Kingdom of God. This inspired him to approach Pontius Pilate and request to take the body of Christ. Joseph of Arimathea purchased a fine line cloth that he used to wrap the body of Christ. He then had Jesus buried in a stone tomb.
After the death of Judas Iscariot, the disciples wanted to bring in another man to take his place. The disciples proposed two men for this position, and Joseph Barsabbas was one of them. The other was Matthias, who became Judas’ replacement in Acts 1:23.
After Jesus ascended into heaven, his disciples began the work of spreading the gospel of good news. They needed many resources, and the believers of that time were happy to provide for them. According to Acts 4: 36-37, one of the believers was Joseph. His other name was Barnabas. He sold one of his pieces of land and gave the money to the apostles. He did that to support the early church.
How many times did Joseph cry in the Bible?
According to the Bible, Joseph cried 7 times. He cried when his brothers first arrive in Egypt, and he cries again upon seeing Benjamin. When Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, he weeps again. The moment Joseph saw Jacob after many years was quite emotional. He again cried when he heard of his father’s demise. He cried again with the people in Egypt as they mourned the death of Jacob.
Similarities between the two Josephs
The two significant Josephs in the Bible share one similarity; God chose them to carry out difficult missions. These were life-saving missions that changed the course of humanity. In the Old Testament, Joseph used his wisdom to help the world survive the scourge of famine. In the New Testament, Joseph helped to raise Jesus.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.