Josephs Family

By Michael English

Summary:             In the book of Genesis we read that Josephs family was dysfunctional.  This sketch tries to bring out the communication problems, the complexity of the relationships, and how the relationships worked, or rather, didnt.

Bible Reference:    Genesis 37:1-35

Characters:           Narrator, Joseph, Jacob, Dinah, Zilpah, Bilhah, Leah, Judah, Reuben.  We co-opted nine other brothers from the audience during the performance.

Props:                        Walking stick, long white beard, hairbrush, Coat of Many Colours, Playstation box.

Setting:                 Somewhere in Palestine during the Second Millenium BC.  We used an empty stage.  Josephs first line links to an earlier Bible Reading.  If you want to use the sketch without the Bible Reading, you will need to change this line.  Also the narrator needs to have little hair&.

Narrator:        Once upon a time there was a teenager named Joseph.


(Joseph a fine young arrogant and totally annoying teenager enters).


Joseph:           Hi.  My name's Joseph.  Did you hear that reading about me?  Cool huh?

                        I've been told to tell you about my family.  I don't know why.  There's nothing special about them. 


Narrator:        Get on with it.


Joseph:           Okay, keep your hair on.  Oh, I see you haven't.  Well there's my father...


(Jacob enters.  He shuffles along nearly bent double.  He carries a walking stick - more of a weapon than a mobility aid.  He has an impressive long white beard that touches the floor.)


Jacob:             Ah.  There you are young fella me lad.  Where have you been?  I've been looking for you everywhere.


Joseph            (to audience rather than his father) My father is incredibly old.  I think he went mad when my mother died.  That's my mother you understand not my brothers mothers who are all still alive.  I told you my family was complex.  Complex and exasperating.


(Jacob produces the "coat of many colours" and puts it around Joseph's shoulders.  The coat is truly horrible.)


Jacob:             There we are.  What a coat eh?  There's nothing else like it.  I'd have given my right arm for a coat like that when I was a lad.


Joseph:           I'll say one thing for my father, he is generous.  But his fashion sense is plain deranged.  (Joseph turns to his father and speaks loudly)  IT SHOULD BE BLACK!


Jacob:             What did you say?  Speak up can't you.  Don't mumble.


Joseph:           (Turns back to the audience)  So there's my father.  I've got a sister Dinah who spends her time hanging out with the village boys.


Dinah:             Joseph have you been using my hair brush again?


(Joseph gives her the hair brush)


Dinah:             And if you see father, tell him I'm all out of Egyptian eye shadow.


Joseph:           Oh yeah, and I've got three step mothers.  Three! Can you believe it?


(Leah, Bilhah and Zilpah enter.  They are cross.)


Zilpah:            Joseph!  Your tent is a total disgrace!


Bilhah:            You lazy good for nothing.  Why aren't you digging the new toilet?


Leah:              And why haven't you taken your brothers their midday meal?  It's nearly sunset!


Joseph:           I really miss my mum. (pause)


Joseph:           Ten of my brothers work with the sheep.  They are all older than me.  Some are really ancient - nearly thirty.  Let's see there's Reuben and Judah...


(Reuben and Judah enter)


Reuben:          Come on Judah, here's that little toe-rag Joseph.  What happened to our lunch?


Judah:             Hey Reuben -  look at that thing he's wearing...


(Dramatic pause!)


Joseph:           (to Judah)  What this?  It's a present from our venerable father.


Reuben:          But father never gives us nuttin'.  What wouldn't I give for a coat like that?


Joseph:           See what I mean?  That's what being thirty does for you.  It makes you colour blind.  Now where was I?  Oh yes.  Reuben, Judah...  and nine others...


Narrator:        We need 9 volunteers for Joseph's other brothers.


(The narrator selects volunteers.  The youngest is selected as Benjamin.)


Narrator:        ....Joseph's younger brother was called Benjamin.


Joseph:           Oh yes there's my younger brother Benjamin.  He hangs about at camp all day getting underfoot.  Father spoils him a lot.


Jacob:             Here young Benjamin.  How would you like a new play station?


(The family all begin talking to each other at once)


Joseph:           (loudly) You see.  A dysfunctional family if ever there was one.  (Joseph turns to the family).  I had a dream.


(The noise stops suddenly).


Joseph:           (to his family) I dreamed that I saw the sun, moon and eleven stars bowing down to me.  That's you lot just in case you couldnt work it out.


Jacob:             What did he say?  Stop mumbling boy!


Reuben:          Little pip-squeak.  If you think I'm going to bow down to you you've got another thing coming.


Judah:             And if I ever see you in the fields again, it's Midianite Trader time.


Joseph:           (to the audience)  Judah would never do it of course.  Father would throw a wobbler.  Judah's bluffing...  At least I think he's bluffing.



This script is Copyright 2003 Michael English, All Saints Milton. Permission is given to use this drama in non-profit making church events provided the source is acknowledged. Some editing may be required to suit local conditions. Please let us know if you have any comments.

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