Joseph was the eleventh son of Jacob and the first born to Rachel, who had been barren through the years. The favorite of his father, the preferential treatment he received angered his ten older brothers. Joseph himself didn't endear himself to them too much by sharing his dreams, the interpretation of which was quite offensive.
Joseph had a dream and when he told it to his brothers they hated him all the more. He said to them, "Listen to this dream I had. We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it." (Genesis 37:5-7)
When he was about seventeen years old, Jacob sent Joseph to find out the whereabouts of his brothers who had gone to graze their flocks near Shechem. As he approached them, his brothers plotted to kill him, and would have done so were it not for the intervention of Reuben, the eldest brother. They ultimately sold him to a band of Ishmaelite merchants for twenty shekels. These merchants, in turn, sold him as a slave to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard.
His diligence while working for Potiphar resulted in Joseph's being made overseer of Potiphar's house. A few months later, however, his rebuffal of the sexual advances of Potiphar's wife caused her to level false charges against him. An enraged Potiphar had him thrown behind bars. In prison, Joseph interpreted the dreams of a butler and a baker; dreams that eventually came true.
A few months later, when Pharoah had dreams that his advisors could not interpret, the butler (since released) remembered Joseph and suggested he might be of some assistance. Pharoah had dreamed that seven scrawny cows ate up seven fat cows and seven withered heads of grain swallowed up seven full heads of grain. Joseph interpreted this to mean that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine, and suggested that Pharoah collect all the food in the good years and store them up as reserves to be used in the time of famine. Impressed with his wisdom, Pharoah set him over all the land of Egypt.
"You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you." (Genesis 41:40)
As Joseph had interpreted, seven years of plenty came, during which he stored up great abundance of corn in granaries built for the purpose. During this time, Joseph married Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On, and had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. Then the seven years of famine began and realizing that the only grain to be found was in Egypt, many people came there from other countries to procure it. Among them were Joseph's brothers who came to see him.
While Joseph immediately recognized them, his brothers failed to know that the man who stood before them was their kid brother. After some stragetic tactics targeted at discovering if the years had softened the hearts of his brothers, Joseph finally revealed his identity in a tearful reunion. This very interesting story culminates with Jacob and his family migrating en masse to the land of Egypt and settling in the land of Goshen where they would remain, eventually as slaves, for the next 400 years until the Exodus.
Joseph died at age 110. His body was embalmed in Egypt and his bones returned to Canaan in the Exodus.