Joseph is an English form of the Hebrew name Yoseph.
In the Old Testament, Joseph is the name borne by the 11th son of Jacob's 12 sons. He is Jacob's favorite child because he is Rachel's child and because he is kind, thoughtful and good. As a special mark of his love, Jacob gifts Joseph a beautiful robe or coat of many colors, that is long with wide sleeves. This favoritism, makes his brothers jealous of him.
At 17, Joseph has two dreams which imply that the family would be bowing down to him. "Who do you think you are?" the brothers say. "Do you think that you are better than all of us? Do you think that we would ever bow down to you?" This further angers his brothers.
One day, at his father's request, Joseph goes to check on his older brothers in the fields. When they see him in the distance they plot to kill him. His brother Reuben, convinces the others to throw him in an empty well instead, thinking that he would eventually rescue Joseph from the well. But while Reuben is away, the brothers decide to sell Joseph into slavery, to a group of passing traders. The brothers make up a story to tell their father who then mourns the death of his son Joseph.
In Egypt, Joseph is put into bondage. He soon earns the favor of the Pharoah, when he interprets one of the Pharoah's dreams.
After Pharaoh tells him his dream, Joseph replies "God is warning you. There will be seven years when nothing will grow and there won't be any food for anyone."
When the Paroah asks "What can I do?" Joseph tells him "God has shown you what to do. There will be seven good years before the seven bad years. If you save a little bit of the harvest from each of the good years, you will have enough food to get through the bad years".
Pharaoh believes all that Joseph tells him, and puts him in charge of all the lands of Egypt.
During the 7 lean years, Joseph's brothers like many, come to Egypt to buy grain. Joseph recognizes them but they do not recognize him (it had been over 10 years) and just as in his original dream, they bow to him because he is an important person.
After a few meetings with his brothers, Joseph can no longer keep the secret and says, "I am Joseph! Is my father alive?" But his brothers cannot answer him because they are afraid. Then Joseph says, "Come here. I am your brother, the one you sold! Do not worry, and do not be angry at yourselves for selling me, because God has put me here to save the people from starving."
The brothers reconcile, and Joseph's father, brothers, and their families come to live with him in Egypt.
Joe has the diminutive (nickname) Jo.
Some famous bearers of this name include: Joe DiMaggio, Joe Louis, Joe Namath, Joe Thornton, Joe Frazier.