Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife
39 Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, had bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. The LORD was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. His master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had, in house and field. So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate.
Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her.
But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house. And as soon as she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled out of the house, she called to the men of her household and said to them, “See, he has brought among us a Hebrew to laugh at us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. And as soon as he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me and fled and got out of the house.” Then she laid up his garment by her until his master came home, and she told him the same story, saying, “The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought among us, came in to me to laugh at me. But as soon as I lifted up my voice and cried, he left his garment beside me and fled out of the house.”
As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, “This is the way your servant treated me,” his anger was kindled. And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the LORD was with him. And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed.
Genesis 39 Commentary
by Hank Workman
It went from bad to worse. Simply consider all Joseph has gone through. Favored by his father, his brothers physically attack him, throw him in a pit then horrifically sell him to a band of Ishmaelite’s passing through. Shackled in a long line of other men and women, he marches for miles through the sand where he’s brought to Egypt and auctioned off as a slave. He goes from being a wealthy son to the lowest of the social spectrum. Historically, they say the auctioning off of slaves in ancient times was one of the most humiliating things a person went through.
Snapped up by the captain of the guard, think along the lines of the chief of police, he’s taken into an estate where he flourishes. Everything he does or puts his hand to is blessed by God. He rises to the top of the slave chain and is elevated to leadership. But it would be when his master’s wife set her eyes on him, eventually plotting, scheming and ultimately lying he’s taken down and thrown in prison. Yet there, even behind bars more than likely for life as a slave had no rights and it’s a miracle he wasn’t executed, he is found with favor. The warden takes interest in him and begins to give a freedom and places him with responsibilities over the other prisoners.
So, let’s get this straight: His family is gone forever as far as he knows. He’s in a foreign land and a slave. He’s bought to oversee a household then falsely accused of things that he never did and is tossed behind bars for life. Sounds pretty hopeless.
But here’s the key, “The Lord was with him.”Genesis 39:21
Although not to this extreme, maybe you feel the same way that everything is hopeless. Nothing is going right for you. Dreams you had have seemingly crashed and burned. Life is more than difficult and dark ranging from your home to work to school. But the thread to cling to is in the life of Joseph, none of these horrific circumstances derailed God’s plan for his life. The Lord was with him in the darkest of places. And He is right there alongside you as well. Nothing that has come against you will ever derail the plans God has for your life. Joseph remained consistent wherever he found himself, and even though he didn’t understand nor do we in these moments, we must stay consistent. God worked against the odds in Joseph’s life and yes, although it is possibly unseen to you, He’s working against your odds as well. God’s faithfulness is real and works in and above every situation you’re currently facing.
Genesis 39 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Set against the backdrop of Joseph’s brother Judah pursuing a harlot who was actually his daughter-in-law, here we have a polar opposite response. Genesis 39 is a valuable lesson on dealing with temptation.
Joseph did not allow even a hint of sexual immorality to fill his mind. First, he was honest with himself and with Potiphar’s wife. He called it like it was. She was married and Jospeh was adamant about not shaming Potiphar. But the more powerful point to consider is that Joseph saw this temptation as a path to doing evil in God’s sight. Often, we convince ourselves that our sinful choices are done in the darkness where no one else can see them. Joseph knew that God was watching and this was his most potent deterrent.
“When I regarded God as a tyrant, I thought sin a trifle; but when I knew him to be my father, then I mourned that I could ever have kicked against him. When I thought that God was hard, I found it easy to sin; but when I found God so kind, so good, so overflowing with compassion, I smote upon my breast to think that I could ever have rebelled against one who loved me so, and sought my good.”Charles Spurgeon
Joseph understood the command to flee from sexual immorality because he loved His Father in heaven far more than temporary pleasure.
Run from sexual immorality! “Every sin a person can commit is outside the body.” On the contrary, the person who is sexually immoral sins against his own body.1 Corinthians 6:18 HCSB
This is literally what Joseph does! Notice, it is not the threat of God’s wrath or the thought of breaking the rules that stops Joseph from sinning. It is his love relationship with God the Father. I wonder… how much different would our lives be if we thought along these same lines?