Genesis Chapter 39
"Joseph Sold in Egypt."
Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's
Genesis 39:1 "And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmaelites, which had brought him down thither."
Remember in Genesis 37 where Joseph was so hated by his brothers, that they threw him into a pit, or water well, and later sold him to the Ishmaelites who were in a caravan heading for Egypt. Upon arriving in Egypt, Joseph was sold into the house of Potiphar, who was the highest ranking military officer of Egypt.
Egypt had just undergone a change on ruler ship, and in secular records, the Pharaoh in Egypt was one of the "Hyksos", or shepherd kings ruling at this time. Though there was a change in government, and a foreign Pharaoh was ruling, however, Potiphar the Egyptian was retained as Captain of the guard. At this time Egypt was divided into two nations, the upper and the lower Egypt, and these shepherd kings ruled for a long period of time.
Keep in mind also that years later, we will see that Joseph will marry into the family of one of these Shepherd kings. These shepherd kings are of Hebrew origin, and not Egyptian, and we can see here that God goes to great length to keep pure the blood line of his people.
Genesis 39:2 "And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master of Egyptian."
Joseph was a very intelligent man, who kept his heart and mind right with God. And God blessed Joseph in all things, where ever he happened to be.
Genesis 39:3 "And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand."
Genesis 39:4 "And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand."
It doesn't take long for a person to see that everything Joseph touches is a success. Potiphar takes everything he has and puts it in Joseph's care.
Genesis 39:5 "And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field."
Joseph is now not only taking care of Potiphar's household, but now he is handling all of Potiphar's affairs.
Genesis 39:6 "And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured."
God had so blessed Potiphar and his household that by now only Joseph knew exactly what he had, and where it all was. The expression, "goodly man and well favored", in the Hebrew text is exactly as it was written of his mother, Rachel. It is an explanation of Joseph's character, and appearance. Joseph took after his mother in his traits; he had a good personality, and when he brought blessings upon himself, he also sought to bless all those around him also.
Even in the Islamic faith, the twelfth chapter of the Koran, it speaks of the stature and goodness of Joseph.
Genesis 39:7 "And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me."
She was very direct and to the point; she was trying to seduce Joseph.
Genesis 39:8 "But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;"
Joseph is telling this wife of Potiphar that her husband trusts me, even to the point of giving over to me all that he has, including you. In fact she was the only thing that Joseph did not have complete control over.
Genesis 39:9 "There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?"
Instead of just running, Joseph is trying to explain that because of the trust that her husband had in me, he could not commit this act of adultery against his master. Joseph knew God's laws governing such an act.
Genesis 39:10 "And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her."
After Joseph refused Potiphar's wife, she would not let up, and continued day after day to tempt Joseph. Joseph is a servant of the household, and she is one of the masters. She doesn't beg him, but she orders him, and he continues to refuse her.
Genesis 39:11 "And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within."
Keep in mind that as Captain of the Guard, the control of goods and services for the guards and prison were also under Joseph's keeping. So Joseph had much business to contend with. On of those days that all were gone from the household, and Joseph was in the house to tend to business matters, here comes this bothersome wife of Potiphar again.
There is no one in the entire house but Joseph, and this beautiful woman. The other servants were all gone. The storehouses in the homes were in the back of the houses, as well as the servants quarters.
Genesis 39:12 "And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out."
This garment, a "begged" in the Hebrew tongue, was a very loose fitting gown, with nothing underneath. This would cause Joseph to run naked from the house. With Joseph being observed running naked from the house, puts her in a situation whereby she now has to report what went on. So she does.
Genesis 39:13 "And it came to pass when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth,"
Genesis 39:14 "That she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice:"
She cried, all right, she cried out with passion to seduce Joseph. Potiphar's wife had a lustful love that has just turned to a lustful hate. She is now going to get even with Joseph for refusing her advances.
Genesis 39:15 "And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out."
Does that sound logical to you? I don't believe it did to Potiphar either, however, to discredit his wife would have caused real problems within his household. If Potiphar had believed his wife, under the law he could have killed Joseph, however he did not. No man as bright and wise as Joseph would have left the house after this kind of an act, without his garment.
Genesis 39:16 "And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home."
Genesis 39:17 "And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me:"
Genesis 39:18 "And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out."
Did you get the picture?
Genesis 39:19 "And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled."
Potiphars immediate reaction was to get mad.
Genesis 39:20 "And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison."
Potiphar is the chief officer of the prison, and I'm sure the prison was real close at hand. Joseph had everything going his way, except for this bothersome woman, now the one thing that could go wrong, did go wrong. God didn't leave Joseph, just because of this lieing woman, and the fact that Joseph is now in prison. We will see that Joseph is drawn closer to God, and his trust in God.
If we trust our Heavenly Father, and we know that He is always in control, then when something like this happens, and we have not brought it about ourselves, we can watch how God will work in our lives. Things will be all right, and God will take care of His own. God does things in His time and His manner.
Genesis 39:21 "But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison."
Joseph was innocent, and his character would not let him fall apart over this lie charged against him. God was with Joseph, and in prison or out of prison, his character remained strong. Remember who the keeper of the prison was? That is right, It's Potiphar. Potiphar is not going to allow an false accusation by his wife keep the blessings of God from flowing his way. "Mercy" in the Hebrew text, is "Kindness", and if he truly believed his wife, he would not be treating Joseph with such kindness.
Potiphar was captain of the the guard and that prison, and he must have suspected something of the sorts, after thinking over what his wife said, and then reasoning what sort of a man Joseph was. Read verse three again, then ask yourself, which one would I believe.
Genesis 39:22 "And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it."
Now we see that Potiphar has changed Joseph's responsibilities from head of his house, to head of the prison. He knew that the blessings he had were from Joseph and his God, and he also knew that God was with him.
Genesis 39:23 "The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper."
Potiphar learned to trust Joseph in all matters, for he had good common sense, and was trustful in all matters. He knew that from earlier, when Joseph took care of his household. However, now there was a matter of keeping Joseph from being bothered by his wife, and I'm sure Potiphar was more concerned for Joseph's well being, then his wife's in this matter.
Potiphar knew that what ever the task assigned to Joseph, it would be done right the first time, and with the attention that was needed. When you prove yourself in the little things, then as time passes you will be given bigger and greater areas of responsibility. This should be a lesson for all Christians of today, for the same principle applies today, as it did in Joseph's day. This is not the same thing as allowing others to run over you, but doing a job well, and standing by what you know is the right thing to do.
That position may cost you a little in the beginning, but God will not allow it to go un-rewarded in the long run.
Plough .~ Seeds .~ Vine .~ Potter .~ Seasons .~ Sonshine .~ Rain .~ Field