The Life of Joseph - Lesson 13, Continuing the Life of Joseph in Egypt.
Genesis 39:3-6, And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. 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. 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's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. 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.
It was obvious to Potiphar that there was something different about Joseph.
Most likely Joseph told Potiphar of his faith in Jehovah who had made a covenant with his father and with his father's father.
Perhaps he had told him of his two dreams and of his exile by his brothers.
But we are told plainly that Potiphar saw that the Lord was with Joseph.
That was the difference!
Joseph gave God the glory for any value that he had been in behalf of Potiphar, his master.
Potiphar noticed that everything Joseph touched prospered, and he properly concluded that it prospered because the Lord was with him.
So Joseph's life brought praise to Jehovah from this high officer in Pharaoh's kingdom and Potiphar wisely decided to allow Joseph to manage all that he had.
This is wise counsel, supervisors, let those who are faithful do their jobs.
Genesis 39:7-12, And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. 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; 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? 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. 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. 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.
Joseph was a trusted servant but he was also a handsome young man and one who in the eyes of Potiphar's wife was to be conquered.
We are told in the first verse of this chapter that Potiphar was a officer of Pharaoh, a captain of the guard.
This word that has been translated "officer" is from a word that means eunuch.
Potiphar was a married eunuch.
This may help to explain the unfaithfulness of his wife.
The devil had tried to ruin Joseph through the schemes of his evil brothers but that had not worked.
Now he is to use the wiles of a woman to bring Joseph down.
Joseph was a man who was capable of many things but he could not lightly sin.
She cast her eyes on him and acted out the passage in the book of Proverbs that is recorded for all the prospective Josephs of all ages.
Proverbs 7:13-20, So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.
Potiphar's wife had spoken to Joseph day by day and day by day Joseph had resisted her advances hoping that she would leave him alone.
She would probably do little things for him, probably try to be in the same places he was, try to make conversation with him to show him that she liked him
He did not tell Potiphar of her advances because of the fear of denial that his wife would bring.
No doubt he hoped that the problem would go away.
How do you tell your master that his wife is being unfaithful to him?
Joseph was no doubt courteous to Potiphar's wife but she would not leave him alone.
Behold, my master wotteth (knows) not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; 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?
Joseph knew that doing what she wanted would be a great disloyalty and dishonesty to his master but his greater concern was sin against God.
Joseph had his head on straight and his priorities in order for he knew whom he served.
But Potiphar's wife was not to be denied.
Most likely because of Potiphar's wife Joseph arranged his own schedule so that he would be in the house when there were other servants in the house.
No being left alone with the Master's wife for Joseph.
He hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.
He arranged to not even be with her. He tried to avoid her.
But she arranged to have all the men of the house vacate the house so that she and Joseph would be alone.
Surely he will not deny me this time when I've arranged for us to be alone and not be caught.
That is what he must be afraid of.
I've had other servants and they have not resisted me.
He's all alone in this strange land. No one will know.
It's natural for a young man to flirt with an attractive woman.
Surely he cannot resist me.
But she did not know this man Joseph.
He was not there to dialogue with her.
He was not there to find out what her problem was.
He did not let courteousness get in the way of doing right.
He did not worry about her feelings instead of doing right.
He followed the admonition that we know of in: 2 Timothy 2:22, Flee also youthful lusts:
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. 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.
Joseph had had enough.
He had been patiently resisting her advances but this advance must have been especially strong for she had seen to it that the house was empty.
Perhaps catching him by his garment was the thing that pushed Joseph to flee from her.
Up to this point it was just words but now she appears to be forcing herself upon Joseph.
Had she worn seductive clothing and perfumes?
Had she enhanced her eyes and her hair in a way to tempt Joseph?
Something must have communicated to Joseph that this was the time to flee or else he may have succumbed to her advances.
God had made a way of escape and that way of escape was through Joseph's feet.
Feet are given for fleeing temptation.
Eyelids are given for shutting out that which tempts.
God makes a way of escape.
So Joseph simply fled out-of-doors in order to not sin against God.
Joseph was a true separatist for he knew when to separate.
But for the second time in this narrative we find that Joseph's garment is a major part of the scene.
His brother's had forcibly removed his coat of many colors and deceived Jacob with it.
Now Potiphar's wife had forcibly removed his garment, perhaps a robe, as he fled the house and she purposed to deceive Potiphar with it.
It was enough of a garment to show to Potiphar that something had happened in the house between his wife and Joseph.
He believed what she wanted him to believe.
A good lesson on the weakness of circumstantial evidence.
Genesis 39:13-18, And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth, 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: 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. And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home. 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: And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
She was no doubt filled with rage.
How could a man scorn my advances?
How could this happen to such a beautiful woman as I?
He cannot get away with this.
Her screams were designed to bring the men of the house who are outside of the house.
Perhaps she rearranged her hair and mussed her clothes to appear as though Joseph had attacked her.
She was intent on framing Joseph for it was unthinkable for a man to get away with spurning her, the wife of powerful Potiphar!
Didn't she have his garment?
So she paraded it before her husband as proof of his overseer's guilt.
Genesis 39:19,20, 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. 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's wrath was kindled when he was told of the accusation of his wife.
But why didn't Potiphar simply have Joseph put to death?
Possibly he was not taken in fully by his wife's story.
Perhaps his wife had a history of this kind of thing with servants of the household.
Perhaps other servants had hinted to him of what was taking place.
At any rate Potiphar spared Joseph's life, the second time Joseph was saved from death.
So for the second time Joseph was imprisoned for being faithful to his master.
In both cases his garment was used in the false report.
He knew that God had saved him when his brothers placed him in the pit and he knew that God could deliver him from this imprisonment likewise.
Joseph was 17 when sold into slavery: 37:2
Two full years before he stood before Pharaoh he interpreted the dreams for the baker and the butler: 41:1, Joseph was 28
Joseph was 30 years old when he stood before Pharaoh: 41:46
When Joseph stood before Pharaoh at age 30 Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's dream to be 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine: 41:29
And unto Joseph were born two sons (Manasseh, first born, and Ephraim) before the years of famine came: 41:50. Joseph was between the ages of 30 and 37 during the famine.
Joseph revealed himself to his brothers two years into the famine years: 45:6, Joseph was 39, He left home at age 17 so he was now in Egypt 22 years
Jacob tells Pharaoh that he is 130 years old, this is in the second year of famine: 47:9, Joseph was born 39 years ago from this time, therefore Jacob was 91 when Joseph was born. Joseph was born in Haran at the end of the second 7 year period. Jacob still had 6 years left of the twenty he spent in Harran. So Joseph was 6 years old when he came to Canaan. So the time between Haran and the beginning of the Joseph story in 37:2 is 11 years.
Also since Jacob fled to Harran after deceitfully receiving the blessing from Issac and he was 14 years there when Joseph was born he must have been 91 minus 14 or 77 years old when he fled to Haran.
Reuben - 4
Simeon - 6
Levi - 3
Judah - 3, 2 had died in Canaan, also had 2 grandchildren
Zebulon - 3
Gad - 7
Asher - 5, also had 2 grandchildren
Joseph - 2 in the land of Egypt
Benjamin - 10
Dan - 1