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Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife


Now Joseph was taken down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. 2The L ord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man; he was in the house of his Egyptian master. 3His master saw that the L ord was with him, and that the L ord caused all that he did to prosper in his hands. 4So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him; he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. 5From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the L ord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the L ord was on all that he had, in house and field. 6So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge; and, with him there, he had no concern for anything but the food that he ate.

Now Joseph was handsome and good-looking. 7And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” 8But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, with me here, my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my hand. 9He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” 10And although she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not consent to lie beside her or to be with her. 11One day, however, when he went into the house to do his work, and while no one else was in the house, 12she caught hold of his garment, saying, “Lie with me!” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside. 13When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled outside, 14she called out to the members of her household and said to them, “See, my husband has brought among us a Hebrew to insult us! He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice; 15and when he heard me raise my voice and cry out, he left his garment beside me, and fled outside.” 16Then she kept his garment by her until his master came home, 17and she told him the same story, saying, “The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought among us, came in to me to insult me; 18but as soon as I raised my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me, and fled outside.”

19 When his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, saying, “This is the way your servant treated me,” he became enraged. 20And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; he remained there in prison. 21But the L ord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love; he gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer. 22The chief jailer committed to Joseph’s care all the prisoners who were in the prison, and whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. 23The chief jailer paid no heed to anything that was in Joseph’s care, because the L ord was with him; and whatever he did, the L ord made it prosper.

20. And put him into the prison. Though Moses does not state with what degree of severity Joseph was afflicted at the beginning of his imprisonment, yet we readily gather that he was not allowed any liberty, but was thrust into some obscure dungeon. The authority of Potiphar was paramount; he had the keeper of the prison under his power, and at his disposal. What clemency could be hoped for from a man who was jealous and carried away with the vehemence of his anger? There is no doubt that what is related of Joseph in Psalm 105:18,

“His feet were made fast in fetters, and the iron entered into his soul,”

had been handed down by tradition from the fathers. What a reward of innocence! For, according to the flesh, he might ascribe whatever he was suffering to his integrity. Truly, in this temptation he must have mourned in great perplexity and anxiety before God. And though Moses does not record his prayers, yet, since it is certain that he was not crushed beneath the cross, and did not murmur against it, it is also probable that he was reposing on the hope of Divine help. And to flee unto God is the only stay which will support us in our afflictions, the only armor which renders us invincible.

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