TODAY’S SCRIPTURE: Genesis 39:1-10 (NASB*)
Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the bodyguard, bought him from the Ishmaelites, who had taken him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. Now his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge. It came about that from the time he made him overseer in his house and over all that he owned, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house on account of Joseph; thus the Lord’s blessing was upon all that he owned, in the house and in the field. So he left everything he owned in Joseph’s charge; and with him there he did not concern himself with anything except the food which he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. It came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her or be with her.
AN IMAGINARY JOURNAL ARTICLE
I seriously got a bargain with this new slave. Whatever my servants paid for him from that caravan, I got a bargain! I could tell right away that this slave was special. Most of them arrive pretty beaten up and despondent, and this one was certainly not at his best, but I could see a glint of intelligence in his eyes. I put him in charge of a few small things, just feeling him out, and he did excellently at everything I gave him. Organized, thrifty, respectful. And, if he wasn’t a slave, I would even say he was wise. But he IS a slave, so let’s just say he is smart. Every new responsibility I turned over to him, he mastered right away. It is so great to have a slave I can count on. Having him here has really freed me up. I don’t need to be so worried about managing the household, and can focus on my work. Yes, I got a bargain with this slave. And, surprisingly, even my wife agrees with this. She doesn’t usually approve of anything I do, so I’m glad she gets along so well with him. What a relief…
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT…
- Joseph has been betrayed by his own family, and has been brought a long distance to be sold into slavery. As he is transferred from the Ishmaelites to the Midianites to Potiphar’s household, how do you imagine Joseph is feeling?
- Just a few passages ago, Joseph was gloating to his brothers about his dreams of power. Do you think those dreams would sustain Joseph during this time, or haunt him?
- In the prior chapters, Joseph hasn’t shown much leadership ability. And yet in Potiphar’s household he almost immediately becomes a trusted servant. What do you think has changed?
- Potiphar’s wife tries to entice Joseph to sleep with her. What are Joseph’s stated reasons for refusal?
- How would you feel if you were in Joseph’s position, with the spouse of the boss trying to seduce you, and with your job (and life) on the line?
Click here to view the painting Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife by Guido Reni (1575-1642). This painting is currently on view at The Getty Center in Los Angeles.
* New American Standard Bible (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.