Joseph in Egypt, sold to Potiphar

Here is where we left off last week…

Genesis 39:1, 2, 3 Joseph arrived in Egypt and was sold to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh… “The Lord was with Joseph and he was a successful man”… “And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did prosper in his hand…”

Have you ever wondered what happened in between the first verse and the third? I must confess I had not until the other day.

Consider this…

  • Joseph was a Hebrew, was favoured by his father, and hated by his brothers. All the same he lived with the family. The young men had a fairly peripatetic life as they moved the flocks to graze.
  • When the traders arrived in Egypt, Joseph was sold again. (Given his lifestyle we could assume he was fit and healthy.) Additionally he was young and could be seen as a prime investment for anyone looking for a slave.

A ‘fly in the ointment’?

Joseph was now in Egypt, the slave of an Egyptian. Not just any Egyptian either, ‘an officer of Pharaoh, a captain of the guard’ Gen 39:1.

  • It is unlikely that Joseph had needed to know the Egyptian language, so he would have had to learn it quickly in order to serve his master.
  • Instead of having the freedom of the country to walk in, his ‘master’ wanted him as a house servant.

Big changes…

His ‘role’ was different to what he had known in his life till now.

The language was not the language of his people.

The culture was completely different.

If he had feelings of anger, fear, or disbelief, he must have come to terms with them on the journey to Egypt. We are not told if he questioned God, he may have done, but it seems that by the time he was sold to Potiphar, he had settled any of these feelings and trusted God.

Why do I say that?

Because if He had not, do you think the Lord would have prospered him as he did?

Potiphar saw that all Joseph did prospered and appointed the young man as overseer of his house.

‘So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the house and in the field.’ Gen 39:5

Did Joseph take all this for granted? Did he think… ‘if only my brothers could see me now. They objected to my dreams, if they could see me now…

If he did, we are not told. What we are told is that Potiphar left all that he had in Joseph’s hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate…Gen 39:6

The last part of that verse however gives an indication of possible trouble   ‘… And Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.’

Why would that be a concern? Perhaps his master would allow him to marry one of the female slaves. But it was not one of the female slaves who was longing for him… it was his master’s wife. Eventually her longing for him demanded fulfilment, and she said to him “Lie with me.”

Joseph refused the temptation out of respect for his master, the position he had been given, and his knowledge that to yield was wickedness and a sin against God.

Potiphar’s wife (we are never given a name for her) persisted, and day after day tried to entice Joseph. One day, when no one else was in the house she caught him by his garment again saying, “Lie with me.”

Joseph fled, leaving the garment in her hand.

And that was the start of another major change in Joseph’s life.

More next week

In the meantime, tread softly, you may be treading on someone’s dreams.



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