Imagine the scene…
Potiphar’s wife was left holding Joseph’s garment and saw that he had fled outside. Probably humiliated and also angry, she seethed for a few moments. Thinking quickly, she screamed with rage. She had flirted with him, made eyes at him, and finally told him what she wanted, more than once… trying to wear his resistance down. His response? “… How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” Gen 39:9b
Finally she had taken an advantage of a situation when none of the other men of the house were inside the house (did she send them on errands?) … but the result was the same… Joseph ran away rather than ‘lie with me’.
You know the old saying? “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Here we are about to see this in action.
Gen 39: 14 says she called the men of the house. Did she call them or loudly call them? Did she have tears in her eyes when she told them her lies? Was her voice strangled, was she outraged or stammering? What we do know she did… was lie!
Having set up the situation, and her ‘witnesses’, she kept Joseph’s garment with her till his master came home. Gen 39: 16
Convincingly she told her story. After all, she had the rest of the day to think about it and perfect it, perhaps repeating it to the servants, building up her tale.
Once again Joseph was the victim of human emotions. His brothers had been jealous, his master’s wife had longed for him, wanting him to ‘lie with her’.
The result was the same as before, Joseph was rejected. This time instead of being sold to traders by his brothers, he was thrown in prison by his now former master.
Some commentators think there is evidence to suggest that Potiphar did not entirely believe his wife. Their reasoning? Ancient Egypt was not soft on crime like some of our soft Western cultures tend to be, citing ‘he had a bad childhood, his brothers were so jealous of him they sold him as a slave’. No, their laws were more likely to have a criminal put to death. In this case a slave, (not a paid servant a purchased slave) who had been given a position of trust in his MASTER’S household, attempted to rape his master’s wife! If it had been true, what an abuse of trust! The highest penalty was the only option. So why was Joseph only put in prison if his master believed his wife? Seems like there was some doubt there.
However, even if Potiphar believed Joseph to have been ‘set up’ he had little choice. Joseph went to jail.
What were Joseph’s thoughts? He was in prison, a dungeon in fact. He was innocent, he had refused to betray his master’s trust and more importantly his God, yet he was being punished.
Back to the pit!
To be continued…
In the meantime – think carefully, tread softly, you may tread on someone’s dreams.