Genesis Chapter 39

Joseph is one of the younger sons of Jacob (Israel). He had eleven brothers. He had been blessed with dreams by the Lord, which his brothers saw as a threat. There were also feelings of envy due to his being their father’s favorite. In response, they cast him into a pit and then sold him to some Ishmeelites on their way to Egypt. The story of Joseph continues:

1 And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.
2 And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.
3 And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand.
4 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.
5 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.
6 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.

Joseph was bought by Potiphar and he prospered, even as a servant in Egypt. Joseph was righteous and had the Lord’s blessings. Potiphar recognized that Joseph was blessed by God and he made him his overseer or ruler of all his house and belongings. Potiphar was blessed for having Joseph in his household. I find it interesting that the footnote for the word “goodly”, references talents. I think this means that Joseph was a talented man who was able to help Potiphar to be more prosperous.

7 And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.
8 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;
9 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?
10 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.
11 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.
12 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.
13 And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth,
14 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:
15 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.
16 And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home.
17 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:
18 And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out.
19 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.
20 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 wife made advances towards Joseph, which he refused both because it would be wrong to do to Potiphar when he had made him ruler of his house, and because it would be a sin against God. Potiphar trusted Joseph and I don’t think he even watched over the things Joseph did in his house, because of the level of trust. She continued her advances towards him, until one day when no one else was around. She took hold of him and asked him again to be with her. He ran away, leaving part of his clothes that she held on to. She decided to use this to her advantage and called in other servants to tell them that Joseph had tried to take advantage of her. It takes a bold and unrighteous woman to be the kind of person to want to cheat on her husband and then can turn around and ruin the reputation of a man that has been so trusted and is known to be a righteous man. Potiphar’s wife repeated this story to Potiphar, who believed her and was angry with Joseph. Joseph, was then taken and put into prison with the prisoners of Pharaoh.

21 But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it.
23 The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.

Joseph was an innocent man and still favored of the Lord. The Lord blessed him to find favor with the guards of the prison. The keeper of the prison, made Joseph in charge of all the prisoners. The Lord blessed the prison for Joseph’s sake. It is interesting to note that some of the best of men in the scriptures, are often cast into prison. With each of them that are righteous, the Lord continues to bless them and be with them.

This is a great example of standing up for our own virtue in the face of great adversity. Joseph was a righteous man, who loved God and would not commit this awful sin against Him. I am sure that he had a love for his master, Potiphar, and that losing that position in his household was extremely difficult. Because of his integrity, he was blessed and others were blessed because of him. I know that we will also be blessed if we hold fast to our own virtue and strive to have integrity. In Mosiah 2:41 we read, “And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.” The Lord will take care of us, when we stand firm in our faith and are obedient to His commandments.

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