Day 159: Lust, Manipulation And Slander

Genesis 39:5-18

It happened from the time that he made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that Yahweh blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of Yahweh was on all that he had, in the house and in the field. He left all that he had in Joseph’s hand. He didn’t concern himself with anything, except for the food which he ate.

Joseph was well-built and handsome. It happened after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph; and she said, “Lie with me.”

But he refused, and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, my master doesn’t know what is with me in the house, and he has put all that he has into my hand. He isn’t greater in this house than I, neither has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”

As she spoke to Joseph day by day, he didn’t listen to her, to lie by her, or to be with her. About this time, he went into the house to do his work, and there were none of the men of the house inside. She caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me!”

He left his garment in her hand, and ran outside. When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and had run outside, she called to the men of her house, and spoke to them, saying, “Behold, he has brought in a Hebrew to us to mock us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice. It happened, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment by me, and ran outside.” She laid up his garment by her, until his master came home. She spoke to him according to these words, saying, “The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought to us, came in to me to mock me, and it happened, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment by me, and ran outside.”

Who says that women don’t have any power? It is obvious that Potiphar’s wife was quite capable of manipulation. Sometimes, even in a good job with a fairly good employer, we are faced with two paths, neither of which result in something good for us. That’s what happened to Joseph. Joseph chose to obey and fear God rather than men. Joseph’s actions were much bolder that his great, grandfather when he was in Egypt. Remember that Abraham, scared for his life, gave his wife away to the Pharaoh. Now we get to see what happens to a person who does things right. This has always been a scary thing to me because God had been really helping Joseph, but for reasons that Joseph didn’t know yet, God allowed him to take the brunt of a huge scandal. We know from the story that this was what God had purposed, but it must have been severely painful.

Even though Joseph did absolutely nothing wrong, there was no way that he wouldn’t be
getting in trouble now. It was a perfect storm.

In real life, God often demonstrates ironic contrasts. We have some portrayed here. Potiphar’s wife was a free woman, but she was in a prison of lust. She was not free to act as a sane wife of a wealthy Egyptian. Instead, she was so overcome with her lust that she was stalking a servant. Joseph, on the other hand, was free to do anything with the whole estate even though he was a slave. Potiphar’s wife was then controlled by bitterness when she couldn’t get what she wanted. This wealthy woman was living in a prison of lust and bitterness that grew to make her become an oppressor. She may have looked on the outside like a poor, helpless, abused woman, but on the inside she was a tyrant.

It is so important for us to judge carefully. Cases like this demonstrate why. We cannot rely on what we assume at first. We must dig under the surface and find out what really happened without depending on the word of any single fallible man.