“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, but Jehovah was with Joseph, and showed him mercy, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison” (Genesis 39:20-23).
Prison is not a place that I would wish upon anyone, confined to a few square meters of concrete and steel is in the most conservative sense cruel. To find one self innocently placed into confinement or captivity would add a magnitude of injustice that is measurable only by the innocent. So it was with one of the most humble and innocent characters of the Old Testament Scriptures, Joseph. Jacob’s (Israel) youngest son was seventeen years of age when he was sold into slavery by his brothers to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver, “And his brothers were content.” Unfortunately, the story does not end here, the Midianites (Ishmaelites) brought Joseph into Egypt and sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer and captain of the guard of the Pharaoh.
“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” (Genesis 39:7). Life is filled with mystery and irony, Joseph in a very short period of time goes from being: (a) the apple of his father’s eye, (b) envied by his brothers and sold into slavery, (c) sold as a slave to Potiphar and (d) looked upon with great lust by his master’s wife. Sounds like a rags-to-riches story, think of it as part two stay tuned there more to come. “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” (Genesis 39:8). Well, almost everything.
As the story continues, Joseph is setup-framed by Potiphar’s wife with a diabolical scheme designed to make it look as if Joseph attempted to sexually assault her. “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?” (Genesis 39:9) Joseph knew this was not right regardless of his master wife’s attraction to him or if he were attracted to her. The “great evil” Joseph recognizes is not a sin against his earthly master but a sin against his Heavenly Master. Joseph says; “How then could I do this great evil and sin against God? Knowing whom we sin against is the most damning piece of evidence a believer can possess, we sin not against our brothers, sisters or neighbors when we knowingly do evil. We sin against God.
“So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her” (Genesis 39:10). The behavior of Potiphar’s wife is similar to that of some our Christian friends and even members of our household, persistent to the point of annoyance after we have emphatically and repeatedly said “NO!” But Joseph was more than good-looking and eye candy for his master’s wife, he was a righteous person filled with spiritual integrity. Joseph risked all in refusing her and in doing so he held onto his highest obligation, he refused to sin against God. We must ask ourselves and ask often, do I have the fortitude to continuously withstand physical temptation day-by-day in the name of spiritual integrity knowing there will be consequences and repercussions? Every believer has to answer this question. What’s your answer?
Potiphar’s wife carried out her diabolical scheme and falsely accused Joseph; “The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me” (Genesis 39:17), modern translation—to sexually assault her. ”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. 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” (Genesis 39:17), and Joseph’s master believed his wife. Joseph’s confinement is one of many of innocent persons suffering at the hand of the wicked and purveyors of evil. What they mean for evil, God plans for good.
A little bird I am shut from the fields of air, And in my cage I sit and sing to Him who placed me there. Well pleased a prisoner to be, Because my God, it pleased Thee.
My cage confines me round, Abroad I cannot fly but though my wing is closely bound, My soul is at liberty for prison walls cannot control, The flight, the freedom of the soul. Author – Unknown
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). Remember, when we suffer because we refuse to sin against Jehovah, He is with us wherever we may find ourselves, confined, sad, sick or even in the shadow of death. Be blessed and bless someone in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Grady Norman Greene, Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Our Christ
- Genesis 37 – 39 (Joseph) (doughnutholes.wordpress.com)
- Who do you turn to in times of weakness? (myviewandopinion.wordpress.com)