Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife, Genesis 39

Apitus sipped wine from her golden goblet as she peered out her lattice window. This Hebrew slave is perplexing as the Nile. Strong and alluring . . . an impenetrable current. She rubbed her bare feet against the soft rug recalling his bright smile.

Surely Re the sun-god sent you to me, Joseph.

Potiphar’s promotion of Joseph to household overseer came to her as no surprise. Never had she witnessed anyone go about his duties with such vigor and enthusiasm. Everything the man touches flourishes . . . . But why couldn’t she succeed in getting the Hebrew to touch her?

While most men were attracted to her green eyes and full figure, Joseph seemed more obsessed with learning the Egyptian language and recording statistics.

Besides his good looks, Joseph’s polite manners at first drew her to him. But she couldn’t seem to break through his stiff formalism. How many years had he been in charge of their household? How many times had she expressed her desire for him, only to be given the same mumbo-jumbo about sinning against his God?

With Joseph in charge, the only thing Potiphar concerns himself with anymore—apart from accolades—is the spread on his plate! No wonder these spacious rooms dressed in white marble have long lost their charm. Even the interior courtyards and live entertainment could no longer fill the emptiness gnawing in her soul.

Potiphar, “captain of the guard,” what a laugh! But Joseph . . . now he defines a true man.


The next two days found Potiphar out on business errands. Apitus would seize the moment while the servants busied themselves outside.

She let her long dark hair drape around her shoulders while approaching Joseph at his writing desk. Although he looked uncomfortable, her eyes bore down on him.

“Joseph, sleep with me,” she whispered.

“Wh-what?” He pretended not to hear as he went back to his note taking.

How could he act so childlike? “You heard me . . . . Come to bed with me!”

This time he looked up and met her gaze. “How could I do such a thing?” He slapped down his reed pen. His face turned crimson. “Your husband has entrusted everything to me, everything that is, except for you!”

Who does this slave think he is treating me this way?! She grabbed his cloak. But Joseph bolted out of his seat and ran outside.

“Rape! Someone grab this slave! He tried to rape me!” she screamed through a calm, thin smile. She held out a piece of his torn cloak while several burly servants tackled Joseph outside on the stone pathway.

You will pay for rejecting me, Joseph!


You may read Genesis 39 here: Gateway Bible.




While Joseph refused the advances of Potiphar’s wife, he finally ran from her. Sometimes just avoiding a temptation isn’t enough. Like Joseph, we must turn and run. Joseph reminds us that sexual sin is not just between two consenting adults, but rather an act of disobedience against God Himself.

Although Joseph was demoted and thrown into the prison below Potiphar’s house, he didn’t allow himself to become enslaved to his circumstances. Instead, he recognized God’s presence and blessing. Rather than complaining and becoming bitter, Joseph made the most of every situation.

This chapter starts and ends with God’s blessing on Joseph. As Potiphar entrusted Joseph as overseer over his entire household, the warden also places all the prisoners under Joseph’s charge. Once again, “the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did,” (vs. 23).

6 thoughts on “Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife, Genesis 39

  1. Pingback: Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife, Genesis 39 – Truth in Palmyra

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