Loyalty to God may bring a believer into serious testings but the almighty grace of God will enable him to overcome the enemy’s assaults.
Though stripped of possessions, we need not be stripped of virtue.
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.
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.
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.
Genesis 39 Intro – J. Vernon McGee
Genesis 39:1-7 – J. Vernon McGee
Genesis 39:8-10 – J. Vernon McGee
Genesis 39:11-20 – J. Vernon McGee
Genesis 39:21-23 – J. Vernon McGee
Genesis 39:1-18 – Joseph in Potiphar’s House
Ungodly families and employers owe more than they realize to the presence in their homes and businesses of those who love God; for God comes with His servants. See Genesis 39:2, 21, 23, and Acts 7:9. But those who would enjoy that accompanying Presence must resist and overcome the appeals of the flesh. Days of outward prosperity are those in which we are most keenly tempted. The most venomous serpents coil in the damp heat of tropical forests. When temptation and opportunity meet, our case is hard indeed. At such times only God’s grace can hold us back. As temptation presents itself again and again, it gives us opportunities of continued growth in strength and grace. Joseph had probably wrought out his noble answer in his own secret heart, and had lived by it, weeks before he flashed it forth. In the critical hour the mouth blurts out what the heart has been meditating. They who can rule themselves will be presently trusted to rule others. —Through the Bible Day by Day
If you are a servant, make your employer feel that you are the most reliable person about the place. Joseph in jail was as reliable as when governor of Egypt. Cream rises to the top even if it is in a wash-hand basin. (Champness)
Genesis 39:9 – How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?
What a contrast between this chapter and the former: that, like a Rembrandt background, throws up the bright colors of this. Where the older brother fell, the younger stood victoriously; and the light of God shone on the young heart, so that even the dungeon gloom could not extinguish it. Who does not know what it is to be misunderstood, misrepresented, accused falsely, and punished wrongfully! Yet God reigns: and in his own time “He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday” (Psalm 37:6).
God allows strength to be tested.—We do not know what we are, or where we stand, till we are compelled to choose. Insensibly character is ever forming—unconsciously we are taking sides; but the testing-hour that compels us to declare ourselves causes the solution suddenly to crystallize, and we know ourselves in our choice. The man who has chosen the pure and good once, will choose them more easily next time; and at each choice will become stronger.
God allows virtue to be Maligned.—In all Egypt there was not a purer soul, and yet Joseph lay under a terrible imputation; but he committed his cause to God, sure that He would not leave him in Hades; and the time came when the King’s word cleared him, and he stood forth vindicated. “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself” (Psalm 37:7).
God allows conscientiousness to be ill-repaid.—Of what avail that he had so well cared for his master’s goods? Ah, but that dungeon was the subterranean passage to a throne; and through those fetters iron entered into that young soul. We all need more iron in our blood! —Our Daily Homily
God never places us in any position in which we cannot grow. We may fancy that He does. We may fear we are so impeded by fretting petty cares that we are gaining nothing; but when we are not sending any branches upward, we may be sending roots downward. Perhaps in the time of our humiliation, when everything seems a failure, we are making the best kind of progress. (E. Prentiss)
Oh! wondrous revelation! Joseph did not stand in a niche on the mountain side, as Moses did, whilst the solemn pomp swept past; and yet the Lord showed him a great sight – He showed him His mercy. The prison cell was the mount of vision, from the height of which he saw, as he had never seen before, the panorama of Divine loving-kindness. It were well worth his while to go to prison to learn that. When children gather to see the magic lantern, the figures may be flung upon the sheet, and yet be invisible, because the room is full of light. Darken the room, and instantly the round circle of light is filled with brilliant color. God our Father has often to turn down the lights of our life because He wants to show us mercy. Whenever you get into a prison of circumstances, be on the watch. Prisons are rare places for seeing things. It was in prison that Bunyan saw his wondrous allegory, and Paul met the Lord, and John looked through heaven’s open door, and Joseph saw God’s mercy. God has no chance to show His mercy to some of us except when we are in some sore sorrow. The night is the time to see the stars. (F.B. Meyer)