Genesis 39, Joseph in Egypt

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Helen, Jul 12, 2002.

  1. Helen

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    Aug 29, 2001
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    Once he was a braggart, boasting of his dreams of leadership to his older brothers. Once he had everything and was a pain in the neck to his family.

    Joseph seems to have grown up a lot now. He has abruptly gone from daddy's pampered favorite to a slave. Most people in this position would at least complain and sulk, if not blame God and even hate God. "How could He let this happen to me?"

    We don't know what Joseph thought when he was put in the well or when he was sold, and then sold again to Potiphar. In fact Genesis has now changed tone dramatically, going from a possible series of eyewitness accounts to what seems far more to be the reciting of a story, or perhaps what a historian would write down about events as he was told them.

    But whatever Joseph thought, and whatever mental struggles he may have gone through, what comes through loud and clear is that this is now a man of God: upright, dependable, honest, moral, and able to deal with a great deal of responsibility.

    Until Potiphar's wife lied about him, he was in charge of everything in Potiphar's keeping. He had shown himself to be utterly trustworthy. When she approached him, he told her that to become involved with her would not only be a betrayal of Potiphar, but a sin against God. This simple comment tells us a lot about how his life was oriented.

    (What Potiphar's wife did not not unique to that time and place, by the way. Just as a funny example, my brother used to own a tree trimming business. He ran into some really funny people. He tells how one time a woman rather blatently invited him up to her bedroom, and all he could think to say was, "Oh, do you have a tree growing there?")

    What is interesting to me is how Potiphar, when his wife told him the lie about Joseph, does not seem to hesitate in believing it! I try to think why, after he had trusted Joseph so entirely. The only clue we have is in verse 6 where we read that Joseph was well-built and handsome. This might have been in contrast to Potiphar, who was captain of the guard, was now probably no longer young. Was his wife young? Was he easily provoked to jealousy because of her? Whatever happened, he seems to have believed her without hesitation and turned on the man he had trusted so entirely, having him thrown into jail.

    Surely this time Joseph would feel bitterness and anger. But that is not what we see. Instead, we see a man who is doing the best he can where he is. As a result, the jailor responds to him in the same way Potiphar had before the wife trouble arose: with total trust and confidence in Joseph's handling of affairs! The last sentence n the chapter reads, "the warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph's care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did."

    And so Joseph is getting the training the Lord wants him to have in taking responsibility and getting the job done. This will be very necessary for Joseph to have learned later in his life.

    I am reminded of a certain verse in the New Testament where Paul says that in everything we are to give thanks. Joseph is a VERY good picture of why!

    And so for now we leave him in jail, once again, though, carrying authority and responsibility. We read nothing of him complaining about his circumstances.

    [ July 13, 2002, 12:36 AM: Message edited by: Helen ]
  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Oct 10, 2001
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