“And Potiphar left all that he had in Joseph’s charge and paid no attention to anything he had except the food he ate. Now Joseph was an attractive person and fine looking.” Genesis 39:6
Our woman of the Bible today is Potiphar’s wife. If we truly look at the women of the Bible I think we should look at ALL of them, the good, the bad, and well you know the rest.
We don’t know Potiphar’s wife’s name, but she played an important part in Joseph’s story. I highly recommend reading his story, which starts in Genesis 37 and goes through Genesis 50. It is a wonderful story of faith and remaining true to God.
Today’s verse tells us that Joseph is a slave in Potiphar’s house. God had blessed Joseph so greatly that Potiphar put him in charge of everything in his house so that he paid no attention to anything but the food he ate. I think this is where our trouble begins, it sounds like he likely wasn’t paying attention to his wife. The Bible describes Joseph as attractive and good looking, we don’t know what Potiphar looked like. Since Potiphar was captain of the guard he was likely much older than Joseph.
So here we have a woman of wealth, who’s probably done everthing, obtained all the things that she wants and is bored. The very next verse says, “Then after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph, and she said, lie with me.” Having an affair with Joseph may not have been what she really wanted, she may have just wanted her husband’s attention. She also saw what great trust her husband had in Joseph and may have even been jealous of Joseph. Hurting people hurt people. She set her course on doing something and this would kill two birds with one stone, get her husbands attention and get rid of Joseph.
She likely knew that Joseph was devout and that he would not lie with her. He told her that he would not do wrong to Potiphar who had treated him so well, and he would not sin against God. She kept after him though and finally one day she caught him alone in a room and grabbed for him, he pulled away but left his garment. She took that opportunity to call out to the others in the house and accuse Joseph of trying to rape her. Poor Potiphar had to believe his wife, he got mad and put Joseph in prison. I wonder who he was really mad at, surely not Joseph, but what could he do. Verse 21 is my favorite part of the story, it says, “But the Lord was with Joseph.”
Now what can we learn from Potiphar’s wife. She let herself get distracted and deceived, spiritual warfare. We see too that bad behavior gets attention. On Joseph’s part he reacted the right way in not lying with her, but he knew she was after him and should have never been alone with her in a room, that’s on him. We must be aware of the pitfalls and traps around us and not fall into them.
Finally, if the Lord was with Joseph how could He have let this happen? He knew Joseph was innocent. Free will. The Lord is with you through good and bad, some situations we have control over and some we don’t. Remember Joseph got himself caught in a room alone with her, he could have avoided that. Though bad things happened God was still with Joseph because he ultimately did the right thing.
The obvious decisions of right and wrong we know, but the smaller ones can trip us up. The key is, to keep the faith.