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Genesis Chapter 39 Bible Study

Genesis Chapter 39

We are know back to the chronological line of Chapter 37 and Joseph being sold into slavery.

The history of Joseph is one of the most remarkable, interesting, and instructive of any contained in the Scriptures or elsewhere. It affords us the clearest evidence of the providence of God conducting all things with amazing and stupendous wisdom, and making them “work together for good to those that love him;” causing even the wickedness of men to become subservient to the accomplishment of its designs.


Verse 01. 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.


Key Phrase: And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; By the Ishmaelites, as we have seen in

Genesis 37:28.

Key Phrase: Potiphar an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian; His name

signifies the fruit of Pot or Phut, that is, the son or grandson of one of that name.

Note: Which might be common in Egypt, since it was the name of a son of Ham, Genesis 10:6,

from whom the land of Egypt is called the land of Ham, Psalm 105:23.

Key Phrase: he bought him: that is, "Joseph" of the hands of the Ishmaelites; What they gave

for him we know, but what they sold him for to Potiphar is not said. No doubt

they got a good price for him.


Verse 02. And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the

house of his master the Egyptian.


Key Phrase: And the Lord was with Joseph; Blessing him with his gracious presence, with

discoveries of His love, and communion with himself. Though destitute of the

means of grace and ordinances of worship he enjoyed in his father's house; The

Lord favoring him with bodily health and protecting him from all evils and enemies.

Key Phrase: and he was a prosperous man; This is in reference to worldly things, since we

know that He had spiritual favor owing to the presence of God with him and his

blessing on him would extend to worldly realm also.

Key Phrase: and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian; He continued there and did

not attempt escape. His employment lay chiefly, if not altogether, in the house,

and herein he was prosperous and continued to be so as long as he was in it.

Note: The Jewish writers say, he remained here twelve months. Near the pyramids built in the

neighborhood of Memphis, as is affirmed unanimously by the ancients. (cont.)

To this day in Egyptthere is hill, on which they say the house of Potiphar was built,

whose servant the patriarch Joseph was, and some of the rubbish of the bricks are yet

to be seen.


Verse 03. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that

he did to prosper in his hand.


Key Phrase: And his master saw that the Lord was with him; Potiphar knew nothing of the

spiritual and gracious presence of God that was with Joseph, he was no judge of

that. Yet he perceived by the ingenuity of his mind, his ready and speedy

learning of the Egyptian language, his dexterity in business and by the prudence

and faithfulness with which he did everything. Potiphar knew he was highly

favored by the divine Being. The great endowments bestowed upon him and was

an extraordinary person for his age.

Key Phrase: and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand; Though Potiphar

might have no knowledge of the true Jehovah, whose name he uses. Yet he might

have a notion of a supreme Being, and that all outward prosperity was owing to

Joseph. Knowing Joseph to be an Hebrew and Jehovah to be the God of the

Hebrews, he imputes all the prosperity that attended Joseph and his services unto

Joseph’s God.


Verse 04. 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.


Key Phrase: And Joseph found grace in his sight; In the sight of his master, as he did in the

sight of God, he had favor both with God and man. His master had a high esteem

of him, a great value for him and showed him much kindness and respect.

Key Phrase: and he served him; Readily, willingly, cheerfully, and faithfully. He may have

served him personally. His master took such a liking to him that he selected him

from the rest of his servants to wait on him personally, what we now call a "valet

de chambre", whose business was to dress and undress him, to wait upon him at

the table, to simply be his personal assistant.

Key Phrase: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his

hand; That is, after he had served him some time, in the capacity of a valet, he

advanced him, and made him the head servant, or steward of his house, and

committed all his business, cash, and accounts to his care, and put all his servants

under him.

Note: I like to call this section the learning curve to rule a nation.


Verse 05. 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.


Key Phrase: And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house,

and over all that he had; How long he was in this office is not certain. There

must have been some time for the following observation.

Key Phrase; that the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; That is blessed

much more than before. Everything under his hands succeeded before, but now

even more abundantly. Potiphar's family was blessed with health, his substance

grew and increased. Potiphar grew rich and wealthy and abounded with all good

things. The blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house.

Key Phrase: and in the field; his domestic affairs prospered, his fields brought forth

plentifully, his cattle were fruitful and stood well; Everything belonging to him

within doors and outside of it happily succeeded, through the blessing of God upon

it, and all for Joseph's sake.


Note: The time for fields to grow and cattle to prosper is an indication of time that had passed.


Verse 06. 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.


Key Phrase: And he left all he had in Joseph's hand; His master took no care of anything, but

committed all to him, trusted him with his money and with his accounts, and with

the management of all his affairs, such confidence did he put in him.

Key Phrase; and he knew not aught he had, save the bread which he did eat; Some scholars

understand or interpret this is of Joseph. That though he had all his master's

substance in his hands, yet he made no use of it for himself, enjoyed nothing of it

but the bread he ate; It is the observation of one Jewish writer that he ate

nothing but dry bread, and yet, like Daniel and his companions, was well favored

and of a goodly countenance or health. My discernment or interpretation of it is

that Joseph's master, who was so satisfied with Joseph's good management and

fidelity, that he never concerned himself about his affairs. It would mean Potiphar

did not know how they stood or what money he had in his house, or what he had

possession of. All that he regarded was his food, according to Aben Ezra the sense

is, that Joseph had all committed to his care, except the bread, or making pro-

vision of that for him and his family, which he might not touch being a Hebrew.

Key Phrase; and Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured; Being like his mother, as

Aben Ezra observes, see Genesis 29:17 Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel had a

lovely figure and was beautiful. this is remarked for the sake of what follows, and

as leading on to that.


Verse 07. And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon

Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.


Key Phrase: And it came to pass after these things; Joseph had by this time been nearly ten

years in Potiphar's house. Which would make him about 27 or 28 years old.

Key Phrase; that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; He being a handsome young

man, caught her eye, and maybe even her heart. Led her on to lust after him and

frequently fed her eyes with amorous glances at him.

Key Phrase; lie with me; Now directly if there being both opportunity and convenience,

perhaps her chamber was near. This was a very great temptation to a young man

in single life and living well, from his mistress. Who had it greatly in her power to

make him should he consent, or ruin him should he deny.


Verse 08. 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;


Key Phrase: But he refused, and said unto his master's wife; Reasoning with her about the

evil nature of the crime she tempted him to, which to commit would be ingrate-

tude, as well as injury to his master, and a sin against God.

Key Phrase; behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house; Is unaware of

what goods or money are in it or all that he owns.

Key Phrase: and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand: Such confidence did he

have in him, wherefore to do such an injury to him as to commit adultery with his

wife, would be making a horrible return on such trust. Acting in a most ungrateful

manner on his part for such favor shown him.


Verse 09. 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?


Key Phrase: There is none greater in this house than I; Not any of the servants of the house,

he was the chief of them, who had all the rest under him. Joseph had authority

over all the servants, and everything in the house at his command, and the free

use of everything his master had.

Key Phrase; neither hath he kept back anything from me but thee, because thou art his wife;

As the reason not only why his master retained her for his own use, but why he

should not touch her, and why she should not solicit him to it.

Key Phrase: how then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God? These words are

emphatic in the original. True meaning is "this! this wickedness! this great one!"

Adultery was reckoned a great sin among all nation’s and had Joseph committed

it, would have been greatly aggravated by the favors his master had conferred

upon him. Not only a sin against himself, his soul and body, and against his

master. But above all a sin against God, contrary to his holy nature, revealed

will, and righteous law. All which prevailed upon Joseph to refuse the offer made

him, which he could not comply with, in honor or with a good conscience.


Verse 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.


Key Phrase: And it came to pass, that as she spake to Joseph day by day; Continually, without

ceasing hoping in time to prevail upon him to comply with her desires. The

temptation, was strong, very ensnaring, urgent, and frequent. Which required

the more grace and spiritual strength to resist. A test of Joseph faith.

Key Phrase; that he hearkened not unto her; Not only did not yield to her, but would not give

her any communication, at least as little as possible he could, lest he should be

overcome by her.

Key Phrase: to lie by her, or to be with her; She used every attempt to get him o lie by her, if

he would not lie with her. Joseph would not yield to either, nor to be in her

company, and have any conversation with her, at least as little as possible, that he

might not be in the way of temptation and be led into it.


Verse 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.


Key Phrase: And it came to pass about this time; About a week, or a month, or rather a year,

as Aben Ezra thinks, after she first began her solicitations to him.

Key Phrase: that Joseph went into the house to do his business; To complete his masters

affairs, to inspect the accounts and settle them as he would every day.

Key Phrase; and there was none of the men of the house there within; Having all gone to a

public festival, or finished their work, however there were none in that part of the

house where Joseph was as we will find out in a couple of verses.

Note: Joseph would not have attended any of the festivals of the people because of their

pagan beliefs.


Verse 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.


Key Phrase: And she caught him by his garment, saying, lie with me; It is very probable that

before this time, as soon as ever she began to speak to him, he got away as fast as

he could, so he would not hear her. Therefore she now laid hold on his garment,

in order to detain him, that she might have time to parley with him and so prevail

in her desires for him.

Key Phrase: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out; It was his out-

ward loose garment she laid hold on, out of which he slipped himself out of. So

got clear of her, and ran away, ot out of the house as fast as he could. This he did

because he would not struggle with his mistress for his garment. Which no doubt

by his strength he could have got from her. Also partly because if he should be

handling her and have carnal desires overtake him and so be overcome with her

temptation as to commit sin.


Verse 13. And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and

was fled forth,


Note: If he was to flee and leave his outer garment in her hand, she knew then that she would

never have him as she wanted.


Verse 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:


Key Phrase: That she called unto the men of her house; Of that part of the house which

belonged to her and her eunuchs that waited upon her. That were in another part

of the home, at some distance.

Key Phase: and spake unto them; when they came to her: Saying, see, he hath brought in an

Hebrew unto us to mock us. She means her husband, whom through contempt,

and in her passion, she does not name, having lost all affection for him, as her

advances and how she her addresses to Joseph showed.

Note: she calls an Hebrew by way of reproach, and with a view to set her servants against him.

Key Phrase: he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice; Both of them

lies. It was she that solicited him to lie with her and not he. Nor did she cry out at

all, if she did, how come she was not heard by them. As well as when she called

unto them it shows that she had to summon them. Thus her impure love and lust

was turned into hatred, which put her upon framing lies and calamities.


Verse 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.


Note: She is telling them what she wants them to be witness too. Not what really happened.