Today’s reading comes from Genesis 38-40. Before reading I invite you to pray and asked God to speak to you as you read his word.
What do you do when something isn’t right but there is nothing you can do about it? When Joseph ended up in Egypt after being sold by his brothers to the Ishmaelite’s he is then bought by Potiphar an official of Pharaoh. The Lord is with Joseph and he begins to prosper under Potiphar’s house and his master recognizes this and gives him command of his entire house.
Now Joseph was seventeen when he was sold by his brothers, so he at this time is either in his late teens or early twenties. Potiphar’s wife sees this handsome strapping young man and her heart burns with sexual desire for him. She tries to seduce Joseph but each time she does he takes the noble route and turns from her advances. One unfortunate day Joseph and his master’s wife are alone in the house with no one around. She thinks this is her chance but as she grabs Joseph by the cloak he flees. Sadly his cloak is in her hands and she screams rape.
When Potiphar returns home he is confronted with his wife’s allegations against Joseph. Now the Bible describes his reaction … “When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. Joseph's master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined.” Genesis 39:19-20 NIV84. Potiphar was angry, but who was he angry with?
Was he angry at Joseph or was he angry with his wife? Now what you are about to read is only my speculation and not fact, simply some food for thought … I am sure Potiphar knew his wife. This kind of character seems out of sorts for Joseph. But maybe it wasn’t for his wife. However, she is crying rape, there are no witnesses, and there is no proof he can offer so what is he to do? He has the legal ability to have Joseph put to death for such a crime. But he opts to not. He puts him in prison and in such a way that Joseph becomes a high level servant to the chief of the guards. This is all speculation on my part, but maybe Potiphar had reacted out of anger towards his wife for costing him his best servant.
Now I do not know if that conjecture is the realities of history or my optimistic spirit. But I do know that sometimes we are faced with tough decisions in life. Sometimes the best thing to do is to do the very best for the person who wronged us. Certainly teaching and discipline need to happen, but in a way that allows the person who wronged us to benefit and prosper. How can you react different in the future and show grace, mercy, and love to those all around you?