What Can We Learn From The Account Of Potiphar’s Wife?

W

What Can We Learn From The Account Of Potiphar’s Wife?

The story of Yoseph and Potiphar’s wife in Genesis 39 contains some obvious lessons about fidelity in the face of sexual temptation, and there are also some subtler points to be found about the loyal character of Yahuah. The story is dramatic: Yacob’s son Yoseph is in Egypt, where he is Potiphar’s servant and the most trusted overseer in his household. Potiphar’s wife sees that Yoseph “was well-built and handsome, and after a while . . . said, ‘Come to bed with me!’” (Genesis 39:6–7).

Potiphar’s wife tries to seduce Yoseph, but he staunchly refuses her advances: “My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against Elohim?” (Genesis 39:9). Yoseph is loyal both to Potiphar and to Yahuah. Potiphar’s wife doesn’t give up; she “spoke to Yoseph day after day, [but] he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her” (verse 10). Note the wise course Yoseph takes, choosing not to be alone with Potiphar’s wife if he could help it.

But then came a turning point in Yoseph’s life: “One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. [Potiphar’s wife] caught him by his cloak and said, ‘Come to bed with me!’ But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house” (Genesis 39:11–12). Potiphar’s wife, spurned again, stands there with Yoseph’s cloak in her hand, and she chooses an angry, vindictive plan: “She called her household servants. ‘Look,’ she said to them, ‘this Hebrew . . . came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house’” (verses 14–15).

When Potiphar came home, his wife showed him Yoseph’s cloak and repeated the lie: “As soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house. . . . This is how your slave treated me” (Genesis 39:18–19). Potiphar, outraged at Yoseph’s supposed betrayal, put him in prison (verse 20).

There is much in the story of Potiphar’s wife about resisting sexual temptation. A brash woman overtly tempts a man, pulling on his clothes and saying, “Lie with me.” The man flees from her so suddenly that he actually leaves his garment in her hand. Yoseph doesn’t stand there, gazing at the woman, considering whether or not he should sleep with her. He immediately gets out of there (see 1 Corinthians 6:18).

Yoseph’s wise handling of the situation with Potiphar’s wife directly contrasts the foolhardy actions of the simple man in Proverbs. Solomon sees a fool walking toward the house of an adulterous woman (Proverbs 7:8). When the fool drew near, “she took hold of him and kissed him . . . with a brazen face” (verse 13). Rather than run away like Yoseph, the foolish man stayed to listen to her: “With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk” (verse 21). And he paid a high price for his foolishness: “All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter” (verse 22). One could argue the Yoseph, too, paid a high price—his virtue landed him in prison—but one has only to read the rest of Genesis to see the blessings Yahuah had in store for Yoseph.

It is interesting to note that Genesis 39 does not say anything about Yoseph’s feelings for Potiphar’s wife: was he attracted to her? Did he find her beautiful or interesting? How long did they have a perfectly normal and friendly relationship—servant and mistress—before she chose to attempt a seduction? None of this is enumerated. The heart of the issue is this: Potiphar’s wife promised happiness and sensual satisfaction, but Yoseph saw sin for what it is, refusing to do “this great wickedness” (Genesis 39:9,). Yoseph feared Yahuah, knowing that all sin is ultimately against Him (see Psalm 51:4). In saying “no” to Potiphar’s wife, Yoseph showed himself to be wise: “The fear of Yahuah is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding” (Psalm 111:10).

The incident with Potiphar’s wife is bookended by two passages that speak of Yahuah’s love and blessing to Yoseph. Yoseph found favor in the eyes of the Egyptians among whom he lived and rose to a position of prominence in the house of Potiphar (Genesis 39:1–6). Yoseph’s success and position was the direct result of Yahuah’s blessing (verses 2–3). When Yoseph was wrongly accused and sent to prison, Yahuah remained faithful. Yahuah “showed [Yoseph] kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden” (verse 21). Soon, the keeper of the prison had put Yoseph in charge of the other prisoners and trusted him so fully that he no longer paid attention to anything that was under Yoseph’s control (verses 22–23). Everything Yoseph did succeeded because “Yahuah was with Yoseph” (verse 23).

The story of Potiphar’s wife is about loyalty as much as it is about resisting temptation. Potiphar’s wife was disloyal to her husband, but Yoseph was loyal both to Potiphar and to Yahuah. Yahuah shows us amazing loyalty and faithfulness. It is part of His character. He is “compassionate and gracious . . . slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6). “For the word of Yahuah is right and true; he is faithful in all he does” (Psalm 33:4). Yoseph’s desire to be faithful and loyal to Potiphar was in response to Yahuah’s faithfulness to Him; Yoseph was reflecting Yahuah’s character, which is what the righteous do. “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Yahusha did” (1 John 2:6).

When Potiphar’s wife stirred her husband’s jealousy and made him throw Yoseph in prison unjustly, Yahuah was still there, comforting and blessing Yoseph. From this we can learn that, even if we are treated unfairly in this life, Yahuah will never forsake His servants (Hebrews 13:5).

The lies Potiphar’s wife told against Yoseph led to his promotion. Every lie told against you shall work in your favor. 

Source:

https://www.gotquestions.org/Potiphars-wife.html

Screenshot

About the author

Gera'el Toma

A highly esteemed elder in the faith of the Natsarim, the first century believers in Messiah Yahusha, and a treasured member of the Remnant House Team.

Gera'el Toma (Gerald Thomas) is an internationally recognized and respected teacher of the Holy Scriptures as originally written in the Hebrew language.

Add Comment

Leave a Reply

Gera'el Toma

A highly esteemed elder in the faith of the Natsarim, the first century believers in Messiah Yahusha, and a treasured member of the Remnant House Team.

Gera'el Toma (Gerald Thomas) is an internationally recognized and respected teacher of the Holy Scriptures as originally written in the Hebrew language.

Get in touch

Quickly communicate covalent niche markets for maintainable sources. Collaboratively harness resource sucking experiences whereas cost effective meta-services.