WHEN TEMPTED TO SIN
Genesis 39:1-20 April 13 2008
Genesis 39 relates an important instance of Joseph’s
faithfulness to the Lord while living in Egypt. Joseph
practiced his faith when others might have been resentful.
His loyalty to his master Potiphar resulted in an attempted
seduction by his master’s wife. The short-term result was
Joseph’s undeserved imprisonment. Yet, in spite of the
constant setbacks, Joseph knew God was with him. The
Lord’s faithfulness in blessing Joseph proved that the evil
schemes of others cannot prevent God’s plans from
succeeding through those who practice their faith.
1. Be Spiritually Sensitive (Gen. 39:1-4)
Gen. 39:1 Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt.
Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials,
the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites
who had taken him there. 39:2 The LORD was with Joseph
and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian
master. 39:3 When his master saw that the LORD was with
him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did,
39:4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his
attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and
he entrusted to his care everything he owned.
(Gen.37:36). Taken down to Egypt. Joseph’s experiences
in Egypt, as well as those of his youth in Canaan (Gen. 37:23
-24), are similar to Israel’s national experiences in Egypt.
Initially, because of God’s blessing, Joseph attains a position
of honor (in Potiphar’s house); he is then unjustly thrown into
prison, his only crime being his attractiveness and moral
integrity; and finally he is raised up among the Egyptians as
the one who, because God is with him, holds their lives in his
hands. Similarly Israel was first received with honor in Egypt
(because of Joseph); then she was subjected to cruel bondage,
her only crime being God’s evident blessings upon her; and finally
God raised her up in the eyes of the Egyptians (through the
ministry of Moses) as they came fearfully to recognize that these
people and their God did indeed hold their lives in their hands. The
author of Genesis knew the events of the exodus and shows how
the history of God and the patriarchs moved forward to and
foreshadowed that event (Gen.15:13-16; 48:21-22; 50:24-25).
(Gen.39:2-6) (Gen 37:20-23). Though Joseph’s situation
changed drastically, God’s relationship to him remained the
same. (Gen.39:2) The Lord was with Joseph. (Gen.26:3). This
fact, mentioned several times here (Gen 37:3,21,23), is
stressed also by Stephen (Acts 7:9).
2. Be Spiritually Oriented (Gen. 39:6b-9)
Gen. 39:6 So he left in Joseph’s care everything he had; with
Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except
the food he ate. Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, 39:7
and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said,
“Come to bed with me!” 39:8 But he refused. “With me in charge,”
he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in
the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. 39:9
No one is greater in this house than I am. 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 God?”
Left in Joseph’s care everything he had. Joseph had full
responsibility for the welfare of Potiphar’s house, as later he
would have full responsibility in prison (Gen.37:22-23) and later
still in all Egypt (Gen.37:41:41). Always this Israelite came to
hold the welfare of his “world” in his hands —but always by the
blessing and overruling of God, never by his own wits, as his
father Jacob had so long attempted. In the role that he played in
Israel’s history and in the manner in which he lived it, Joseph
was a true representative of Israel. Took notice of. Looked with
desire at. The phrase is used in the same sense in Akkadian in
Section 25 of the Code of Hammurapi. Sin against God. All sin
is against God, first and foremost (Psalms 51:4).
3. Be Spiritually Determined (Gen.39:10-15,19-20)
Gen. 39:10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he
refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. 39:11 One
day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of
the household servants was inside. 39:12 She 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. 39:13 When she saw that
he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house,
39:14 she called her household servants. “Look,” she said to
them, “this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us!
He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. 39:19 When
his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is
how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. 39:20
Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place
where the king’s prisoners were confined. But while Joseph
was there in the prison,
Though she spoke to Joseph day after day, He refused.
Samson twice succumbed under similar pressure (Jdg 14:17;
16:16-17). Tthis Hebrew. (Gen.39:17; 14:13). (Gen.39:20-23)
(Gen.39:2-6,20) The place where the king’s prisoners were
confined. Though understandably angry (Gen. 39:19), Potiphar
put Joseph in the “house of the captain of the guard”
(Gen.40:3 )—certainly not the worst prison available.
After the brief interlude in Genesis 38 that
describes Judah’s exploits with Tamar, Genesis 39 focuses
on Joseph. He is the dominant figure through the end of the
book. As we shall see Joseph became great, accomplished
much, and represented God well. before any of that,
ironically, he first became a slave.