Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Genesis 39:6-10 Plot and Purity

"..Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master's wife took notice of Joseph and said, 'Come to bed with me!'  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.  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?'  And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her."  (Genesis 39:6-10 NIV)


Joseph continued his faithful service to his Egyptian master, but it was not long before Potiphar's wife noticed the handsome young man.  Her command was quite direct and to the point.  Perhaps she believed that Joseph would have to do whatever she told him to do.  However, Joseph soon puts that belief to rest.  He reminds the woman that Potiphar has given him a position of great responsibility and trust.  By telling her that no one in the household was greater than himself, he subtly lets her know that he was not obliged to carry out her demands.  He reminds her that his master has withheld nothing in the household from him except her, for she is Potiphar's wife.  This, too, is a subtle reminder to the woman that she is already someone's wife, and, as such, also has a position of great trust and responsibility.  Besides, Joseph serves another Master.  How could he do such a wicked thing and sin against God?

Obviously the woman is not acknowledging Joseph's rather diplomatic refusal.  She continues ('day after day' -- v.30) to try to seduce him.  Joseph refuses her overtures and, with a wisdom far beyond his years, refuses to even entertain her requests to at least spend time with her, for he realizes that her intentions are wicked.  Also, being a young man himself, he knows that he could easily fall into this temptation if he lets any type of casual contact continue. 

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