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Bible 101 Lesson 8A

Jim Parker

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Bible 101 lesson 8A - Little Joe goes to Egypt

Gen 39:1-5 Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there.
The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had in the house and in the field.
Thus he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate.

Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.

The Lord was going to use Joseph so He made sure that Joseph was not sold as a slave to work in the field or to do other manual labor. He was sold to a high-ranking officer, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard, a man named Potiphar.

Joseph soon demonstrated his abilities (God given abilities given so that God’s will would be done) and Potiphar saw that whatever Joseph did prospered so he put Joseph in charge of his entire household, his fields and all his possessions. He found Joseph to be so good at overseeing that he felt confident enough not to be checking on Joseph to make sure he was doing a good job and not stealing from him or taking advantage of his position in Potiphar’s house.

Joseph was perfect in his actions and character and was completely trustworthy. But, there was one problem: “Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.

Gen 39:7-10 And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. “There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her.

The problem was that Potiphar’s wife had “the hots” for this handsome Hebrew overseer and wanted Joseph to lay with her. But Joseph wasn’t stupid. He knew that it would be a sin against God and against his master, Potiphar and he most likely also knew that doing as she asked would give her control over him. All she would have to do is say that he forced himself on her and he could be executed on the spot.

But, that’s what she does anyway. She accused Joseph of trying to rape her. (Sounds like our politicians today…) And Potiphar put Joseph in prison.

That he put Joseph in prison is interesting. He could have just had him killed or tortured and then killed. It would not be unreasonable that Potiphar would be enraged by the accusation and have been extremely harsh and merciless in his punishment of Joseph. But he didn’t do that. He didn’t even have Joseph beaten. He put Joseph in prison and, since he put him in, he could later let him out. Perhaps he thought he might let Joseph out after he got rid of his lusty wife?

Gen 39:21-23 But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made it prosper.

Because the LORD was with Joseph, even in prison Joseph prospered and Joseph is soon made the overseer of all the prisoners and all that they did. (The were probably used as slave labor in building projects or digging canals rather like our chain gangs.)

NOTE: The Lord was not with Joseph because he was so handsome and smart and capable. The Lord’s blessings had nothing to do with Joseph. The Lord was with Joseph because He was going to use Joseph to bring His plan to completion. God was using Joseph and God gave Joseph gifts of administration and of the interpretation of dreams so that Joseph would be able to fulfill God’s plan for Israel. (The tribe of Jacob)

Joseph is a link in the chain of God’s plan that will run through Joseph to Moses to David to Jesus and to the coming of the kingdom of God in fullness on earth.

So when the Lord starts using you don’t you pay it any mind.
He could have used the dog next door if He’d been so inclined.

( Don Francisco’s lyrics in his song about Balaam the Prophet. )

Chapter 40 Summary

The chief butler and the baker of Pharaoh both displeased him and were thrown into prison with Joseph.

They each had a dream and were sad because no one could interpret it for tem. But, Joseph was able to because God had given Joseph that gift in order for Joseph to fulfill God’s purpose for Him. Joseph told them that the dream of the butler was that he would be restored to his position and that the baker would be put to death.

Three days later, that is exactly what happened.

Joseph had asked the butler to remember him and to mention him to Pharaoh when he was restored to his former position as chief butler to Pharaoh.

Gen 40:14 But remember me when it is well with you, and please show kindness to me; make mention of me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this house.

But the Butler promptly forgot all about Joseph.
 
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