Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.CHAPTER 39 Joseph In Egypt
1. In Potiphar’s house (Genesis 39:1-6)
2. Tempted by Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39:7-18)
3. Joseph in prison (Genesis 39:19-23)
Potiphar, the master of Joseph, was an officer of Pharaoh. His name means “devoted to Ra,” a god of Egypt. Why is it stated a number of times that Potiphar was an Egyptian? Discoveries have shown that Egypt had come at that time under a new dynasty; therefore it is repeatedly stated that Potiphar, the Egyptian, was retained in his official position. Joseph in Egypt is the type of Christ among the Gentiles. Jehovah blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake.
The temptation of Potiphar’s wife brings out the marvelous character of Joseph. The critics in rejecting this story have dug their own pit into which they have fallen. A number of critics (Von Bohlen, Tuch, and others) claim “that Joseph could never have seen his master’s wife, for the women were secluded and had separate apartments.” Monuments and Egyptian paintings have shown that the women were not secluded, but mingled freely with the men. Woman in the hieroglyphics is called neb-t-en pa, which means “mistress of the house.” An ancient papyrus was discovered containing “the romance of the two brothers.” It contains an episode similar to that of our chapter. It fully bears out the fact that the temptation of Joseph is not a myth and it is thought that this event in Joseph’s life formed the basis for the romance of the two brothers.
Joseph suffered innocently, but the prison in which he was confined becomes the high road to power and glory. How much greater were the sufferings of Him, who was not only innocent, but holy.