The Message

Genesis 39

1After Joseph had been taken to Egypt by the Ishmaelites, Potiphar an Egyptian, one of Pharaoh’s officials and the manager of his household, bought him from them.

2-6 As it turned out, God was with Joseph and things went very well with him. He ended up living in the home of his Egyptian master. His master recognized that God was with him, saw that God was working for good in everything he did. He became very fond of Joseph and made him his personal aide. He put him in charge of all his personal affairs, turning everything over to him. From that moment on, God blessed the home of the Egyptian—all because of Joseph. The blessing of God spread over everything he owned, at home and in the fields, and all Potiphar had to concern himself with was eating three meals a day.

6-7 Joseph was a strikingly handsome man. As time went on, his master’s wife became infatuated with Joseph and one day said, “Sleep with me.”

8-9 He wouldn’t do it. He said to his master’s wife, “Look, with me here, my master doesn’t give a second thought to anything that goes on here—he’s put me in charge of everything he owns. He treats me as an equal. The only thing he hasn’t turned over to me is you. You’re his wife, after all! How could I violate his trust and sin against God?”

10 She pestered him day after day after day, but he stood his ground. He refused to go to bed with her.

11-15 On one of these days he came to the house to do his work and none of the household servants happened to be there. She grabbed him by his cloak, saying, “Sleep with me!” He left his coat in her hand and ran out of the house. When she realized that he had left his coat in her hand and run outside, she called to her house servants: “Look—this Hebrew shows up and before you know it he’s trying to seduce us. He tried to make love to me but I yelled as loud as I could. With all my yelling and screaming, he left his coat beside me here and ran outside.”

16-18 She kept his coat right there until his master came home. She told him the same story. She said, “The Hebrew slave, the one you brought to us, came after me and tried to use me for his plaything. When I yelled and screamed, he left his coat with me and ran outside.”

19-23 When his master heard his wife’s story, telling him, “These are the things your slave did to me,” he was furious. Joseph’s master took him and threw him into the jail where the king’s prisoners were locked up. But there in jail God was still with Joseph: He reached out in kindness to him; he put him on good terms with the head jailer. The head jailer put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners—he ended up managing the whole operation. The head jailer gave Joseph free rein, never even checked on him, because God was with him; whatever he did God made sure it worked out for the best.

New International Reader's Version

Genesis 39

Joseph and the Wife of Potiphar

1Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. An Egyptian named Potiphar had bought him from the Ishmaelite traders who had taken him there. Potiphar was one of Pharaoh’s officials. He was the captain of the palace guard.

The Lord was with Joseph. He gave him great success. Joseph lived in Potiphar’s house. Joseph’s master saw that the Lord was with him. He saw that the Lord made Joseph successful in everything he did. So Potiphar was pleased with Joseph and made him his attendant. He put Joseph in charge of his house. He trusted Joseph to take care of everything he owned. From that time on, the Lord blessed Potiphar’s family and servants because of Joseph. He blessed everything Potiphar had in his house and field. So Joseph took good care of everything Potiphar owned. With Joseph in charge, Potiphar didn’t have to worry about anything except the food he ate.

Joseph was strong and handsome. After a while, his master’s wife noticed Joseph. She said to him, “Come to bed with me!”

But he refused. “My master has put me in charge,” he told her. “Now he doesn’t have to worry about anything in the house. He trusts me to take care of everything he owns. No one in this house is in a higher position than I am. My master hasn’t held anything back from me, except you. You are his wife. So how could I do an evil thing like that? How could I sin against God?” 10 She spoke to Joseph day after day. But he told her he wouldn’t go to bed with her. He didn’t even want to be with her.

11 One day Joseph went into the house to take care of his duties. None of the family servants was inside. 12 Potiphar’s wife grabbed him by his coat. “Come to bed with me!” she said. But he left his coat in her hand. And he ran out of the house.

13 She saw that he had left his coat in her hand and had run out of the house. 14 So she called her servants. “Look,” she said to them, “this Hebrew slave has been brought here to make fun of us! He came in here to force me to have sex with him. But I screamed for help. 15 He heard my scream. So he left his coat beside me and ran out of the house.”

16 She kept Joseph’s coat with her until Potiphar came home. 17 Then she told him her story. She said, “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to rape me. 18 But I screamed for help. So he left his coat beside me and ran out of the house.”

19 Potiphar’s wife told him, “That’s how your slave treated me.” When Joseph’s master heard her story, he became very angry. 20 So he put Joseph in prison. It was the place where the king’s prisoners were kept.

While Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lord was with him. He was kind to him. So the man running the prison was pleased with Joseph. 22 He put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners. He made him responsible for everything done there. 23 The man who ran the prison didn’t pay attention to anything in Joseph’s care. That’s because the Lord was with Joseph. He gave Joseph success in everything he did.