70 some comments later and its official. You girls who said two weeks ago that you lack motivation to get into the Bible, or have trouble understanding or applying what you read there, have been transformed!
Yes, the book of Genesis reads like a soap opera and Joseph was a seriously hot leading man. Remember how we read that Rachel was beautiful in both face and figure? Well, Joseph had inherited his mother’s all around good looks. Perhaps Potiphar was much older than his wife, as some of you suggested. Or perhaps he had put on a few pounds once he had nothing to worry about but the food he would eat. But even if this was not the case – even if Potiphar was quite a catch himself – Joseph could easily turn a woman’s head. Especially a gal who is feeling lonely and lacking any purpose in life beyond looking good as the wife of a wealthy man.
So we know Joseph was young and well built. Also, as Hebrew and not an Egyptian, he would’ve seemed exotically different from all the other men Mrs. P knew. And that foreign accent he spoke with would cause Mrs. P to listen intently to Joseph’s every word – who can resist a handsome man with a charming foreign accent?
Plus, through out Joseph’s entire story, the Bible tells us the Lord was with Joseph. He was chosen and favored by God. You can’t miss it when someone is chosen and favored by God. You might not understand it, but you get the distinct feeling you are witnessing some form of greatness and you are somehow drawn to it. In a short amount of time, Joseph had been put in charge of the entire household, and he ran it well. So now you have a handsome man, with a charming accent, running Mrs. P’s household and effortlessly meeting her every need – but one.
I’ve never been the kind of girl to be attracted to the “bad boys.” I know some women are like that – a dangerous looking rebel in a black leather jacket catches their fancy. Not me, I always like the really upstanding guy … the handsome leader with strong integrity. So I can imagine how Mrs. P would be attracted to Joseph. I am a happily married woman but I too might find it tempting to have Joseph in my house day after day.
I’m fairly confident I wouldn’t throw myself at him as Mrs. P did, but for safe measure, I would try to avoid him. I would busy myself with other projects that interested me. I would make a more concerted effort to connect with my husband. I would get out of the house more often and meet the girlfriends for lunch so I wasn’t starved for company. And I would pray like crazy. But, sadly, Mrs. P was not a believer in the one true God.
When she first blatantly propositions Joseph to sleep with her (I’m betting there was a whole bunch of temptation and flirtation leading up to this moment that he was ignoring), he declines her with three reasons. He doesn’t want to upset Potiphar who trusts him, he doesn’t want to risk his status as Potiphar’s right hand man by taking the one thing Potiphar forbade him, and He doesn’t want to sin against God. Upstanding. Integrity. All the way.
Perhaps she saw this as an upping of the ante on a challenge she was determined to win. Or perhaps that only made her like him more. Ladies, we may find ourselves strongly attracted to a powerful, upstanding man … perhaps a man who is a good provider… or a man who is a terrific husband and father ... or perhaps a man who is a leader in our place of work or in our church … the kind of man that would never commit adultery or have sex outside of marriage. And we daydream about how great it would be to have a man like that. We imagine having him or being his. We start to flirt with him and look for ways to be alone with him. Here is the deal ladies, if we could get that man to welcome our advances, he would cease to be the kind of man that we found so attractive in the first place.
Thankfully, Joseph continued to deny Mrs. P’s advances. This is the point in the story where it becomes clear she is different from the other gals we’ve been reading. She doesn’t just momentarily fall to Satan’s temptation in the garden. She doesn’t just want to have a baby with her husband so badly she’ll try anything that the customs of the day will condone. No, Mrs. P is looking to break laws and she has had the moral error of her ways pointed out to her as well by Joseph. Yet she won’t quit pursing the forbidden fruit.
She spirals downward from there in the story. When she fears someone may have seen the uncloaked Joseph running from her room, and she fears Joseph might tell others the truth to explain, she quickly weaves a lie to place him in the wrong – her word against his. The word of Potiphar’s wife against that of a foreign slave. She’ll just have him killed, according to the laws, and thereby destroy the evidence of her transgressions.
Only I’m not so sure Potiphar fully believed his wife. Yes, the text does say Potiphar was furious when he heard his wife’s story. No doubt, he was upset at what was going on – he had a perfectly good arrangement up until now. Potiphar knew Joseph to be a trustworthy man, so this accusation had to seem out of character. Yet what was Potiphar going to do? His options were: 1) Kill a man who may be innocent, or 2) Let the man live who may have tried to rape his wife. He decided to throw Joseph in jail. And if you read the rest of the story, you know how God worked it from there to a glorious conclusion.
Upstanding Joseph was ultimately exalted, while we never hear another thing about Mrs P. I wonder, did she languish in regret? Or did she stubbornly maintain that her story was true till the end? What happened with her and Mr. P? Did she ever realize that Joseph’s God was the one true God?
I know that some of us here have experienced inappropriate sexual urges or advances. Some of us have been the adulteress spouse, or the other woman. Some of us have been the one cheated on. Some of us have been molested or raped. And some of us have fallen into an emtional rather than a physical affair. What I want to say is that there is no sexual sin that cannot be covered by the blood of Jesus. And there is no sexual wound that cannot he healed by the work of Christ.
We’ve said repeatedly in this study that God is able to take the worst of circumstances or actions and work them for His good purposes. But that is not a license to sin. And that does not mean there are not costs to sin. So let’s remember the warning that Mrs. P’s actions offer, and let’s remember the example that Joseph’s response set. And let’s trust God that His ways truly are worth fighting for and waiting for.
OK, girls, I've tried unsuccessfully multiple times today to post my comments and start the discussion on Mrs. P. I kept getting error messages earlier. Then I finally had a long post nearly done and lost it! So I'm thinking, I'm just going to let you all start the discussion today. Later I'll come update this post with my thoughts. But for now, take it away, girls!
Post and tell us your reactions to Mrs. Potiphar.