He’d been sold. Again. First his brothers had sold him to the slave traders, and now, Joseph had been sold to an Egyptian soldier! How far he had fallen! How had he become such a bitter taste in his brothers’ mouths? Knowing that he would see neither his father or his brother Benjamin, who knew nothing of his half-brothers’ evil intent, again, brought tears to his eyes, every time he thought of them.
Depression threatened to overwhelm him, yet, by Adonai’s grace, he was still alive. He was now a slave, and there was nothing he could do to change it. “Elohim,” Joseph whispered softly, as he was led away to the Egyptian soldier’s home, “please be near me, lest I die in this pit of despair… And comfort my father, Adonai. Give him peace, and please, protect little Benjamin from the evil intents of our brothers. El Shaddai, deliver all of us from evil!”
Each day Joseph worked hard for his owner, dropping to his sleeping mat at night, often too exhausted to dwell on his fate. That doesn’t mean that he did not mourn for the loss of his father, his family and his freedom. He deeply grieved for them, hiding his pain from everyone during the day, as He served his master, Potiphar, faithfully, and without complaint. In the cover of darkness, at night, however, especially during his first year as a slave, Joseph often wept, as he pleaded with Almighty God to protect and bless him and his family. The Lord answered Joseph’s prayers and showered him with His favor, so that everything he did succeeded, and Potiphar, being a shrewd man, recognized and rewarded Joseph’s success by giving him charge over his entire household and everything in it.
Despite his bitter circumstances, Joseph was truly grateful to Elohim for allowing His blessings to rain down on him, and he set his heart to walking in humble obedience to both God and his master. Though he desperately missed his family, even his deceitful brothers, Joseph worked hard, refusing to give in to the depression that sometimes threatened to overwhelm him. Several years went by, as Joseph worked for Potiphar, and he grew in strength and stature. Indeed, Joseph was a very handsome young man, and it wasn’t long before others noticed…
She began to watch him, as he went about his business in her husband’s house each day, seemingly oblivious to the effect he had on her. She didn’t say anything to him at first. She just watched him, and wondered what it would be like to be touched by such a man. He wouldn’t be her first conquest, for her husband was gone much of the time, fighting battles and wars. He often left her alone for months at a time. Certainly, no one in their culture would blame her for her looking to others to satisfy her needs, for most of them did the same thing.
After some time had passed, the woman finally acted on her desires, and boldly walked up behind Joseph one day, while he was working. She placed her arms around his waist. “Come sleep with me,” she softly whispered, her lips so close to his ear that he felt the moistness of her hot breath against it.
Startled, Joseph turned to look at her in shock. “Oh mistress, I couldn’t! Look,” he told her, “my master trusts me with everything in his entire household. No one here has more authority than I do. He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.”
Without waiting for a response, Joseph quickly spun around on his heel, and left the room. “El Shaddai, protect me,” he gasped, when he was alone, as fear and trembling threatened to overtake him. It felt like a weight had settled in the pit of his stomach, and Joseph felt the bile of nausea rising up in his throat.
From that time forth, Potiphar’s wife made it her mission to coax Joseph into having sex with her. She refused to take no for an answer, and his rejection only seemed to fuel her desire for him. Though he tried to avoid her, she somehow managed to find him again and again.
Finally, one day, when no one else was around, Potiphar’s wife came upon him and insisted that he have sex with her. She walked up to him, and ordered him yet again to, “Come, have sex with me.” Then, grabbing his cloak in her hands, she attempted to remove it. Not knowing what else to do, Joseph slipped away from his cloak and ran away from the conniving woman. She was furious.
Holding his cloak in her hand, she screamed in fury, and when her servants rushed to her aid, she said, “Look! My husband has brought this Hebrew slave here to make fools of us! He came into my room to rape me, but I screamed. When he heard me scream, he ran outside and got away, but he left his cloak behind with me.”
Later, when her husband returned home from work, she repeated the story to Potiphar, saying, “That Hebrew slave you’ve brought into our house tried to come in and fool around with me, but when I screamed, he ran outside, leaving his cloak with me!”
Joseph, meanwhile, was in his room, crying out to the Lord for mercy. The situation had become unbearable. He could see no way to escape from this untenable circumstance, but one thing was certain. He would betray neither El Shaddai nor his master Potiphar. As he bowed before the Lord, the door to his room burst open, and Potiphar entered, with rage on his face.
“I have given you everything!” he shouted. “There is nothing that I have withheld from you, except my wife! Yet you betrayed my trust and tried to rape her. Is this how you repay my kindness, slave?”
Joseph paled and his eyes grew wide at Potiphar’s angry accusation. “Master,” he whispered softly. “You have been very kind and generous to me, indeed, and I am very grateful. I would never betray your trust in such an evil way. Nor would I betray Elohim’s kindness to me.”
As Potiphar gazed into Joseph’s eyes, did he realize that his wife had duped him? Because his wife’s accusations had been so public, and because no one took the word of a slave over his master’s wife, there was no trial. Potiphar had to save face, even at Joseph’s expense. Therefore, Joseph was thrust into prison, for a crime that he didn’t commit. Indeed, he was cast into jail, for a crime that didn’t even exist, except in the twisted minds of his accusers.
Beloved reader, things are not always what they seem. In this day and age, we are told to believe certain things without question, even though there is no evidence to back them up. We have seen false accusations against men and women abound in our country, and in others as well. Yet, Joseph is a true life testimony that things are not always what they seem.
Jesus was wrongfully accused of blasphemy and many other crimes that simply were not true. Yet, He was led away like a lamb to a slaughter, bearing the guilt and sins of you and me. To many in the world, He seemed guilty. Yet, things were not what they seemed…
For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT)
Cheryl A. Showers