Dave Burnette's Commentary

Genesis Chapter 39

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses
Date Penned: (1450-1410 BC)
Overview: The Record of God's Chosen People (c 23-50)
Theme: The Story of Joseph (c 37-50)
Message: Joseph Goes to Jail  (v 1-23 )

Genesis 39 Commentary

(39:1)  Joseph Arrives in Egypt -  The date of Joseph's arrival in Egypt is debatable. Many believe he arrived during the period of the Hyksos rulers, foreigners who controlled Egypt for almost 150 years. If Joseph arrived during their rule, it is easy to see why he was rapidly promoted up the royal ladder, Because the Hyksos were foreigners themselves, they would not hold this brilliant young foreigner's ancestry against him.

(39:5) Joseph comes to know Pharoah - Pharaoh was the general name for all the kings of Egypt. It was a title like king or president used to address the country's leader. The pharaoh who placed Joseph in charge of Egypt was a different person from the pharaoh who enslaved the Hebrews in the book of Exodus.

(39:7) Joseph Works for Potiphar -  Ancient Egypt was a land of great contrasts. People were either rich beyond measure or poverty-stricken. There wasn't much middle ground. Joseph found himself serving Potiphar, an extremely rich officer in Pharaoh's service. Rich families like Potiphar's had elaborate homes with beautiful gardens. They enjoyed live entertainment at home as they chose delicious fruit from expensive bowls. They surrounded themselves with alabaster vases, paintings, beautiful rugs, and hand-carved chairs. Dinner was served on golden tableware, and the rooms were lit with gold candlesticks.

(39:9) Joseph Resists Sin -  Potiphar's wife failed to seduce Joseph, who resisted this temptation by saying it would be a sin against God. Joseph didn't say, "I'd be hurting you," or "I'd be sinning against Potiphar, or "I'd be sinning against myself." Under pressure, such excuses are easily rationalized away. Remember that sexual sin is not just between two consenting adults. It is an act of disobedience against God.

(39:10-15) Joseph Remains Pure -  Joseph avoided Potiphar's wife as much as possible. He refused her advances and finally ran from her. Sometimes merely trying to avoid temptation is not enough. We must turn and run from it, especially when the temptation seems very strong, as is often the case with sexual temptation.

(39:20) Joseph faces Prison -  Prisons were grim places with vile conditions. They were used to house forced laborers or, like Joseph, the accused who were awaiting trial. Prisoners were guilty until proven innocent,and there was no right to a speedy trial. Many prisoners never made it to court because trials were held at the whim of the ruler. Joseph was in prison for a long time before he appeared before Pharaoh, and then he was called out to interpret a dream, not to stand trial.

(39:21-23) Joseph does his Best -  As a prisoner and slave, Joseph could have seen his situation as hopeless. Instead, he did his best with each small task given him. His diligence and positive attitude were soon noticed by the warden, who promoted him to prison administrator. Are you facing a seemingly hopeless predicament? At work, at home, or at school, follow Joseph's example by taking each small task and doing your best. Remember how God turned Joseph's situation around. He will see your efforts and can reverse even overwhelming odds.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

Don't Quit

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. There are many applications we can make from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of Genesis with Chapter 39, and in today's text, we see our focus returns to Joseph and the story of his life, now in slavery, sold to Potiphar. In this household, the Lord prospers Joseph, and he receives a promotion promoted to the overseer of Potiphar's house. Still, Joseph's life seems to be one misfortune after another as Potiphar's wife accuses him, and it looks like Joseph can't catch a break. What would Joseph have been thinking? Do you believe that he wondered why? Why would a good God allow all this to happen to me? The truth is that God allowed the misfortune in Joseph's life because God had a more excellent plan for Joseph's life, as you will see in the coming chapters. In making an application, I am amazed that Joseph never quit and kept serving the Lord. I have had adversity happen and would ask God, "Why Me?" I have even stopped when things don't go my way, but I realize now that God has a bigger plan in motion for my life. God's plan may take me where I don't want to go, but it always ends where He wants it to if we don't quit. How about you? Do you quit when things don't go the way you think? Don't Quit. Let us learn from our text today that God has a plan for your life, and it will be revealed to us if we simply don't quit. 


Genesis 39

Genesis 39

 1And 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.

 2And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.

 3And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.

 4And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.

 5And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.

 6And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.

 7And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.

 8But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;

 9There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?

 10And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.

 11And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within.

 12And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.

 13And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth,

 14That she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice:

 15And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out.

 16And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home.

 17And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me:

 18And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out.

 19And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled.

 20And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.

 21But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.

 22And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it.

 23The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper.