Shadowland: Beginnings: Week 44
Potiphar was "captain of the guard" - literally "chief of the butchers",
i.e. chief executioner. Three times, potiphar is said to be an Egyptian,
which would seem redundant when they are in Egypt. Except, that Egypt
was ruled by the Hyksos. As Jay Mack summarized:
The Hyksos’ (chiefs of foreign lands) were Semitic invaders of Egypt, Bedouins
from the Arabian Desert, who ruled from about 1720 to 1580 BC. They introduced
a number of technological innovations from Asia, like the horse-drawn chariot,
the battering ram and the composite bow. The period of their rule was a time of
peace and prosperity in Egypt. They had their own gods but did not impose them
on the Egyptians. They maintained ancient Egyptian as the official language of
the government and allowed many Egyptians such as Potiphar to serve in the high
levels of the government. But they were unable to stem the tide of Egyptian
When they were finally overthrown, a new king, who did not know about Joseph,
came to power in Egypt (Exodus 1:8). He would have been one of the native
Egyptian Pharaohs who, as part of the Hyksos purge, absolutely refused to allow
the Jews to live in the choice region of Goshen (45:10). He said: We must deal
shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks
out, will join our Asian enemies, fight against us and leave the country
- 39:1 "and Potiphar ... bought him" - from his position as the
Beloved Son of his father in Caanan, Joseph is now a bond-slave
in Egypt (a type of the world). Phillipians 2:6-7. "Sacrifice and
offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou [pierced]: burnt
offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I,
Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight
to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." Psalm 40:6-8
"ear hast thou pierced" - Exodus 21:5-6
- 39:2-3 "the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand" - Isaiah 53:10
"... and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand."
- 39:4 "for I do always those things that please him." John 8:29
- 39:5 As the LORD blessed the Egyptian Potiphar's house for Joseph's sake,
so he blesses the world for Christ's sake. "I will bless those
who bless you." Genesis 12:3
- 39:6 "in favor with God and man" Luke 2:52. Despite His lowly position
as a servant, Christ was glorified at His birth, at His baptism
("whose sandals I am not worthy to unloose"), and
at His crucifixion ("surely this was the Son of God").
- 39:7 "He was in all points tempted like we are," Hebrews 4:15
- 39:8-9 "But he refused" - how great the contrast with Judah in
the previous chapter. "Yet without sin." Hebrews 4:15
"How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" - sexual sin
is consistently called a "sin against God". After Bathsheba, David
said "Against thee only have I sinned" Psalm 51:4
"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is
in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?"
1 Corinthians 6:19
- 39:10-12 Joseph was tempted in 3 phases (7,10,12).
"left his cloak and fled" - "flee youthful lusts" 2 Timothy 2:22
- 39:13-15 "[they] sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;
But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they
none. At the last came two false witnesses." Matthew 26:59
"See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us." By speaking
thus to the servants, she shows she does not respect her husband.
Compare 2 Samuel 13:15, where after raping Tamar, "Then Amnon hated her
exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than
the love wherewith he had loved her."
- 39:19 "when he heard these words, his wrath was kindled." But not against
Joseph. Just as Pilate did not believe the accusations against
Jesus, and tried to redirect the wrath of the mob, but ultimately felt
compelled to do something for appearances sake, so Pottiphar knew the
character of his wife, and did not believe her report, but felt
compelled to do something for appearances sake. "For he knew that it
was out of envy that they had delivered him up." Matthew 27:18
- 39:20 Notably, Pottiphar put him in prison rather than having
him executed. Just as Pilate passes an unjust sentence, despite
repeatably saying, "I find no fault in this man," so Pottiphar
passes an unjust sentence on a man he knows to be innocent.
Not only is Joseph hated and envied by his own brethren, and delivered
into the hands of the gentiles, but he was unjustly punished by
Joseph does not utter a word in defense against the false accusation.
"He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth."
"Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?
But Jesus held his peace." Matthew 26:62-63
- 39:21 "The LORD gave Joseph favor in the sight of the keeper of the
prison". And the centurion in charge of Jesus' execution " glorified
God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man." Luke 23:47