Joseph and the Nagging Headache

Joseph was contented.  He was a slave but a privileged one because Potiphar clearly saw the blessing and didn’t want to jeopardize it at all.  Joseph lived in his master’s house and had a very good life, for a slave, that is.  Genesis 39:6 “So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.”

Genesis 39:6  Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, 7 and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” 8 But he refused.

Talk about awkward.  He’s a slave.  He couldn’t help it that he was good looking.  Potiphar’s wife had too much time on her hands and turned out to be persistent.  Very persistent.  Avoidance wasn’t working so now Joseph tries diplomacy.

Genesis 39:8  “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. 9 No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife.”

She looked at him blankly and expectantly.  Joseph, seeing that reason was getting nowhere, next tried the religious route.

Genesis 39:9 “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”

She neither knew nor cared about some Hebrew God.  She was fixated, the self-appointed queen of the I-want-what-I-can’t-get club, and began pressure tactics.  Maybe he was just playing hard to get.  Indeed, she was nothing short of a nag…and a headache for Joseph.  He couldn’t avoid her because he lived in his master’s house too.  Pretending he didn’t hear her and loudly whistling “The Dreidel Song” probably wouldn’t have worked either.  So, he kept to the same story and hoped she’d stop.

Genesis 39:10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.

Nag, nag, nag.  She didn’t exactly make her case compelling or display an invitation he couldn’t refuse.  Nag, nag, nag.  What a headache!  Finally, one day, he had to do the escape route.

Genesis 39:11 One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12 She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.

Think about it:

  • Joseph was well-built and handsome.  He was full of youthful vigor and hormones.  As a slave, he probably wasn’t getting a lot of action, shall we say?  What supported his integrity? What in our culture undermines our own resolve, particularly where sexual expression is concerned?
  • At this point in history, it would still be 400 years for the Hebrews in Egypt (many of those years as slaves) before Moses would be born, another 80 plus before he’d ascend the mountain and come down with tablets containing the Ten Commandments, outlining the prohibitions against adultery and coveting.  How did Joseph know it’d be a sin against God (verse 9)? 
  • It’d be almost two thousand years before the Apostle Paul would write, 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” and 1 Corinthians 6:19 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” The Holy Spirit hadn’t been given yet, so what did Joseph mean when he thought it would be a sin against God?
  • What does it say that Joseph knew this before it was written, yet we refuse to honor it after it’s been made explicit?

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on June 13, 2019

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