But he refused, and said to his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand;
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
39:7-12 Beauty either in men or women, often proves a snare both to themselves and others. This forbids pride in it, and requires constant watchfulness against the temptation that attends it. We have great need to make a covenant with our eyes, lest the eyes infect the heart. When lust has got power, decency, and reputation, and conscience, are all sacrificed. Potiphar's wife showed that her heart was fully set to do evil. Satan, when he found he could not overcome Joseph with the troubles and the frowns of the world, for in them he still held fast his principle, assaulted him with pleasures, which have ruined more than the former. But Joseph, by the grace of God, was enabled to resist and overcome this temptation; and his escape was as great an instance of the Divine power, as the deliverance of the three children out of the fiery furnace. This sin was one which might most easily beset him. The tempter was his mistress, one whose favour would help him forward; and it was at his utmost peril if he slighted her, and made her his enemy. The time and place favoured the temptation. To all this was added frequent, constant urging. The almighty grace of God enabled Joseph to overcome this assault of the enemy. He urges what he owed both to God and his master. We are bound in honour, as well as justice and gratitude, not in any thing to wrong those who place trust in us, how secretly soever it may be done. He would not offend his God. Three arguments Joseph urges upon himself. 1. He considers who he was that was tempted. One in covenant with God, who professed religion and relation to him. 2. What the sin was to which he was tempted. Others might look upon it as a small matter; but Joseph did not so think of it. Call sin by its own name, and never lessen it. Let sins of this nature always be looked upon as great wickedness, as exceedingly sinful. 3. Against whom he was tempted to sin, against God. Sin is against God, against his nature and his dominion, against his love and his design. Those that love God, for this reason hate sin. The grace of God enabled Joseph to overcome the temptation, by avoiding the temper. He would not stay to parley with the temptation, but fled from it, as escaping for his life. If we mean not to do iniquity, let us flee as a bird from the snare, and as a roe from the hunter.
Joseph resists the daily solicitations of his master's wife to lie with her. "None greater in this house than I." He pleads the unreserved trust his master had reposed in him. He is bound by the law of honor, the law of chastity (this great evil), and the law of piety (sin against God). Joseph uses the common name of God in addressing this Egyptian. He could employ no higher pleas than the above.
7. his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph—Egyptian women were not kept in the same secluded manner as females are in most Oriental countries now. They were treated in a manner more worthy of a civilized people—in fact, enjoyed much freedom both at home and abroad. Hence Potiphar's wife had constant opportunity of meeting Joseph. But the ancient women of Egypt were very loose in their morals. Intrigues and intemperance were vices very prevalent among them, as the monuments too plainly attest [Wilkinson]. Potiphar's wife was probably not worse than many of the same rank, and her infamous advances made to Joseph arose from her superiority of station.
No text from Poole on this verse.
But he refused, and said unto his master's wife,.... Reasoning with her about the evil nature of the crime she tempted him to, which to commit would be ingratitude, as well as injury to his master, and a sin against God; by which it appears that Joseph was a partaker of the grace of God, and that this was in strong exercise at this time, by which he was preserved from the temptation he was beset with:
behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house; what goods or money are in it:
and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand: such confidence did he repose in him, wherefore to do such an injury to him as to commit adultery with his wife, would be making a sad return, and acting a most ungrateful part for such favour shown him. But 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;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7–20. The False Accusation
. knoweth not
, &c.] Here, as in Genesis 39:6
, the marg., knoweth not with me what is
, gives the meaning of the passage.Verses 8, 9.
- But he refused
, - "it may be that the absence of personal charms facilitated Joseph s resistance (Kalisch); but Joseph assigns a different reason for his noncompliance with her utterly immoral proposition - and said unto his master's wife
, - "for her unclean solicitation he returneth pure and wholesome words" (Hughes) - Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house
not, along with me, what is in the house
), and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand,
(literally, and all that is to him he hath given to or placed in my
hand); there is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back anything from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin
(cf. Genesis 20:6
; 2 Samuel 12:13
; Psalm 51:4
for the estimate of this act taken by God and good men) against God?
- Elohim, since Jehovah would have been unintelligible to a heathen woman.
In Potiphar's House. - Potiphar had bought him of the Ishmaelites, as is repeated in Genesis 39:1
for the purpose of resuming the thread of the narrative; and Jehovah was with him, so that the prospered in the house of his Egyptian master. מצליח אישׁ: a man who has prosperity, to whom God causes all that he undertakes and does to prosper. When Potiphar perceived this, Joseph found favour in his eyes, and became his servant, whom he placed over his house (made manager of his household affairs), and to whom he entrusted all his property (כּל־ישׁ־לו Genesis 39:4
equals ישׁ־לו כּל־אשׁר Genesis 39:5
, Genesis 39:6
). This confidence in Joseph increased, when he perceived how the blessing of Jehovah (Joseph's God) rested upon his property in the house and in the field; so that now "he left to Joseph everything that he had, and did not trouble himself אתּו (with or near him) about anything but his own eating."
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