"Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, had bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there." - Verse 1
Potiphar was a high status man. He was an Egyptian, ethnically he belong among his people. He was not only an officer of Pharaoh but captain of the guard. This means he had Pharaoh's personal trust. A ruler who does not have a highly trustworthy guard captain is not a ruler for long. Logically we can place Potiphar towards the upper end of status in society. This will be important later as we examine his wife's behavior.
"The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in the house and field. So he left all that he had in Joseph's charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate."- Verse 2-6a
Joseph was blessed with incredible competence. Potiphar recognized this and gave Joseph increasing responsibility over his affairs. Eventually, Joseph effectively ran the show while Potiphar concerned himself with more trivial things such as selecting what food to eat. Joseph, while still a slave of Potiphar, was outshining his master.
"Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And after a time his master's wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, "Lie with me." - Verse 6b-7
Joseph was lower status than Potiphar. He was a Hebrew, not an Egyptian. He was a slave, not a free man. He was the overseer of Potiphar's estate, not the owner. Yet he was handsome. Despite all the provision, luxury, and ease that Potiphar's wife would have enjoyed based on Potiphar's wealth and status, Potiphar is her beta bux and Joseph is her alpha fux. Never under-estimate the dual mating strategy of women.
"But he refused and said to his master's wife, "Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?" - Verse 8-9
Joseph, despite the opportunity to get his dick wet, remains loyal to the man who had treated him so fairly and to the God he served. Joseph recognized the grievousness of the sin of adultery and refused to sleep with Potiphar's wife. Consider, who had more cause to be loyal: Joseph or Potiphar's wife? Certainly the wife had enjoyed greater blessing, love, and loyalty from Potiphar than Joseph had, yet Joseph had more loyalty to his master. Never forget, loyalty is a male virtue. Feminine loyalty is conditional, unless it is toward her children. This seems solipsistic and horrifying, and in many ways it is, yet this is also a coping mechanism for women captured after battle. The War Brides phenomenon helps to explain the difference in loyalty between the sexes. Your wife can be loyal to you to the utmost degree a woman can, but recognize that male loyalty is a harder more concrete and reliable thing.
"And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her to to be with her." - Verse 10
Joseph turning her down did nothing to quench the burning desire of Potiphar's wife. If anything, it likely inflamed it. People want what they can't have. Joseph refusing her advances meant he was operating in his own frame, and a man with a stronger frame than a woman gets her wet. Notably, Joseph refuses not only to have sex with her, but even to lie beside her. Perhaps he knew his own limitations to avoiding temptation, or perhaps he was trying to avoid a #MeToo situation. Either way, there is a lesson here.
"But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, she caught him by his garment, saying, "Lie with me." But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house. And as soon as she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house, she called to the men of her household and said to them, "See, he has brought among us a Hebrew to laugh at us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. And as soon as he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me and fled and got out of the house." - Verse 11-15
Here we see that there is truly nothing new under the sun. Long before the #MeToo movement we find Potiphar's wife falsely claiming that she has been sexually assaulted by Joseph. Christians should not be surprised that this behavior continues in our day and age of rampant unfettered feminism. Interestingly, she seems to blame her husband for bringing Joseph into the house.
"Then she laid up his garments by her until his master came home, and she told him the same story, saying, "The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought among us, came in to me to laugh at me. But as soon as I lifted up my voice and cried, he left his garment beside me and fled out of the house." - Verse 16-18
Not only is she claiming Joseph sexually assaulted her, but her hamster spinning attempted to shift the blame to her husband for the second time. Unable to accept that she might have been in the wrong, her reinterpretation of events deflects from her own culpability. This is a direct challenge to Potiphar's capable leadership and a major sh*t test. It is noteworthy that the phrase "to laugh at me" is a sexual euphemism. Back in Genesis 26 Abimelech looked out the window and saw Isaac "laughing with Rebekah" which blew their cover. The "laughing" that was going on was of a nature that made it clear to Abimilech that Rebekah was not Isaac's sister but his wife.
"As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, "This is the way your servant treated me," his anger was kindled. And Joseph's master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison." - Verse 19-20
How did Potiphar respond to his wife's sh*t test? He broke his frame, reacted out with an emotional response, and threw Joseph in prison without any due process. Wouldn't want to upset the missus, would he? Better show a strong handed reaction to demonstrate how much of an ally he is. So here is Potiphar, throwing away his loyal servant and best manager and remains being unknowingly stuck with an disloyal conniving wife.
"But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison." - Verse 21
Despite his setbacks, the Lord continued to favor Joseph and elevated him. Even when our path seems to lead to a dead end, remember that God is with us.