“A Study On Power” / Joseph & Another Man’s Wife

Genesis 39:7-21  Sunday Sermon August 24, 2004


Introduction: We live in a world where power defines the leader.

Ø      We weigh our lives by the amount of power that we have over the other person.

Ø      Our ability to control is essential if we are the victors.

Ø      Our weight is measured by the amount of foes that lay before our feet as we give the victory sign.

POINT: We as those coliseum warriors in days long past strive to become the victor weather we state the case or not, we are like those that have gone on before us.


POINT: We desire to defeat those that seem to have the upper hand.  Thus, we are never satisfied with loosing, there is more then that competition factor, it is another burning desire that is able to cast the human into total despair until “Power” comes to the true victor.


Insight Into The Theme: “A Study On Power”

Ø      What better theme on power then the study of power between a man and a woman.

Ø      We live in a world that is defined by who is in control.

Ø      Marriages and social gathers all circle around that theme today, who is in charge?

Ø      Lets take time out and look at two biblical characters that demonstrated power, two different kinds.

Ø      Today’s message will classify as well as qualify what real power is.


I. Freedom To Be leads To Extremity: V.7

*      We live in a society that has given itself to extreme.  There are no restrictions to our desires.

*      We justify every act, event or thought with a self justification clause that is not accustomed to divergence.

*      We with frivolity commit ourselves to a self intended manner of our lives without thinking about the high standards that God has set for us as Christians.

*      We are the ones that have set a “no boundaries” mentality in our society.  The text says;

A.  And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with  me.”

1. Egyptian women were not kept in the same secluded manner as females are in most Oriental countries now.  They did not walk behind their men in obscurity.

2. They enjoyed much freedom both at home and abroad. Hence Potiphar’s wife had constant opportunity of such an invitation.  It was the custom of women with power.

3. Intrigues and intemperance were vices very prevalent among the people of Egyptian society, as the monuments too plainly attest.  Behold their history is carved in brick for eternity. 

4. 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.  The freer one is, the apt opportunity to ponder and reflect upon extreme.

B. Just as in the time of our bible lesson women today have much freedom to exercise their desires.  It is a way that accomplishment is expressed that Power has manifested itself.

II. Ability To Serve Lends Itself To Exposure: V.6

A.     6 So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge; and, with him there, he had no concern for anything but the food that he ate.  Now Joseph was handsome and good-looking.

1.      Joseph had been given delegated authority; he was gifted, talented and entrusted with great responsibility.

2.      There was not special air about his life, he was just who he was.  God was with him, and blessing him.

3.      This is the way it was intended to be with people that are the choice of others to make prosperous.

B.     We note another aspect of Joseph’s character; “he was good looking”. .

6c . Joseph was unusually attractive. He was like his mother, Rachel, of whom it was said: “Rachel was beautiful and well favored,”  “fair in form” and “fair in looks” ( ref. Genesis 29:17 ).

Ø      In addition, Joseph radiated a sweet, clean godliness that made him even more appealing.

Ø      It is the same with the children of God today.  We exude a delightfulness.

1.      There was a physical beauty that he possessed.

2.      He had nothing to do with that fact, he was just given that at birth.

3.      Joseph landed on his feet in Egypt, having been bought by Potiphar, a  high-ranking Egyptian official, described as captain of the guard. This post entailed him being in charge of the prison for royal prisoners in a time shortly after God’s placement of favor; see; 40:3–4 ).

4.      So he comes to Potiphar’s service highly regarded.

POINT: We see that when the Lord has much to be accomplished, He usually takes time to prepare His servant for the task ahead.

Commentary On Joseph’s Rise To Power: He may also have been in charge of catering at the palace.  Joseph quickly rose from being an ordinary slave working outdoors to working indoors, in the house of hismaster.  Then he was appointed as Potiphar’s personal attendant, and finally he was put in charge of the whole household ( 4–5 ). 4 So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him; he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. 5 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 house and field.[1]

Ø      When a man performs daily task with confidence, others watch and desire this quality.

Ø      At times, jealously is manifested by other men as they analyze the one whom they begin to detest.

Ø      Competing with an opponent reigns supreme in business and commerce.

Ø      When God promotes His children, that task is to be fulfilled at all cost.

Ø      Nothing is to interfere with that arrangement.  God’s servant fully understands that his or her obligations towards Him.

III. I Can’t Help Myself; V.7

A.     And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.”

1.      Potiphar’s wife could not resist the temptation to make a conquest of Joseph.

2.      Imagine he coming in and out of the palace all day long.  Keep in mind the freedom of expression that women of power had, and the rank as a slave of Joseph in Potiphar’s house.  Remember he was a Hebrew.

POINT: Apparently she had nothing to occupy her mind that would allow her to concentrate on things that belonged to her. 

POINT: Principles  undergird us during our hours of temptation.

B.     We ought not be outraged at this woman’s lack of constraint.

1.      Women today are even bolder then this as they with concerted effort just as men have done for generations past and present petition without pretense.

2.      Her request was not uncommon and was with much haste obeyed by all servants who understood the consequences of not obeying their masters.

POINT: We must not laugh as we consider ourselves if we were placed in Joseph’s slippers.

Ø      The offer for quick physical pleasure from a heart that cares nothing for the life of the person to whom the request is made brings chaos and frustration.

Ø      Such a request is made from a selfish heart that only contends of instant and temporary physical yearnings.

Ø      There was no love in her request, no concern for Joseph’s heart, soul or life.

Ø      Why was not her mind focused upon her husband alone? 

Ø      Did Potiphar have an idea that his wife was such a person.  Yes, or else he would have killed Joseph instantly when the report came to him.

IV. I Can Control Myself: V.8

A.     The lesson that we see is so obvious for the Christian; Self Control!

1.      I am not suggesting that Joseph did not think about the request.

2.      He lived in a culture of compromise and inconsistencies.

3.      This was a serious request, and it’s refusal carried severe consequences.  Every slave understood this.

Ø       V.9a He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife.

B.     Joseph fully understood what being a good steward, one given authority.

1.      He qualified his role in detail to the lady in a fashion that she could fully understand.

2.      He could not be misunderstood as he emphasis; “you are his wife”.

Ø      Do we fully comprehend the consequences of breaking that bond between another man and his wife ore her husband?

Ø       Do we guard against these deliberate infringes of right as we flirt with chance?

Ø      Are we as Joseph was conscience of the consequences of tampering with the sanctity of the marriage bond?

3.      Joseph acknowledges the situation and places himself in the correct position as he manages the next statement; How then could I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”V.9b

Ø      His character surfaces, the real man come forth in bold defiance of one of the worlds most difficult temptations.

Ø      Thus we begin to witness a characteristic so uncommon even among Christian men.

One has said of this incident; For Joseph, who lived constantly in communion with the holy God, to sin with the woman was utterly out of the question. It would have been sin against God, and unfair to the man who trusted him so implicitly. Even though the temptation came with subtle, sudden, strong appeal, Joseph’s victory was assured.  Is ours assured as Joseph’s was?

Ø       Are we constantly focused upon God’s divine will for our lives?

Ø      Can we say with consistency that our desire is to walk in a way that is pleasing to God; which manifest itself especially when we deny ourselves inconsistent behavior that brings dishonor to God?

V. Oh, You Think I’m Through With You Yet?: V.10-13

A. 10 And although she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not consent to lie beside her or to be with her. 11 One day, however, when he went into the house to do his work, and while no one else was in the house, 12 she caught hold of his garment, saying, “Lie with me!” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside.  13 When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled outside,

            1. We note that in verse ten, there was a constant compelling on her part. V.10

POINT:  Sin persist until it gets its evil way.  The intent is to break your will to resist.

POINT: Saintliness also persist in the face of the constant barrage of insult to God.

POINT: see; Proverbs 5:1-14   My child, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding,2 so that you may hold on to prudence, and your lips may guard knowledge. 3 For the lips of a loose a woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; 4 but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol. 6 She does not keep straight to the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it. 7 And now, my child, b listen to me, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. 8 Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house; 9 or you will give your honor to others, and your years to the merciless, 10 and strangers will take their fill of your wealth, and your labors will go to the house of an alien;11 and at the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, 12 and you say, “Oh, how I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof!  13 I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors. 14 Now I am at the point of utter ruin in the public assembly.”

 POINT: How tragic life becomes when we deny God’s warnings.  His words are not devised to harm or bring us shame, rather to encourage us to a successful habitation.

Ø      Joseph did the only thing left for him to do,  run in order to save yourself from what you knew was to follow. (Shame)

Ø      God honored his departure.  He was really stronger then many that have given in under the same influence.

Ø      He ran simply he know his limitations.

Ø      In his running, he showed that his trust in God was far more important then his ability to ask for forgiveness after the fact.

VI. Now Who Do You Think Wins In The Power Game?: V.14-20 ®

A.     Frustrated, the temptress became a slanderer.

B.     In a rage she went forth to accuse Joseph falsely of evil intent, hoping to stir up sympathy on the part of other servants, and to make her husband angry enough to kill the young man.

C.     The circumstantial evidence was strongly incriminating.

D.     Potiphar was enraged. However, in spite of the seriousness of the charge, he evidently had some question in his mind about Joseph’s guilt, for he did not kill him.

E.      Instead, he hurried him off to the prison (the “Round House”).

F.      This prison was probably a famous round tower or dungeon where prisoners connected with official life were housed.

Ø      This was the price that Joseph pays for running and not yielding to this great sin.

Ø      Was he foolish?  Only those outside of God’s righteousness would say yes.

Conclusion: See; Proverbs 31:3; Proverbs 6:25; Ephesians 5:2; 1st Corinthians 6:13-18; Proverbs 2:10,11,16;  

Pastor John E. Coleman BA, MA  Preached 8-24-03 USA Los Angeles, CA