Genesis Chapter 39 The Uprightness of Joseph

            No man is like Christ when it comes to being righteous.  Jesus is the righteous One.  He did not have an imputed righteousness, but was altogether righteous within himself.  In contrast, when Adam fell, he brought condemnation upon himself and his posterity.  Every individual who is righteous before God is righteous because of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.  Joseph is no exception.  Joseph cannot be a type of Christ when it comes to righteousness, nor can any other man be a type of Christ when it comes to righteousness.

            Joseph, however, strove to live an upright life.  This is demonstrated in the temptation of Potiphar’s wife: Gen. 39:7 “And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. 8 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; 9 There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? 10 And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.” 

            The scene above is not an uncommon temptation to most men.  The temptation to commit adultery or fornication is common to men and women alike.  There are many excuses people use to justify committing the act.  Some say the adverse circumstances made them incapable of resisting.  Joseph did not blame neither the adverse circumstances nor the continual temptations and use them as an excuse to give in.  He did not use the woman’s desire as an excuse.  He simply refused to submit to the temptations.  Rather, Joseph said that it would be a sin against God and against the woman’s husband to give in to her temptations.  Moreover, Joseph called it a great wickedness to commit adultery. 

            There are things that we can learn from Joseph’s uprightness.  First, Jospeh had the proper perspective on the sin.  It was not just a trespass against the husband but it was a sin against God and a great wickedness to commit adultery. 

            Second, adverse circumstances do not justify sin.  Such things as living in broken homes, living in ghetto type conditions, having wicked influences in the family or among acquaintances, or constant and continual provocative temptations do not justify sinful action. 

            Third, we must live our lives to serve God and to keep his commandments, if we are to overcome sinful activities in our lives.   

Genesis Chapter 39 The Faith of Joseph

            While the subject of the faith of Joseph is not limited to this chapter, yet some significant details are brought forth in this chapter.  We recall that in previous chapters that Joseph had dreamed two dreams and told them to his father and to his brothers.  In these dreams he saw his brothers and his parents coming and bowing down before him.  Joseph, no doubt, believed these dreams were given to him from the Lord.  Yet, we immediately begin to see obstacles arising to hinder the fulfillment of these dreams.        First, his father, Jacob rebuked him for these dreams.  Jacob was a man of God and to have the rebuke of a man of God who was also your father had to be a discouragement to Joseph.  Moreover, his brothers hated him because of his dreams.  Likewise, their animosity towards him had to be a discouragement to him.  In this, however, Jacob remained faithful in his character towards God and in his belief that God would somehow bring these dreams to fulfillment. 

            Next, his brothers conspired to kill him and took him and cast him into a pit, while they discussed what they would do to him.  Now, if his brothers had killed him, he would never have seen the fulfillment of his dreams.  Judah, then persuaded the other brothers to sell Joseph to a band of Ishmaelites so that they could profit from their brother’s bondage.  They also conspired to make up false evidence and tell their father that Joseph had no doubt been slain by a wild animal. 

            The Ishmaelites in turn sold Joseph to a wealthy man named Potiphar in Egypt.  Joseph was faithful as a slave in Potiphar’s house doing whatsoever was commanded him and much more.  Then Potiphar’s wife wanted Joseph to commit adultery with her and continually tempted him, yet Joseph was faithful to his God and to his master and refused to succumb to her temptations.  Yet, she lied and said that he came to rape her and Potiphar had Joseph cast into the prison where the king’s prisoners were kept. 

            In this brief synopsis there are many lessons in faith for us.  First, what the Lord promises us or commands us does not come to pass on our time schedule but on the Lord’s. 

            Second, our faith is put to the test, just as Joseph’s faith was continually being tested through extremely difficult trials.  1 Pet. 1:7 “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” 

            Third, many times there will be things and people to arise to discourage us in our walk of faith.  We should expect these things to come and continue faithful in our walk of discipleship, trusting that the Lord will fulfill his promises. 

            Fourth, the providence of God will be eventually manifest in our walk of faith and deliver us to the fulfillment of the promises of God.  Joseph would eventually see this as God in providence led him to the place where he would need to be and to the circumstances that would eventually bring him in favor before Pharaoh and to the position of being second only to Pharaoh in the kingdom of Egypt.  There were just a great series of events that seemed to be bringing Joseph down before he came to that place.  Why should we expect that it would necessarily be any different for us?

Genesis Chapter 39  Joseph’s mistake

            There have been times in the lives of nearly all of God’s born again children that they have made mistakes of judgment and suffered because of their mistakes.  Joseph was no exception: Gen. 39:11 “And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. 12 And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. 13 And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth, 14 That she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice: 15 And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out. 16 And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home. 17 And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me: 18 And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out. 19 And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled. 20 And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.” 

            Joseph’s mistake in judgment was that he went into the house when no other man was there.  Potiphar’s wife had continually tempted Joseph leading up to that time so Joseph should have known that he was treading on dangerous waters when he went into the house and no other man was there.  As a consequence of Joseph’s mistake of judgment he ended up in prison for a crime he did not commit.  We should learn from our mistakes and often we do learn from our mistakes.  It is a part of the maturation process.  However, sometimes mistakes in judgment lead to serious consequences as it did with Joseph.  Joseph’s mistake in judgment led him to a he said/she said situation and in this case Joseph was bound to lose even though he was not guilty. 

            Wisdom can be gained though mistakes in judgment, but a better way to learn wisdom is to ask God for wisdom that we might know how to avoid mistakes in judgment. 

            We need to learn to avoid circumstances that could be misinterpreted by others.   

Genesis Chapter 39 Joseph as a Type of Jesus

             In this section of the book of Genesis that details the account of the life of Joseph, there is many times that the life of Joseph can be seen to mirror the life of Christ.  Therefore, Joseph is a very strong type of Jesus.  Now a type is rarely as good as the antitype and certainly no one can truly completely mirror the perfection of Jesus Christ.  However, Joseph is perhaps the strongest type of Jesus in the scriptures. 

            Jesus said in John 5:39: “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”  God, has by design, used the account of Joseph to point us to the life of Jesus Christ.

            In this 39th chapter of Genesis we note the following parallels between the life of Joseph and the life of Christ:

                        1.  v. 2 “And the LORD was with Joseph…”  John 8:29 “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.”  John 11:42 “And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.” 

                        2.  v. 2 “he was a prosperous man;” v. 3 “the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.”  V. 23 “the LORD made it to prosper.”  It is apparent that whatsoever that Joseph did, that the Lord made it to prosper.  Likewise, we read a prophecy of Christ in the book of Isaiah: Is. 53:10 “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.”  Jesus came to save his people from their sins.  In this work he was perfectly prosperous.  He said himself: John 6:38 “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”  If the Lord should lose a single one that the Father gave him, then he would not have prospered, but would have done less than the Father chose him to do.  However, the pleasure of the Lord prospered in his hand

                        3.  v. 2 “he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.”  Jesus referred to his Father’s house in two verses of scripture:

                                    a. John 2:16 “And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.”  This of course has reference to the Temple.

                                    b. John 14:2 “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”  This appears to have reference to our heavenly home. 

            In addition to the above, the church is also referred to as the house of God in 1 Timothy.  Jesus, while in his ministry, frequently went into the temple, he is residing in our heavenly home, and he is the head of the church and promised to be in the church wherever two or three are gathered together in his name.

                        4.  v. 4 “He made him overseer over his house…”  Joseph was overseer over his master’s house.  Similarly, Jesus is referred to as the bishop of our souls: (1 Pet. 2:25 “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”  The word, bishop, means overseer.  Jesus is overseer over the souls of all of God’s elect. 

                        5.  v. 4 “All that he had he put into his hand.”  All that Potiphar had he put in Joseph’s hand.  Likewise, we see all the elect family of God placed in the hand of Jesus:

                                    a. John 6:37-39 “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.  For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.  And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”

                                    b. John 10:27-30 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.  I and my Father are one.”

                                    c. John 17:2 “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.”

                                    d. Heb. 2:13 “And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.” 

            Therefore, as Potiphar placed all that he had in Joseph’s hand, the Father placed all the ones that he chose before the foundation of the world in the hands of Jesus Christ.

                        6.  v. 5 “The LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake…”   The reason the Egyptian’s house was blessed was because of the presence of Joseph.  God blessed it for Joseph’s sake.  This is similar to God’s forgiveness of our sins:

Eph 4:32 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”

                        7.  v. 5 “And the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.”  The Lord’s blessing of Potiphar for Joseph’s sake extended to all that he had in the house and in the field.  Likewise, God’s blessing of his elect family for Christ’s sake extends to all that he has in the church and in the world. 

                        8.  v. 6 “Joseph was a goodly person…”  The type breaks down here for Joseph cannot be “good” but only goodly: Matt. 19:17 “And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”  Jesus as the Son of God is good and he was/is good in the flesh.  However, in the flesh, no man is good. 

                        9.  v. 6 “And Joseph was … well favoured.”  Luke 2:52 “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”

                        10. v. 7-10 Joseph was tempted of Potiphar’s wife, yet did not give in to sin with her.  Likewise, we read of Jesus in Heb. 4:15 “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

                        11. v. 14-18 Joseph was falsely accused of a sin that he did not commit.  False witnesses testified against Jesus at the high priests home: Matt. 26:59 “Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; 60 But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, 61 And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. 62 And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?”

                        12.  v. 20 “And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.”  We read of the prophecy of Jesus in Isaiah chapter 53:8 “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.”  Just as Joseph was falsely accused and wrongly judged and cast into prison, so we see that Jesus was falsely accused, wrongly judged and placed in prison.  Joseph was placed where the king’s prisoners were bound.  Jesus went to prison and death to deliver the King’s prisoners: Zec 9:12 “Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee…” 

            All, of the elect family of God, were prisoners of hope.  That is we were in prison to the law of sin and death and had no way to deliver ourselves from that captivity.  However, Jesus delivered us by dying in our room and stead: Rom. 8:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”  He has delivered us from the bondage of sin: Gal. 4:3 “Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”