Joseph’s Imprisonment

Genesis 39:7-40:23

Highlights from this Passage

  • Potiphar’s wife tempts Joseph.
  • Joseph is accused and put in prison.
  • God shows Joseph favor.
  • The interpretation of dreams comes from God. 
  • Joseph explains the dreams of the two prisoners.

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After these things, his master’s wife set her eyes on Joseph; and she said, “Lie with me.”

But he refused, and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, my master doesn’t know what is with me in the house, and he has put all that he has into my hand. No one is greater in this house than I am, and he has not kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”

As she spoke to Joseph day by day, he didn’t listen to her, to lie by her, or to be with her. About this time, he went into the house to do his work, and there were none of the men of the house inside. She caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me!”

He left his garment in her hand, and ran outside. When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and had run outside, she called to the men of her house, and spoke to them, saying, “Behold, he has brought a Hebrew in to us to mock us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice. When he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, he left his garment by me, and ran outside.” She laid up his garment by her, until his master came home. She spoke to him according to these words, saying, “The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought to us, came in to me to mock me, and as I lifted up my voice and cried, he left his garment by me, and ran outside.”

When his master heard the words of his wife, which she spoke to him, saying, “This is what your servant did to me,” his wrath was kindled. Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were bound, and he was there in custody. But Yahweh was with Joseph, and showed kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. The keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever they did there, he was responsible for it. The keeper of the prison didn’t look after anything that was under his hand, because Yahweh was with him; and that which he did, Yahweh made it prosper.

After these things, the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker offended their lord, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cup bearer and the chief baker. He put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound. The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he took care of them. They stayed in prison many days. They both dreamed a dream, each man his dream, in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the cup bearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were bound in the prison. Joseph came in to them in the morning, and saw them, and saw that they were sad. He asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in custody in his master’s house, saying, “Why do you look so sad today?”

They said to him, “We have dreamed a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it.”

Joseph said to them, “Don’t interpretations belong to God? Please tell it to me.”

The chief cup bearer told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, “In my dream, behold, a vine was in front of me, and in the vine were three branches. It was as though it budded, it blossomed, and its clusters produced ripe grapes. Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand; and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.”

Joseph said to him, “This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days. Within three more days, Pharaoh will lift up your head, and restore you to your office. You will give Pharaoh’s cup into his hand, the way you did when you were his cup bearer. But remember me when it is well with you. Please show kindness to me, and make mention of me to Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house. For indeed, I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews, and here also I have done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.”

When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said to Joseph, “I also was in my dream, and behold, three baskets of white bread were on my head. In the uppermost basket there were all kinds of baked food for Pharaoh, and the birds ate them out of the basket on my head.”

Joseph answered, “This is its interpretation. The three baskets are three days. Within three more days, Pharaoh will lift up your head from off you, and will hang you on a tree; and the birds will eat your flesh from off you.” On the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, he made a feast for all his servants, and he lifted up the head of the chief cup bearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. He restored the chief cup bearer to his position again, and he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand; but he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet the chief cup bearer didn’t remember Joseph, but forgot him.

Joseph Sold into Egypt, and Judah’s Family

Genesis 37:1-39:7

Highlights from this Passage

  • Joseph has a dream and is hated by his brothers.
  • Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery.
  • Jacob bewails Joseph.
  • Judah’s family.
  • Joseph is sold to Potiphar.
  • God prospers Joseph.
  • Potiphar wife tempts Joseph.

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Jacob lived in the land of his father’s travels, in the land of Canaan. This is the history of the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives. Joseph brought an evil report of them to their father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age, and he made him a tunic of many colors. His brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, and they hated him, and couldn’t speak peaceably to him.

Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brothers, and they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Please hear this dream which I have dreamed: for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and behold, your sheaves came around, and bowed down to my sheaf.”

His brothers asked him, “Will you indeed reign over us? Will you indeed have dominion over us?” They hated him all the more for his dreams and for his words. He dreamed yet another dream, and told it to his brothers, and said, “Behold, I have dreamed yet another dream: and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars bowed down to me.” He told it to his father and to his brothers. His father rebuked him, and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Will I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves down to the earth before you?” His brothers envied him, but his father kept this saying in mind.

His brothers went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. Israel said to Joseph, “Aren’t your brothers feeding the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them.” He said to him, “Here I am.”

He said to him, “Go now, see whether it is well with your brothers, and well with the flock; and bring me word again.” So he sent him out of the valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. A certain man found him, and behold, he was wandering in the field. The man asked him, “What are you looking for?”

He said, “I am looking for my brothers. Tell me, please, where they are feeding the flock.”

The man said, “They have left here, for I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’”

Joseph went after his brothers, and found them in Dothan. They saw him afar off, and before he came near to them, they conspired against him to kill him. They said to one another, “Behold, this dreamer comes. Come now therefore, and let’s kill him, and cast him into one of the pits, and we will say, ‘An evil animal has devoured him.’ We will see what will become of his dreams.”

Reuben heard it, and delivered him out of their hand, and said, “Let’s not take his life.” Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood. Throw him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but lay no hand on him”—that he might deliver him out of their hand, to restore him to his father. When Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him; and they took him, and threw him into the pit. The pit was empty. There was no water in it.

They sat down to eat bread, and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing spices and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come, and let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites, and not let our hand be on him; for he is our brother, our flesh.” His brothers listened to him. Midianites who were merchants passed by, and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. The merchants brought Joseph into Egypt.

Reuben returned to the pit, and saw that Joseph wasn’t in the pit; and he tore his clothes. He returned to his brothers, and said, “The child is no more; and I, where will I go?” They took Joseph’s tunic, and killed a male goat, and dipped the tunic in the blood. They took the tunic of many colors, and they brought it to their father, and said, “We have found this. Examine it, now, and see if it is your son’s tunic or not.”

He recognized it, and said, “It is my son’s tunic. An evil animal has devoured him. Joseph is without doubt torn in pieces.” Jacob tore his clothes, and put sackcloth on his waist, and mourned for his son many days. All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. He said, “For I will go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” His father wept for him. The Midianites sold him into Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, the captain of the guard.

At that time, Judah went down from his brothers, and visited a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. There, Judah saw the daughter of a certain Canaanite man named Shua. He took her, and went in to her. She conceived, and bore a son; and he named him Er. She conceived again, and bore a son; and she named him Onan. She yet again bore a son, and named him Shelah. He was at Chezib when she bore him. Judah took a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in Yahweh’s sight. So Yahweh killed him. Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.” Onan knew that the offspring wouldn’t be his; and when he went in to his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. The thing which he did was evil in Yahweh’s sight, and he killed him also. Then Judah said to Tamar, his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow in your father’s house, until Shelah, my son, is grown up;” for he said, “Lest he also die, like his brothers.” Tamar went and lived in her father’s house.

After many days, Shua’s daughter, the wife of Judah, died. Judah was comforted, and went up to his sheep shearers to Timnah, he and his friend Hirah, the Adullamite. Tamar was told, “Behold, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” She took off the garments of her widowhood, and covered herself with her veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the gate of Enaim, which is on the way to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she wasn’t given to him as a wife. When Judah saw her, he thought that she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. He turned to her by the way, and said, “Please come, let me come in to you,” for he didn’t know that she was his daughter-in-law.

She said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?”

He said, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.”

She said, “Will you give me a pledge, until you send it?”

He said, “What pledge will I give you?”

She said, “Your signet and your cord, and your staff that is in your hand.”

He gave them to her, and came in to her, and she conceived by him. She arose, and went away, and put off her veil from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood. Judah sent the young goat by the hand of his friend, the Adullamite, to receive the pledge from the woman’s hand, but he didn’t find her. Then he asked the men of her place, saying, “Where is the prostitute, that was at Enaim by the road?”

They said, “There has been no prostitute here.”

He returned to Judah, and said, “I haven’t found her; and also the men of the place said, ‘There has been no prostitute here.’” Judah said, “Let her keep it, lest we be shamed. Behold, I sent this young goat, and you haven’t found her.”

About three months later, Judah was told, “Tamar, your daughter-in-law, has played the prostitute. Moreover, behold, she is with child by prostitution.”

Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned.” When she was brought out, she sent to her father-in-law, saying, “I am with child by the man who owns these.” She also said, “Please discern whose these are—the signet, and the cords, and the staff.”

Judah acknowledged them, and said, “She is more righteous than I, because I didn’t give her to Shelah, my son.”

He knew her again no more. In the time of her travail, behold, twins were in her womb. When she travailed, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, “This came out first.” As he drew back his hand, behold, his brother came out, and she said, “Why have you made a breach for yourself?” Therefore his name was called Perez. Afterward his brother came out, who had the scarlet thread on his hand, and his name was called Zerah.

Joseph was brought down to Egypt. Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the hand of the Ishmaelites that had brought him down there. Yahweh was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man. He was in the house of his master the Egyptian. His master saw that Yahweh was with him, and that Yahweh made all that he did prosper in his hand. Joseph found favor in his sight. He ministered to him, and Potiphar made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. From the time that he made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, Yahweh blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake. Yahweh’s blessing was on all that he had, in the house and in the field. He left all that he had in Joseph’s hand. He didn’t concern himself with anything, except for the food which he ate.

Joseph was well-built and handsome. After these things, his master’s wife set her eyes on Joseph; and she said, “Lie with me.”