Potiphar's Wife

Michael Wilcock

READ : Genesis 39:1-20

My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)

Who’s the young man, so handsome and able (though neither his looks nor his ability—nor even his God—have kept him from what seems to be a run of dreadful bad luck, causing him to end up as a slave in a prison)? His name is Joseph.

Who’s the older man—obviously important, a person of standing in the royal court, a man of influence and integrity, and Joseph’s master and owner? His name is Potiphar.

And who’s the woman, who knows how to use everyone else for her own ends—forceful, manipulative, lustful, vengeful? Surely the story records her name too? After all, she dominates the scene in Genesis 39: determined either to seduce or to destroy Joseph, browbeating his fellow-slaves, both betraying and deceiving her own husband Potiphar.

Don’t trouble your head over a name for her, says the Lord. It’s of no significance in my scheme of things. From my point of view, as I tell the story, all she is there for is to forward my plans, in order to get my servant Joseph into the place from which he will rise to be Grand Vizier of Egypt, and the savior of nations.


Lord, enable us to see things your way, and to trust when we can’t see.