Joseph– The Falsely Accused

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The Holy Spirit is meant to confirm the gospel, strengthening believers in their faith unto salvation on the day of the Lord. Therefore the initial Jewish Christians knew the Gentiles would inherit the resurrection, apart from circumcision, because “God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us” (Acts 15: 8, NIV; cf. Acts 10: 45; 11: 17)…

Because God’s Spirit sustains what he made, the Spirit is also referred to as the “Helper” (John 14: 16,26; 15: 26; 16: 7; cf. 1 John 2: 1). The Holy Spirit helps the saints in their attainment of eternal life, for it is by the gifts of the Spirit that Jesus “will sustain you to the end” (1 Cor. 1: 8). The Spirit likewise protects the saints, as Peter encourages in regard to the hope of “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade— kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1: 4– 5, NIV).

Thus we are “kept” and “guarded” (John 17: 12) from the evil one in this age, for “he who was born of God protects him” (1 John 5: 18). Jesus is with us to the end of the age (Matt. 28: 20), and the Holy Spirit intercedes for us while we hope for future glory (Rom. 8: 25– 27). – John P. Harrigan, The Gospel of Christ Crucified: A Theology of Suffering before Glory

In this second chapter of Genesis about Joseph, we find matters going from seemingly bad to worse… But the LORD was with him… Some eight times in this chapter, in one way or another, it is said that the LORD was with Joseph.

When Joseph was taken to Egypt by the Ishmaelite traders, he was purchased by Potiphar, an Egyptian officer. Potiphar was captain of the guard for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. 2 The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. 3 Potiphar noticed this and realized that the Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did. 4 This pleased Potiphar, so he soon made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned. 5 From the day Joseph was put in charge of his master’s household and property, the Lord began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake. All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished. 6 So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned. With Joseph there, he didn’t worry about a thing—except what kind of food to eat! (Gen 39:1-5 NLT).

Potiphar saw that the Hand of the LORD was on Joseph and took advantage of that. He was not wrong in this.  But this does not imply that Potiphar was acquainted with Jehovah but simply that he concluded Joseph to be under the Divine protection.  So he made Joseph the business manager of all his holdings, which were considerable.

Joseph was a very handsome and well-built young man, 7 and Potiphar’s wife soon began to look at him lustfully. “Come and sleep with me,” she demanded. 8 But Joseph refused. “Look,” he told her, “my master trusts me with everything in his entire household. 9 No one here has more authority than I do. He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God” (Gen 39:6-9 NLT).

Joseph was impeccably honest, full of integrity, and young and nice-looking. Tradition says that Potiphar’s wife was named Zuleikah.  She became consumed with lust toward Joseph and solicited him for sex.  The action of Joseph in resisting her advances showed him to hold fast to the worldview and faith of the true “firstborn.”

Joseph argued three reasons against wrongdoing: gratitude to his master, who had put everything into his hand, respect for his master’s wife, and Fear of God.

She kept putting pressure on Joseph day after day, but he refused to sleep with her, and he kept out of her way as much as possible. 11 One day, however, no one else was around when he went in to do his work. 12 She came and grabbed him by his cloak, demanding, “Come on, sleep with me!” Joseph tore himself away, but he left his cloak in her hand as he ran from the house. 13 When she saw that she was holding his cloak and he had fled, 14 she called out to her servants. Soon all the men came running. “Look!” she said. “My husband has brought this Hebrew slave here to make fools of us! He came into my room to rape me, but I screamed. 15 When he heard me scream, he ran outside and got away, but he left his cloak behind with me” (Gen 39:10-15 NLT).

Business demanded that Joseph frequent Potiphar’s house. No doubt he would have done anything to have avoided contact with Zuleikah, but the situation presented itself as a trap.  And so the trap is ultimately sprung.

Interestingly, this is the second occasion that the Sacred History speaks of Joseph’s garment. His brothers took the one; Potiphar’s wife the other.  The brothers tried to hide their sin with that garment, and Zuleikah tried to hide hers in the same manner.

She kept the cloak with her until her husband came home. 17 Then she told him her story. “That Hebrew slave you’ve brought into our house tried to come in and fool around with me,” she said. 18 “But when I screamed, he ran outside, leaving his cloak with me!” 19 Potiphar was furious when he heard his wife’s story about how Joseph had treated her. 20 So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king’s prisoners were held, and there he remained (Gen 39:16-20 NLT).

Satan would surmise that if he cannot get Joseph to do that which is wrong, he will have him locked up in prison for years. The LORD, of course, could have stopped this demonic plot, but as with the story of Job, He had His purposes in not stopping it.

In one moment, Joseph exchanged a palace for a prison. Psalms 105:17-20 states that he was laid in iron and his feet hurt with fetters.  And he had done nothing wrong.  He was falsely accused and condemned.

But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden. 22 Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. 23 The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed (Gen 39:21-23 NLT).

The Text tells us that the LORD was with Joseph as much in the prison as he had been in the palace. Remarkably, Joseph accepted this position, without saying a word or attempting to justify or defend himself.

It is the Glory of God to conceal a thing; but the honor of kings is to search out a matter. The Heaven for height, and the Earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.  Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.  Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.  Put not forth yourself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men.  For better it is that it be said unto you, Come up hither, than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince whom your eyes have seen (Prov 2-7 KJV).