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Unsaved: Potiphar

Introduction: Potiphar was who Joseph worked for in Egypt. Potiphar was an important man then and helped to jumpstart Joseph and what he would later do in Egypt. God will use the unsaved just as much as the righteous. God as we just saw will use situations and will also use people even when they do not know they are being used. Joseph was an aide of Potiphar whom Potiphar trusted. So the word is AIDE

Focus Scripture Luke 6:27-28 27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

These are the words of Jesus and yet this is the attitude of Joseph in Egypt. We are told to have this same attitude for this message is repeated in Matthew during the Sermon on the Mount. Do good to them not because of what people do to you but because of whose you are. Pray for the people who do wrong to you and love them with the love of God in you. Treat men because of whose you are and not because of what they are.

Affair Joseph was accused of having an affair even though he did not do so. HE was right in his heart before God at all times. He showed that he loved the Lord and would not do anything immoral even when presented with the chance to do so.

Gen 39:6-11 6 And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.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.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.

The boss’s wife wanted him bad and yet he refused her. IT would up that his morality caused him to be cast into prison. IF he were immoral he might have stayed in his position but in the end his morality would save him. God honors our relationship even if for a time it causes us to seemingly be demoted. The woman was not trustworthy and caused problems for others. I am sure that this was not the first time she did this to someone for she could do this to someone who did so well for her house!


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.

Now although she was immoral she was able to cover up her immorality and get the one who refused her out of the house at the same time. Her plan was set. Joseph was a favored worker and her husband thought highly so she needed some evidence to prove her story before her husband believed her.


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.21 But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it.23 The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.

HE believed his wife and got mad at his valued servant and possibly his friend. So he took him to the prison. He might have been in charge of the prison as the captain of the guard or had influence with the warden of the jail. Some think he may have also been the executioner, but Potiphar was an important person and may had favor to put Joseph in jail without a trial. But God showed Joseph mercy and was soon again shown favor with the warden. He also had favor with the prisoners. God caused him to prosper no matter where he was, prison, Potiphar, Midianites, family – wherever he was!

Important man Potiphar was an important man for it is said that he was captain of the guard and had influence with the warden. He probably knew Pharaoh and also we know that Potiphar was very rich since he had servants and made Joseph head over the servants in his house. He could hire other people and paid the Midianites for Joseph.

Gen 37:36 36 And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard.

The Midianites paid 20 pieces of silver so it is probable they got more for Joseph then what they paid for him. So maybe they wound up getting even 30 pieces of silver from Potiphar or maybe it was a royal purchase from Pharaoh to Potiphar for his household staff.

Some say that it means chief of the guards, or chief executioner but it could also mean prime minister. It could mean that Potiphar was an official title and not a name. The passage says it was to Potiphar and officer that was related in some function to Pharaoh (possible head of the kitchen) and had a royal function (captain of the guard). Joseph was later given the daughter of the priest Potiphera (same name as Potiphar)? Because of his position Potiphar might have had the cook thrown in jail and maybe the butler too- so they might have understood Joseph’s plight and felt sorry for him.

39:1-2,20 And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmaelites, which had brought him down thither.2 And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 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.

God blessed Joseph in all he did, whether he was a slave or in prison or living as a son of Jacob. He had God’s favor go before him and the Spirit led him in all he did. We learn some other facts and that the jail was a royal jail where only the kings prisoners were kept so Joseph was in that jail because of Potiphar being a royal worker and having influence with Pharaoh.

Dreamer Joseph and Daniel were the 2 in the OT who not only had dreams but also interpreted dreams. The Holy Spirit told Joseph the meaning of the dreams of others and that is what caused him to be promoted. What the Holy Spirit does in us is what God uses to promote each of us. We will look only look at the 3 dreams in Egypt.

Gen 40:8-15 8 And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.9 And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me;10 And in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes:11 And 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.12 And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days:13 Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh's cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler.14 But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house:15 For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.

The chief butler told the dream first and there were 3 branches with clusters of grapes. He had Pharaoh’s cup and gave it to Pharaoh. Within 3 days you will go back to your job. Joseph said remember me when you get back. Joseph freely gave this ministry to these 2 men.

Gen 40:16-23 16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three white baskets on my head:17 And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bake meats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head.18 And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: The three baskets are three days:19 Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee.20 And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants.21 And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand:22 But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them.23 Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.

As we saw earlier that Potiphar may have been in charge of Pharaoh’s kitchen so the chief baker may have been under Potiphar. Joseph may have known both of these men while he worked with Potiphar. The 3 baskets were 3 days but the birds did eat out of the baskets. The birds commonly ate from condemned criminals. So on the 3rd day he did 2 things 1) restore the chief butler and 2) execute the chief baker in honor of his birthday. Pharaoh did not know what Joseph said so the interpretation came from God.

Gen 41:15-32 15 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it.16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.17 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river:18 And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fatfleshed and well favoured; and they fed in a meadow:19 And, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill favoured and leanfleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness:20 And the lean and the ill favoured kine did eat up the first seven fat kine:21 And when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them; but they were still ill favoured, as at the beginning. So I awoke.22 And I saw in my dream, and, behold, seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good:23 And, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them:24 And the thin ears devoured the seven good ears: and I told this unto the magicians; but there was none that could declare it to me.25 And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do.26 The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one.27 And the seven thin and ill favoured kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine.28 This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: What God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh.29 Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt:30 And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land;31 And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous.32 And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.

Pharaoh had a dream and it reminded the butler of Joseph. So the butler said hey Pharaoh I know someone who can help you out. Joseph comes out and goes to Pharaoh and then hears the dream. This Hebrew slave who was sent to Jail being called the Hebrew Slave, but Joseph has the Spirit of God to guide him. Pharaoh has a dream of cows and also of corn. The skinny will eat the fat cows and corn. So 7 years of prosperity followed by 7 years of famine. The 2 dreams are saying the same thing.

Egyptian promotion of Joseph God always will promote the children of the Lord. God promised that he would prosper the children of Israel so he did. IT did not matter if Joseph was in an alien land, the promises of God were still true. God wanted to exalt him so the promises would come true over 400 years later. God is beyond time. So Joseph was promoted even though he was considered a slave and also a Hebrew. Hebrews were not liked because Hebrews were shepherds and the Egyptians did not like shepherds.

Gen 39:1-6 And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.2 And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.3 And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand.4 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.5 And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.6 And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.

Potiphar promoted Joseph over his own slaves. They may have been Egyptian servants but Joseph was a Hebrew. So he was not from Egypt and promoted over them. He was made into a prosperous man himself. God blessed Potiphar because of Joseph. Whatever Joseph did prospered whether in the house or out in the field.

Gen 41:38-46 38 And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art:40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou.41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.42 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.44 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.45 And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.46 And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.

Joseph was promoted next to Pharaoh so he was the 2nd ruler over the whole land. He was now above Potiphar and also had his daughter as his wife, so he became the son in law of Potiphar whose wife had accused him. He was a big man in the kingdom and God continued to prosper him no matter what he did. God is with him at all times and is with us at all times as well.

Conclusion Joseph was mistreated even though he did not deserve it. He was right before the Lord yet trouble came. Just because we do right it does not mean good things will come. Bad things come to good people but no matter what it is important to be right before the Lord in all things and at all times. God will honor our commitment and morality to him though it might not come at the time we want!

Next week: Unsaved: Pharaoh

This sermon is copyrighted @2018 and is the property of our Pastor- Rev. Dr. Don Carson. Used by permission and for more information or questions call Pastor Don during the day at 732-297-7794.