7 “And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” 8 But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. 9 He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:7–9 (ESV)
13 “The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing. 14 She sits at the door of her house; she takes a seat on the highest places of the town, 15 calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way, 16 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” And to him who lacks sense she says, 17“Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” 18 But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.” (Proverbs 9:13–18 (ESV)
The sin by Potiphar’s wife against Joseph began with her eyes. She began to desire Joseph in what she saw (Gen. 39:6; I John 2:15-17). She brazenly commanded him to lie with her, which is another way of saying she wanted to be physically intimate with the young Hebrew. Her demands towards him were relentless.
Dr. Don Carson writes, “Remarkable beauty, either of men or women, often proves a dangerous snare both to themselves and others, which forbids pride in it and commands constant watchfulness against the temptation that attends it. We have great need to make a covenant with our eyes (Job 31:1), lest the eye infect the heart. Joseph’s mistress had a husband that ought to have been to her for a covering of the eyes from all others (Gen. 20:16).”
However, Joseph’s integrity shone brightly. He continually and fervently refused to have anything to do with her. He even continually told her why he would not give in to her advances. “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. 9 He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”
Joseph logically told Potiphar’s wife that he could not sin against Potiphar in light of all the good he had done on Joseph’s behalf. However, the ultimate reason was he saw her sin in contrast to God’s holiness. What she wanted to do was great wickedness and sin against the LORD. It was depraved and it was wrong.
Dr. Carson adds, “She was daring and shameless in the sin. With an impudent face, and a harlot’s forehead, she said, Lie with me, having already, by her wanton looks and unchaste desires, committed adultery with him in her heart. Note, where the unclean spirit gets possession and dominion in a soul, it is as with the possessed of the devils (Luke 8:27, 29), the clothes of modesty are thrown off and the bands and fetters of shame are broken in pieces. When lust has got a head, it will stick at nothing, blush at nothing; decency, and reputation, and conscience, are all sacrificed to that Baal-peor.”
May each of us resolve to not sacrifice decency, reputation and conscience for the fleeting and deceptive desire of sin.
Soli deo Gloria!