13 And as soon as she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled out of the house, 14 she called to the men of her household and said to them, “See, he has brought among us a Hebrew to laugh at us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. 15 And as soon as he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me and fled and got out of the house.” (Genesis 39:13–15 (ESV)
Joseph did the right thing in fleeing Potiphar’s home (2 Tim. 2:22). Dr. Don Carson writes, “Here is a most illustrious instance of virtue and resolved chastity in Joseph, who, by the grace of God, was enabled to resist and overcome this temptation; and, all things considered, his escape was, for aught I know, as great an instance of the divine power as the deliverance of the three children out of the fiery furnace.”
Joseph’s flight from evil was a response all believers in Christ would do well to imitate (1 Tim. 6:11). God promises to bless those who obey Him and resist transgression (Deut. 28:1–14; Matt. 5:10). However, this episode in Joseph’s life reveals that the reward from God is not always immediate. As one pastor writes, “faithfulness often brings persecution.”
English playwright and poet William Congreve (1670-1729) wrote, “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.” It did not take long for Potiphar’s wife to turn against Joseph. She wanted him, but he refused. Therefore, she became determined to destroy him any way she could. She called to the men of the house and falsely accused Joseph of attempted rape.
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Joseph’s rapid exit would raise many questions, and so Potiphar’s wife acts quickly to avoid any blame. She appeals to the basest instincts of the other servants and emphasizes Joseph’s foreign heritage to cast him as an outsider and as a threat to the household (Gen. 39:14). Moreover, she lies outright, accusing Joseph of her actions by saying “he left” his garment (vv. 15–18), terminology that implies he willingly disrobed instead of struggling to escape her. Potiphar’s wife shows how sinners attempt to corrupt the way others see us when they cannot entice us to follow their schemes.”
Joseph’s resistance of temptation was very brave, and his obedience to the LORD truly honorable. The almighty grace of God enabled him to overcome this assault of the enemy. May the LORD provide each of us the same almighty grace (I Cor. 10:12-13). He has promised to do so.
Soli deo Gloria!