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Genesis Chapter 39
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Joseph's Temptation
39:1 Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, one of Pharaoh's Egyptian officers, the captain of the guard, had purchased him from the Arabs who had brought him there.
39:2 God was with Joseph, and He made him very successful. Soon he was working in his master's own house.
39:3 His master realized that God was with [Joseph], and that God granted success to everything he did.
39:4 Joseph gained favor with [his master] and before long, he was appointed as [his master's] personal servant. [His master] placed him in charge of his household, giving him responsibility for everything he owned.
39:5 And as soon as [his master] had placed him in charge of his household and possessions, God blessed the Egyptian because of Joseph. God's blessing was in all [the Egyptian] had, both in the house and the field.
39:6 [His master] left all his affairs in Joseph's hands, except for the food he himself ate. He did not concern himself with anything [Joseph] did. Meanwhile, Joseph grew to be well built and handsome.
39:7 In the course of time, his master's wife cast her eyes on Joseph. 'Sleep with me,' she said.
39:8 He adamantly refused. He reasoned with his master's wife. 'My master does not even know what I do in the house. He has entrusted me with everything he owns.
39:9 No one in this house has more power than I have. He has not kept back anything at all from me, except for you - his wife. How could I do such a great wrong? It would be a sin before God!'
39:10 She spoke to Joseph every day, but he would not pay attention to her. He would not even lie next to her or spend time with her.
39:11 One such day, [Joseph] came to the house to do his work. None of the household staff was inside.
39:12 [The woman] grabbed him by his cloak. 'Sleep with me!' she pleaded. He ran away from her, leaving his cloak in her hand, and fled outside.
39:13 When she realized that he had left his cloak in her hand and fled outside,
39:14 she called her household servants. 'See!' she said. 'He brought us a Hebrew man to play games with us! He came to rape me, but I screamed as loud as I could!
39:15 When he heard me scream and call for help, he ran outside and left his cloak with me!'
39:16 She kept [Joseph's] cloak with her until his master came home,
39:17 and she told him the same story. 'The Hebrew slave that you brought us came to play games with me!
39:18 When I screamed and called for help, he fled outside, leaving his cloak with me!'
39:19 When her husband heard his wife's story and her description of the incident, he became furious.
39:20 Joseph's master had him arrested, and placed him in the dungeon where the king's prisoners were kept. He was to remain in that dungeon.
39:21 God was with Joseph, and He showed him kindness, making him find favor with the warden of the dungeon.
39:22 Soon, the warden had placed all the prisoners in the dungeon under Joseph's charge. [Joseph] took care of everything that had to be done.
39:23 The warden did not have to look after anything that was under [Joseph's] care. God was with [Joseph], and God granted him success in everything he did.



personal servant

except for the food...
  From context, the final clause modifies the first part of the sentence. Literally, 'He did not concern himself with anything regarding him except for the food he ate.' This is because the Egyptians considered food touched by foreigners to be contaminated (see Genesis 43:32; Ibn Ezra; Radak; cf. Herodotus 2:41). Others say that it refers to the food that Joseph ate, indicating that Joseph was given a special diet, better than that of the other slaves (Josephus 2:4:1). According to others, this is a euphemism for intimacy with his wife (compare Genesis 39:9; Targum Yerushalmi; Rashi; Sh'muel ben Chofni Gaon).

grew to be
  Or 'remained.' Cf. 29:17.

In the course of time
  Literally, 'after these events.' See Genesis 40:1.

  Some say that her name was Zelikhah (Sefer HaYashar, p. 126; cf. Tzava'ath Yosef 3:6).

play games
  Or 'mock us' or 'insult us' or 'have pleasure with us.' The word means to laugh or play.

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