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Bible: What Does Genesis 39-40 Teach Us About Joseph and Potiphar's Wife? Sermon Outline

Updated on October 4, 2016

Joseph and Potiphar's Wife


Sexual Immorality

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Joseph and Potiphar's Wife/Interpreting the Dreams of the Butler and the Baker

Returning to the Joseph narrative, the author reviews what happened to this young man after the Ishmaelites relocated him to Egypt and the Egyptian official Potiphar purchased him (v. 1).

God makes Joseph such a successful administrator (vv. 2-3) that “the Egyptian” authorizes him to manage the affairs of his entire house; consequently, the house of Potiphar prospers as never before (vv. 4-6a).

By way of transition to the next scene, the narrator mentions that Joseph is also a handsome man (v. 6b).

Joseph’s comeliness attracts Potiphar’s wife, who daily seeks to seduce him to commit adultery with her (vv. 7, 10).

The young man, however, righteously refuses her advances, basing his decision upon his commitment both to Potiphar (vv. 8-9a) and to God (v. 9b).

[Joseph is unlike Samson who did not shun the wiles of Delilah (cf. Judges 16)].

One day Potiphar’s wife forces herself on him, grabbing his outer garment; Joseph manages to escape from her clutches, yet without his coat (vv. 11-12).

Infuriated by his continued refusal, she fabricates an effective lie, saying to the servants that “the Hebrew” attempted to rape her (vv. 13-15).

Keeping Joseph’s garment as evidence, she recounts the same falsehood to Potiphar, who subsequently casts his servant into prison (vv. 16-20).

Interestingly enough, Joseph experiences the same divine mercy and blessing in administering the activities of the prisoners as he did in managing Potiphar’s affairs (vv. 21-23).


Joseph: A Type of Christ?

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Genesis 40

The Butler and the Baker

After offending Pharaoh, the chief butler and chief baker in Egypt find themselves in prison with Joseph, whom the captain of the guard orders to serve them (vv. 1-4).

One providential way in which Joseph serves them is by interpreting their troubling dream (vv. 5-8).

The chief butler recounts his version of the dream: a ripe grapevine produces delicious juice to pour into Pharaoh’s cup (vv. 9-11).

Joseph’s interpretation is good news to the butler, for it signifies that Pharaoh will restore the latter to his former position in three days (vv. 12-13).

In “payment” for his services, Joseph asks only that the butler “remember” him before Pharaoh, so that the king might release him from prison (vv. 14-15).

Encouraged by Joseph’s good word for the butler, the baker tells Joseph his tale.

In the dream the baker had three baskets on his head; birds ate baked goods out of the uppermost basket (vv. 16-17).

Joseph does not "hem and haw," but reports that Pharaoh will behead the baker in three days, and the birds will consume his hanging corpse (vv. 18-19).

On the third day, at Pharaoh’s birthday party, the king performs exactly what Joseph interpreted, restoring the chief butler to his former position and hanging the chief baker (vv. 20-22).

The butler, however, does not “remember” Joseph’s plight but forgets him (v. 23).

[Joseph surely knew what it meant to be rejected, mistreated, and forgotten by men, yet Moses never records that he ever complained.

What an amazing testimony!]


Teaching/Preaching Outline

Genesis 39-50---The Acts of Joseph

Although Joseph apparently exhibited less than mature judgment as a seventeen-year old (37:5-7, 9), he atoned for it by displaying stellar behavior and exhibiting godly wisdom as an adult. He stands as a model for believers in all ages.

In addition, his latter decisions as a ruler in Egypt altered the course of history not only in that country and of all the lands of the ancient Near East (41:57), but also (and especially) of the nation of Israel.

I. As the overseer (manager) of Potiphar's house, he exercised proper respect for privilege (39: 4-20).

A. Joseph stood in his integrity (professionally).
1. By taking care of every detail, both field and house prospered (39:5).
2. By performing his role superbly, he put the head of the house at ease (39:6)

B. Joseph stood in his integrity (morally).
1. By maintaining the trust of Potiphar with his wife (39:8, 9)
2. By remaining faithful to his God (39:9)

II. As an interpreter, he channeled all credit to Yahweh (40:8; 41:16).

A. Joseph knew that he was a gifted man.
1. He was obligated to serve mankind with his gift (40:6-8).
2. He was also cognizant that God was the gift-giver (40:8).

B. Joseph realized that he did not innately possess the gift.
1. He understood that by himself he was nothing (41:16).
2. He directed Pharaoh to the only one who could give him peace (41:16).

III. As a ruler in Egypt, he administered state affairs with Godly wisdom (41:46-49, 56; 45:5-8).

A. Joseph took the initiative to gather all the grain, and even planned for its distribution.
1. He traveled throughout Egypt and made the food easily accessible (41:46).
2. He sold the grain; he did not make it a government giveaway (41:56).

B. Joseph learned that God had sovereignly relocated him with gracious purposes.
1. To preserve a posterity for the sons of Israel (45:7)
2. To deliver the sons of Israel from death (45:7)
3. To be a witness to Pharaoh and all Egypt (45:8)

IV. As a brother, he manifested great mercy and kindness (50:15-21).

A. Joseph understood that only God was qualified to judge his brothers (50:19).
B. Joseph considered his brothers' moral frailty, and he forgave them (50:20).
C. Joseph provided for their needs (50:21).

© 2012 glynch1


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