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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 39

Wesley's Explanatory NotesWesley's Notes

Verse 1

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.

The Jews have a proverb, If the world did but know the worth of good men, they would hedge them about with pearls. Joseph was sold to an officer of Pharaoh, with whom he might get acquainted with public persons, and public business, and so be fitted for the preferment he was afterwards designed for. What God intends men for, he will be sure, some way or other, to qualify them for.

Verse 2

And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.

Those that can separate us from all our friends, cannot deprive us of the gracious presence of our God. When Joseph had none of his relations with him, he had his God with him, even in the house of the Egyptian: Joseph was banished from his father’s house, but the Lord was with him. It is God’s presence with us that makes all we do prosperous. Those that would prosper, must therefore make God their friend; and those that do prosper, must therefore give God the praise.

Verse 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.

He knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat — The servant had all the care and trouble of the estate, the master had only the enjoyment of it; an example not to be imitated by any master, unless he could be sure that he had one like Joseph for a servant.

Verse 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?

How can I sin against God — Not only how shall I do it and sin against my master, my mistress, myself, my own body and soul, but against God? - Gracious souls look upon this as the worst thing in sin, that it is against God, against his nature and his dominion, against his love and his design. They that love God, for this reason hate sin.

Verse 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.

He hearkened not to her, so much as to be with her. Those that would be kept from harm, must keep themselves out of harm’s way.

Verse 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.

When she laid hold on him, he left his garment in her hand - He would not stay to parley with the temptation, but flew out from it with the utmost abhorrence, he left his garment as one escaping for his life.

Verse 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.

Where the king’s prisoners were bound — Potiphar, it is likely, chose that prison because it was the worst; for there the irons entered into the soul, Psalms 105:18, but God designed it to pave the way to his enlargement. Our Lord Jesus, like Joseph was bound, and numbered with the transgressors.

Verse 21

But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.

But the Lord was with Joseph and shewed him mercy. God despiseth not his prisoners, Psalms 69:33. No gates nor bars can shut out his gracious presence from his people.

God gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison — God can raise up friends for his people even where they little expect them. The keeper saw that God was with him, and that every thing prospered under his hand, and therefore intrusted him with the management of the affairs of the prison.

Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Genesis 39". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/wen/genesis-39.html. 1765.
 
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