39 12 She grabbed him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand and fled outside. 13 When she realized that he had left his garment in her hand and run outside, 14 she called out to the people of her house and said to them, “Look! My husband brought us a Hebrew to mock us. He came to me to lie with me, but I called out in a loud voice. 15 When he heard me raise my voice and call out, he left his garment beside me and fled outside.” 16 She kept his garment beside her until his master returned home, 17 and she spoke to him the same: “The Hebrew slave came in to me, the one you brought us, to play around with me; 18 but when I raised my voice and called out, he left his garment beside me and fled outside.”
19 When his master heard his wife’s words, “Things like this are what your slave has done to me,” he became incensed. 20 Joseph’s master took him and put him in the prison where the king’s prisoners were held.
While he was in jail, 21 YHWH was with Joseph and extended kindness to him and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 The dungeon warden placed in Joseph’s hands all of the prisoners in the dungeon. Whatever had to be done there, he did it. 23 The prison warden saw to nothing under Joseph’s supervision, because YHWH was with him and whatever he did, YHWH made succeed.
Potiphar’s wife is as cunning as Joseph. With household member’s gone, she acts. Not only does she say, “Come in to me,” she grabs and holds on to his tunic until Joseph wriggles out of it and flees. Calling out until someone comes, she explains that her husband brought this foreign Hebrew to ridicule loyal Egyptians by teasing them with their sexuality. She goes on to declaim her innocence and show Joseph’s garment as proof he had taken it off to lie with her.
Keeping the garment close to her until her husband returned, she retold her story, complete with physical evidence in her hand.
Twice, Joseph had garments taken from him; twice, Joseph had lies told about him—his “death,” his “honor.”
Potiphar becomes angry with Joseph. They both had a good thing going until this claim of sexual misconduct. As a result of Potiphar’s anger, Joseph is thrown in prison, another pit, a dungeon. Even if it were a white-collar prison with water and food, it is, nonetheless, a pit.
G*D, it is claimed, still favors and protects Joseph as he befriends the warden and demonstrates his ability to manage the other prisoners. Just as with Potiphar, Joseph finds the lever of power—enhancing those in power. In this case, Joseph is able to remove the drudgery of wardening from the warden. As long as the warden could coast, Trusty-Joseph became the acting warden. Once again, Joseph moved to the center of his situation and proved an excellent administrator.
At question is what Joseph is learning that will bring him to the center of tribal leadership. Does G*D smoothing your way give a false sense of accomplishment and set up privilege that is for self alone?