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The story of joseph and potipars wife as told in the bible

In short, she has no purpose. Rich, bored and idle, she becomes infatuated with Joseph. He refuses her advances and runs from the room.

He had every God-given advantage: But he was a slave. His owners could do what they wanted with him.

Genesis 39 : Joseph and Potiphar

For a while, nothing happened. Since Joseph ran the household, she was in constant contact with him. She seems to have been a lonely, bored woman thrown into the company of an unusually handsome, attractive man, a Brad Pitt of the ancient world. See Slaves in the Bible for information about slavery in the ancient world. See Erotic Egyptian Love Songs.

But the biblical narrator does not share that idea: The Egyptian wife did not sees things like this.

Potiphar’s Wife cries ‘Rape!’

Neglected as she was by her husband, she lost her head. Joseph was in a delicate situation. He had to either offend the wife or betray her husband. He judged that the former was less dangerous, and repulsed the woman. The wife was now in the grip of uncontrollable infatuation. One day when they were alone in the house she again begged for his love. In the physical tussle that followed, she pulled off the linen kalasiris that was the normal clothing of an Egyptian man or woman.

  1. He charged Joseph with the attempted rape of his wife, and put him in prison.
  2. In the physical tussle that followed, she pulled off the linen kalasiris that was the normal clothing of an Egyptian man or woman.
  3. This is a comment on events in Samuel, transposed into the Joseph story, but indirectly. The sophisticated Egyptian culture always posed a danger to Israel.
  4. The sophisticated Egyptian culture always posed a danger to Israel.
  5. But he was a slave.

Naked, Joseph ran out of the room and then out of the house altogether, leaving his kalasiris behind. She had been humiliated by a slave, and she knew it.

A Woman’s Slave

What was more, she knew that she had no-one to blame but herself. In her escalating fury she lashed out at Joseph. Then she waited until her husband came into the house, and told him the same story, blaming him for bringing trouble to their house in the form of this foreign slave.

The text leaves this question unanswered.

Potiphar’s wife, notorious Bible woman

He too faced a dilemma: He probably reluctantly chose the latter course of action, impelled by the fact that the incident was now common knowledge and that he would, as a cuckold, become the object of ridicule. He charged Joseph with the attempted rape of his wife, and put him in prison. This relatively lenient punishment suggests that his wife may have sought to fulfil her needs with other men before.

The Book of Ruth was written at a time when ordinary Jewish families were trying to defend the foreign women who had married their sons during the Exile in Babylon. This is a comment on events in Samuel, transposed into the Joseph story, but indirectly.

In fact, these very stories may be the springboard for the Shakespearean world-view: The sophisticated Egyptian culture always posed a danger to Israel. The Israelites led by Moses would eventually flee from it, just as in this story Joseph fled from an alluring Egyptian woman. The contrast between Egypt and Israel.

They had different ideals, different cultures, different practices. For an example, see the love poems from ancient Egypt. Contrast them with the love poems in the Song of Songs.

Who Is The Real Victim In The Seduction Story Of Joseph And Potiphar’s Wife?

Though in an apparently vulnerable position, Joseph was able to resist the allure of a foreign woman and a foreign culture. Both tried to entice him, but he stayed true to the Israelite moral code.

This is a way of making her seem less real.