February 11, 2014 by Chris French
The Ishmaelites (descendants of Ishmael, Abraham’s 1st son) sold Joseph to a man named Potiphar. The Bible says that Potiphar was the Captain of the Guard, which means that he was the head guy over all of Pharaoh’s executioners. This position apparently also included being in charge of the state prison, the one Joseph, the cupbearer and the baker all end up in. From what I can tell from the Hebrew words used you might be familiar with this type of prison. It probably looks a lot Rapunzel’s turret! The word Moses uses to describe the “prison” is literally a round house or a turret. This is the word almost everyone uses to describe the place where Joseph was held, but when Joseph (Gen. 40.15) and Pharaoh (Gen. 41.14) refer to this place they refer to it as a pit or a dungeon. Maybe the picture we should be thinking of here is of a turret that has a cellar or a cistern inside of it and that is where Joseph, the baker and the cupbearer were thrown. From Psalm 105.18 we know that probably when he was first thrown into this prison that Joseph was forced to wear shackles around his neck and around his ankles, but apparently he gained more freedom fairly quickly because the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of the other prisoners. When the cupbearer and the baker come into the picture the warden appoints Joseph as their servant.
In case you can’t tell today we’re looking at Genesis 39-41. Take some time and read over these chapters a couple of times today. They span quite a few years, but they’re the most pivotal time in Joseph’s life. You see him go from complete poverty to prosperity in Potiphar’s house to shackled to a wall in prison to 2nd in command of all of Egypt!
As you read notice that Potiphar saw that God was with him (Gen. 39.3) and that Pharaoh could see that God was working thru Joseph (Gen. 41.39-40). It seems clear to both men that God was with Joseph.
How is it clear to the people around you that God is with you?
There’s a Bible answer to this question and there are other answers. I want to know what God says alerts outsiders that you’re a believer. Here are just a few:
1) How we love each other (John 13.35)
2) How we suffer (1 Peter 3.13-16)
3) Our unity (John 17.20-23)
In your study what have you seen that alerts non-believers that there is a believer in their midst?