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At this chapter we return to the story of Joseph. We have him here,
- A servant, a slave in Potiphar's house, ver. 1.
and yet there greatly honoured and favoured,
- By the providence of God, which made him in effect a master,
ver. 2 - 6.
- By the grace of God, which made him more than conqueror over
a strong temptation, ver. 7 - 12.
- We have him a sufferer, falsely accused, ver. 13 - 18.
Imprisoned, ver. 19, 20.
And yet his imprisonment made both honourable and comfortable by
the tokens of God's special presence with him, ver. 21 - 23.
1: 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.
2: 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.
6: 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.
9: 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.
10: 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.
12: 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.
20: 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, (Ps 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.
21: But the Lord was with Joseph and shewed him mercy. God
despiseth not his prisoners, (Ps 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.