Did Joseph forgive Potiphar’s wife?

Joseph was well known for forgiving his brothers. They were probably the main ‘transgressors’ in his life but we know that there were other people who had also sinned against Joseph. For a start, there was Potiphar’s wife and of course the butler who’d left him in prison and got on with his life. Talk about helping someone only for them to forget about you!

The focus of this article is Potiphar’s wife and let’s imagine for a moment what might have happened to her when Joseph became Prime Minister of Egypt.

There was likely a significant age difference between Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. Joseph was a teenager (Gen 37:2) when he was sold into slavery in Egypt.  We do not know how old he was when he got noticed by Potiphar’s wife. Given his rank, Potiphar was almost certainly middle aged – as probably was his wife.

Just as Potiphar had raised Joseph up to be in charge of his household, and just as the warden had raised him up to be in charge of the prison, now Pharaoh raised him up to be in charge of the whole land of Egypt. By royal decree, Joseph was elevated to the position of Prime Minister of Egypt. He was second only to Pharaoh.

The duties of the Prime Minister were critical and varied. He had total control of the government, assessed and collected taxes, appointed officials, controlled public works, built new monuments, and maintained records and the food supply. Joseph is placed in a high position and given the trappings of high office (Genesis 41:40-35).

This was Joseph’s golden moment and what would he do with it? How would he react to years of injustice? How was he going to react to Potiphar and his wife? This was his moment. He had the power to get even; what would you have done in his position? We can choose either the peace of God or the bitterness of revenge.

God resists the proud. I believe Joseph had a forgiving Spirit (Genesis 45:4-5 and 50:19-21). Joseph had the ability to see the wider picture. He would have known that God was in control. He would have forgiven Potiphar’s wife and everyone else who offended him. We need to understand that God doesn’t want us to forgive only the main ‘perpetrators’ in our lives but extend forgiveness to all those who have offended us… regardless of how great or small the offence.

The apostle Paul has a message for us (Ephesians 4:31-32). When you become petty and bitter, you lose the favour of God.

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you

As the Lord brings people and offences to our minds, let us hand over away any weight of unforgiveness remembering as Jesus said that we need to forgive as many times as we need to: seventy times seven.

So let us develop the art of forgiving and we will be surprised what God will do.

Until I appear again in your inbox with more insight from the scriptures, stay blessed



About the Author: Ola Aroyehun

Ola Aroyehun editor of The Christian Business and Professional Magazine: a magazine dedicated to helping Christians apply biblical principles to their professional lives.

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