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Gen 39

BACKGROUND: It was the 19th – 18th century BC and the time of the Middle Kingdom in Egypt. The capital was situated in Memphis in those days (Take a look at the map.) The Commander of the imperial guard was a very highly esteemed courtier, who was responsible for the safety of the Pharaoh.

1-6a Read verse 2 and look at the map Joseph’s journey from Dothan to Memphis.

- If a camel can travel 25 km a day, how long did Joseph’s journey take?
- How long do you think it took before Joseph got over the shock that the sudden change of life caused him?
- Do you think it is possible for a man to get over that kind of destiny without bitterness? Why – why not?
- Imagine how the selling of Joseph at the market of Memphis took place.
- Which traits of Joseph’s character probably made the highly esteemed slaves buyer to pay attention to him?
- What kind of work did Joseph probably have to do in the beginning of his career as a slave?
- What prevented Joseph from totally giving up all hope and trying?
- How long do you think it took for this 17-year old orphan boy before he could master the language of Egypt?
- In which way Joseph was probably tested before he was given more responsibility?
- If Joseph had been full of bitterness, how would it have appeared in his life?
- How did Joseph know that the Lord was with him?
- How did others know that the Lord was with Joseph?
- How is it possible that twenty year old Joseph was ranked higher in the order of precedence than those who were born in the house and those who were twice his age?

Joseph was at that age, when the hormones are spinning around inside and he was not able to arrange himself a wife. That is why in many courts those days the male servants were castrated, so that no secret relationships could develop between them and their mistress. In Potiphar’s house castration had not been done, but the master had clearly told the slaves not to touch his wife (9).

- What kind of a marriage Joseph was probably dreaming of in his mind?
- What do you think about a woman who makes such a suggestion to her young slave (7, 10)?
- What kind of feelings does a man’s “no” usually raise in a woman’s heart?
- In which ways did Mrs. Pothipar probably try to break Joseph’s self-control?
- Which option is more likely in your opinion: a) Mrs Pothipar had really honestly fallen in love with Joseph or b) Mrs Pothipar had already previously had relationships with her slaves?
- If Joseph had started a sexual relationship with his mistress how could he have defended himself in front of his own conscience?
- Read carefully Joseph’s answer in verses 8-9. What was the thing that kept this young man from taking sexual pleasure where he could have had it?
- How can we resist sexual temptations like Joseph did? (You can also answer silently in your mind.)

- Why did Mrs. Potiphar refuse to give up (11-12)?
- Would there have been some other way in which Joseph might have found himself out of the painful situation (other than escape)? If yes, then which way?
- Do you think Mrs. Potiphar considered the consequences of her actions when deciding to take revenge on Joseph (13-14)? Give reasons for your answer.
- Who do you think the other slaves believed: the mistress or Joseph? Give reasons for your answer.
- What inconsistencies does Mrs. Potiphar’s story contain (17-18)?
- Pothipar knew that Joseph had always been an honest man. Why didn’t he believe Joseph’s word in this situation?
- Why does the world usually believe a woman’s word rather than a man’s word, when it is a question of sexual harassment?
- What did Joseph probably think about God in that moment, when he was thrown to prison?
- Why was Joseph put in the nobility’s prison and not in the slaves’ prison?

Summarizing question:
- In which way does Joseph’s destiny remind Jesus’ destiny?

IN CONCLUSION: Both Joseph and Jesus overcame the temptations of the devil, but they both were being punished as if they had failed to stand their temptations.

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