08 February 2013

He did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate

After it became obvious that everything Joseph took care of prospered, the Bible (Gen 39) notes that Potiphar put Joseph in charge of everything in his house. Potiphar needed only to concern himself with the food that he ate.

Today if I hear that someone only concerns himself with the food that he eats, the following picture of the person enters into my head. He/she is most likelye obsessed with food, selfish and self-absorbed, and lazy. And the combination of food obsession and laziness probably means that he's fat. Combine that with the self-absorbed laziness, and it's definitely not ideal husband material.

Perhaps in biblical times things were slightly different, but that doesn't change that the Bible sharply contrasts Potiphar with Joseph. Within the same verse (39:6), Potiphar hands over his responsibilities to Joseph, Potiphar is said to be only concerned with food, and it is noted that Joseph was handsome and well-built. Who wouldn't choose Joseph above Potiphar?!?

The fact that Potiphar imprisons Joseph instead of killing him, which was the more obvious response to someone taking advantage of one's wife, raises questions about how much Potiphar was aware of how much his wife would have been attracted to Joseph. It also raises questions of how much Potiphar might have wondered about whether his wife would choose faithfulness to him when Joseph was obviously a better choice.

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