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Let thy words be few. Ecclesiastes 5:2

The Bible in fewer words

Episode 20: Potiphar's wife and the interpretation of dreams

(Genesis 39-41)

Potiphar buys Joseph

39 1 When the Ishmaelites arrived in Egypt, Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, bought Joseph from them. 3-4 Potiphar saw that God was with Joseph, so he made Joseph the overseer of his house. 5 And God blessed Potiphar's house for Joseph's sake. 6 Joseph was good-looking.

Potiphar's wife

7 When Potiphar's wife saw Joseph, she said,

Have sex with me.

8 But Joseph refused.

11-12 One day, when Joseph went into the house when there was no one else around, she grabbed his clothing, saying,

Have sex with me.

But Joseph left his clothes in her hand and ran away.

17-18 Potiphar's wife told her husband,

Joseph tried to have sex with me.

But I screamed, and he left his clothes with me and ran away.

Joseph and Potiphar's wife, Felice Ficherelli (1605 - 1669)

Joseph is imprisoned

19 When Potiphar heard his wife's accusation, he threw Joseph into prison. 21 But God was with Joseph, so the prison keeper made Joseph the master of all the prisoners.

The king's butler and baker

40 1 The king's butler and baker were thrown into prison, and Joseph was put in charge of them. 5 They each had a dream on the same night.

6 Joseph asked them, "Why do you look so sad?"

7 They answered, "Because no one can interpret our dreams."

The butler's dream

9-11 The butler told Joseph his dream:

There was a vine with three branches that produced grapes.

I made juice from its grapes and gave a cup to the Pharaoh.

12-13 Joseph interpreted the butler's dream:,

The three branches are days. In three days the Pharaoh will release you from prison.

The baker's dream

16-17 When the baker heard Joseph's interpretation of the butler's dream, he decided to tell Joseph his, too. Saying,

I also had a dream. There were three white baskets on my head.

The top basket had all kinds of meats for the Pharaoh, and birds ate out of it.

18-19 Joseph interpreted the baker's dream, saying,

In three days the king will cut off your head, hang your body on a tree, and the birds will eat your flesh.

Joseph's interpretations come true

20-21 On the third day after Joseph interpreted the butler and baker's dreams, the Pharaoh had a birthday party, where he released the butler from prison and hanged the baker.

Pharaoh's dreams

411 Two years later, the Pharaoh had a dream. Here's how it went:

2-3 The Pharaoh was standing by the river when seven fat, good-looking cows came out of the river, followed by seven skinny, ugly cows. The skinny cows ate the fat ones.

5-7 Pharaoh had another dream.

This time seven skinny heads of grain ate seven fat ones.

Pharaoh's magicians and wise men couldn't interpret his dreams.

9 The butler told the Pharaoh about how Joseph had successfully interpreted his and the baker's dreams. 14 So the Pharaoh called Joseph, and said to him,

15 I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. I've heard that you can interpret dreams.

Joseph interprets the Pharaoh's dreams

25-30 Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's dream, saying,

God will send seven good years followed by seven years of famine.

And the famine will be world-wide and very grievous.

40-41 The Pharaoh said to Joseph, God has shown you how to interpret my dreams. You will rule the land of Egypt. 42-45 The Pharaoh took off his ring and put it on Joseph's hand, gave him some fancy clothes, and put a gold chain around his neck. He gave him a chariot and commanded everyone in Egypt to obey him. He gave Joseph a new name (Zaphnathpaaneah) and a wife (Asenath). Joseph drove his new chariot over all of the land of Egypt.

Joseph's interpretations come true

47 It all happened as Joseph predicted.

48 During the seven good years, Joseph gathered and stored all the food.

50 Meanwhile, Joseph and his Egyptian wife Asenath had two boys: Manasseh and Ephraim.

53-57 As Joseph predicted, the seven good years were followed by seven bad ones. When the famine struck, everyone on earth had to buy their food from Joseph. If they couldn't travel that far or didn't have enough money, they starved. It was a seven-year, earth-wide famine.

A few more words about this episode

Potiphar bought Joseph (39:1)

In chapter 37, Joseph's brothers get rid of Joseph by selling him to the Midanites (or Ishmeelites) who brought him to Egypt, where they sold him to Potiphar. (Or something like that.)

Who brought Joseph into Egypt?

Joseph was good-looking. (39:6)
Potiphar's wife just couldn't control herself around Joseph. He was just so darned good looking.

And she wasn't alone about that. Everyone was impressed by his good looks - including God.

For more on this see There's something about Joseph in Strange Flesh: The Bible and Homosexuality

The Pharaoh had a birthday party (40:20)

The only birthday parties in the Bible were for Pharaoh and KIng Herod (Mt 14:6, Mk 6:21 ), who were both bad guys. So it's wrong to celebrate birthdays - according to the Governing Body of the Jehovah's Witnesses.

(If you do you'll be destroyed at Armageddon.)

Everyone on earth had to buy their food from Joseph (41:57)

The Aztecs, the Chinese, and the Australians all came to Joseph to buy corn.

Drunk With Blood: 8. God's seven-year, world-wide famine