Click here to read Genesis 39:1-41:57

The main focus of today’s story is to show how God brings Joseph from the position of slave to a position of power in Egypt.  God is with Joseph every step of the way—which is emphasized by the repetition of the phrase “the LORD was with him” and “the LORD gave him success.”  But this statement (and the recognition of this by Potiphar and Pharaoh) shows that God is keeping His covenant as well.  Previously God was described as the God who was with Isaac and Jacob no matter where they went and this proved that God would be faithful and present no matter what.  Through out this passage we see that God did not forget Joseph when he came to Egypt and did not forget him when he was thrown into prison for being falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife.  Though things seemed very bad God was still there with Joseph and even raised him to the point that he was a very important man in Egypt.

This passage also shows that Joseph is a man of character.  Joseph avoids the temptation of Potiphar’s wife, manages responsibly, is patient, and always gives God the credit.  Joseph gave credit to God for protecting him, giving him the ability to interpret dreams, and to have children and forget about his father’s household.  These last two are illustrated by the names that Joseph gave his sons:  Manasseh, which sounds like the Hebrew “to forget” and Ephraim, which sounds like the Hebrew “twice fruitful.”

This passage shows Joseph to be a man of strong character who serves the God who is faithfully with him always.  And God will continue to not only bless those around Joseph and the whole country of Egypt because of him, but God also has a plan to bless Joseph’s brothers and parents through him as well.

Names Places

God – God

Joseph – favorite son of Jacob

Potiphar – captain of the guard and one of Pharaoh’s officials

Potiphar’s wife – wife of Potiphar, tries to seduce Joseph

Pharaoh – ruler of Egypt

chief cupbearer – was restored to his position like his dream predicted

chief baker – was killed like his dream predicted


Egypt – where Joseph finally ended up


Midianites/Ishmaelites – to whom Joseph was sold

wisemen – advisers to Pharaoh

magicians – advisers to Pharaoh

Asenath – Joseph’s wife, daughter of Potiphera

Potiphera – priest (not of God) in On

Manasseh – Joseph’s firstborn son

Ephraim – Joseph’s second son


Nile – the Nile river running through Egypt

On – city in Egypt, also known as Heliopolis

Interesting fact:

Pharaoh accepting Joseph’s interpretation was a big deal, even though it might not seem like it.  The Egyptians regarded the Pharaoh as being a manifestation of the divine—basically, that he was a god himself.  However, Pharaoh accepted Joseph’s interpretation and in doing so placed himself in a position of submission to the God of Joseph.