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Genesis 39:7-12

Context
39:7 Soon after these things, his master’s wife took notice of 1  Joseph and said, “Have sex with me.” 2  39:8 But he refused, saying 3  to his master’s wife, “Look, my master does not give any thought 4  to his household with me here, 5  and everything that he owns he has put into my care. 6  39:9 There is no one greater in this household than I am. He has withheld nothing from me except you because you are his wife. So how could I do 7  such a great evil and sin against God?” 39:10 Even though she continued to speak 8  to Joseph day after day, he did not respond 9  to her invitation to have sex with her. 10 

39:11 One day 11  he went into the house to do his work when none of the household servants 12  were there in the house. 39:12 She grabbed him by his outer garment, saying, “Have sex with me!” But he left his outer garment in her hand and ran 13  outside. 14 

1 tn Heb “she lifted up her eyes toward,” an expression that emphasizes her deliberate and careful scrutiny of him.

2 tn Heb “lie with me.” Here the expression “lie with” is a euphemism for sexual intercourse.

sn The story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife has long been connected with the wisdom warnings about the strange woman who tries to seduce the young man with her boldness and directness (see Prov 5-7, especially 7:6-27). This is part of the literary background of the story of Joseph that gives it a wisdom flavor. See G. von Rad, God at Work in Israel, 19-35; and G. W. Coats, “The Joseph Story and Ancient Wisdom: A Reappraisal,” CBQ 35 (1973): 285-97.

3 tn Heb “and he said.”

4 tn Heb “know.”

5 tn The word “here” has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

6 tn Heb “hand.” This is a metonymy for being under the control or care of Joseph.

7 tn The nuance of potential imperfect fits this context.

8 tn The verse begins with the temporal indicator, followed by the infinitive construct with the preposition כְּ (kÿ). This clause could therefore be taken as temporal.

9 tn Heb “listen to.”

10 tn Heb “to lie beside her to be with her.” Here the expression “to lie beside” is a euphemism for sexual intercourse.

11 tn Heb “and it was about this day.”

12 tn Heb “the men of the house.”

13 tn Heb “he fled and he went out.” The construction emphasizes the point that Joseph got out of there quickly.

14 sn For discussion of this episode, see A. M. Honeyman, “The Occasion of Joseph’s Temptation,” VT 2 (1952): 85-87.



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