Ah, more frolicking and sex! Just what you expect from a holy book. Actually the sex could have happened, but didn’t. The next several chapters tell the story of Joseph, Jacob’s youngest son. The second verse of chapter 39 tells us the real meaning of the story: “The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered.” Some people get this backward. Joseph is a good person, rejects Potipher’s wife’s entreaties to have sex with him, so God blessed him.
Joseph is obviously a God-fearing man, taught well by his father when he was with him, but Joseph is a significant pawn in God’s plan of redemption. The Egyptian bondage of God’s people is a crucial piece of redemptive history, and God uses the evil intent, jealousy and envy of his brothers, and now the wicked desires of his bosses wife to put Joseph just where he wants him: In prison! Isn’t it just like God to use something a human being would consider absurd to accomplish his plans.
This goes back to the number one lesson in all of human history, either we trust God or we don’t, either God is faithful to his promises and his covenant (a covenant first and foremost within the Trinity, then with man), or he is not, either God is who he declares himself to be in his perfect character, or he is not. We more often than not define God by our circumstances; our interpretive lens is our own sense of what is right or wrong, good or bad, and it all revolves around us, of course.
Although Joseph played what appears a more significant part than any of us, we are all, those chosen by him, part of God’s plan of redemption. And as we learn throughout Genesis, and the rest of the Bible, God redeems and works with very imperfect people. Our part in this plan on this earth is very, very brief compared to forever, yet we live as if this life is the forever part. If we really saw the significance of forever compared to this mist, would we really obsess about our minor problems? I think a lot less so.
So Joseph is faithful, yet is unjustly condemned to prison. Is faithful there, and again is given a lot of responsibility. He interprets dreams of a couple of Pharaoh’s servants in jail with him, and the one who gets back in Pharaoh’s graces forgets Joseph. Still part of God’s plan.