Potiphar’s wife said of Joseph to her husband “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house”.
We are told that when Potiphar heard the story his wife told him, he burned with anger saying, “This is how your slave treated me,”
Why did Potiphar’s wife tell this story? Can I suggest it was to cover her shame. She had tried to seduce Joseph, who chose to honour God and respect his master. He rejected her advance and ran from Potiphar’s house without his cloak.
Seizing on this, Potiphar’s wife chose a course of action. She knew something about human nature. She knew we tend to have a bias toward the first version of a story we are told. So before Joseph could say anything to his master, Potiphar’s wife reframed events. Joseph’s fate was sealed! The story had been told, and a picture of Joseph had been painted that was anything but the truth.
Superficially, how could it be anything other than the way Potiphar’s wife told the story? After all, Potiphar should trust the account of his wife. She was holding the cloak of Joseph. It seemed, on the face of it, that her story was the logical explanation of events.
Yet, we know something different.
And, so did God.
So of course Joseph was vindicated immediately? No. If you know the story, Joseph would spend many years in prison as a result of this accusation before finally being released. But he was released, and ended up rising to prominence in Egypt, becoming second only to Pharaoh.
It was only toward the end of his life that the journey Joseph had been on made sense. Only at the end did he understand that God was with him in the valleys and the mountains of his journey. Only at the end did he realise that sometimes God will allow someone’s evil to impact you, so that you will be in a position in the future to do His good.
If you find yourself in a moment like Joseph, where you have done nothing wrong but are feeling the effects of another’s evil, remember the story of Joseph. Remember that God is aware of what you are going through and the current chapter of your life might not be the final chapter of your life..