1 ¶ And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither. 2 And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3 And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. 4 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. 5 And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. 6 And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.
Joseph was bought as a slave. This is a very unhappy circumstance for Joseph but God can make any difficult circumstance be positive.
Proverbs 16:7 When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
God is going to use Joseph to save his people and Egypt to provide the conditions for their propagation and increase in preparation for them to return to the land He has promised them in force.
Potiphar, Joseph’s human master, realized the administrative smarts and honesty of Joseph and placed him over the running of his house. Because of his association with Joseph he, too, prospered. This is a positive lesson for us. If you want good things to happen to you associate with good people. Young people can often make friends with the bad because they find them interesting or exciting while older people often make friends with the bad because they see some financial or social gain from it.
Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
2Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
Most of the time it is likely that you will be better off if you associate with a good, strong, and moral person as an employee or an employer, someone humbly devoted to God.
It is important to note here that Potiphar trusted Joseph completely to the point where Potiphar himself didn’t know what he had. It was all in Joseph’s hands. Joseph was, in essence, what we would call today a butler, although the term has changed meaning somewhat over time as we will see shortly. A butler in ancient and medieval times oversaw the valuable wine possessions of the rich household, from the Old French word for bottle-bearer. The steward in the Bible of the New Testament was more like the butler we know today or a combination of a great household’s butler and land agent.
Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured. Goodly is built strong and tall and well favoured is filled out well and handsome as it meant beautiful in other contexts. You can cross-reference both in the Bible to see that it is applied that way.
Genesis 29:17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured. (Don’t forget and as a joiner of synonyms as we’ve studied before.)
Genesis 41:2 And, behold, there came up out of the river seven well favoured kine and fatfleshed; and they fed in a meadow…4 And the ill favoured and leanfleshed kine did eat up the seven well favoured and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke.
Leviticus 23:40a And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees…
1Samuel 9:2 And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.
Joseph was quite a looker and very attractive, most likely preoccupied with his work, too preoccupied to pay attention to looks and stares.