Today we begin Genesis Chapter 39.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James Version, click here.
“Joseph was brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s and captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him there.”-Genesis 39:1
So Joseph was sold to Potiphar and is now in Egypt.
Now I want to share something that initially flew over my head until somebody pointed it out me.
Don’t you think it’s kind of odd that Scripture goes out of its way to point out that Potiphar is an Egyptian?
I mean wouldn’t that be obvious?
What else would we expect about the identity of somebody who was an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard?
Well, the truth is a couple of decades before Joseph arrived, Egypt was attacked by Semitic warriors originating from the area of Arabia and Syria.
The Egyptians called these foreign invaders the HYKSOS.
This would be translated as the “Shepherd Kings” as “HYK” means “king” and “SOS” means shepherd.
These Semite rulers ended up controlling Egypt for about two centuries.
So believe it or not, by the time Joseph arrived a Semitic cousin of Israel sat on the throne of Egypt as Pharaoh.
This explains why Moses when compiling this part of the Scripture went out of his way to inform us that Potiphar was an Egyptian.
It also explains the animosity that will build up amongst the local Egyptian population and break out into full blown hostility towards the Israelites once we get into the Book of Exodus.
Finally, we can now see why the Pharaoh at the time didn’t have any qualms about giving Joseph so much power over the local Egyptians.
They were both ethnic cousins and this would turn out to be divine providence for Joseph.