Chapter 39

1When Yosef was taken down to Egypt, a certain Egyptian, Potiphar, a courtier of Pharaoh and his chief steward, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him there.

v'-yo-SAYF hu-RAD mitz-RA-y'-mah va-yik-NAY-hu po-tee-FAR s'-REES par-OH SAR ha-ta-ba-KHEEM EESH mitz-REE mi-YAD ha-yish-m'-ay-LEEM a-SHER ho-ri-DU-hu SHA-mah

אוְיוֹסֵף הוּרַד מִצְרָיְמָה וַיִּקְנֵהוּ פּוֹטִיפַר סְרִיס פַּרְעֹה שַׂר הַטַּבָּחִים אִישׁ מִצְרִי מִיַּד הַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִים אֲשֶׁר הוֹרִדֻהוּ שָׁמָּה׃

 39:1   A certain Egyptian

The verse here labels Potiphar ish mitzree (איש מצרי), ‘an Egyptian,’ in contrast to Yosef, who is called Ha’Ivri (העברי), ‘the Hebrew’ (verse 14). Since we already know the nationalities of these individuals, why are the labels necessary? The Egyptians were known for their arrogance and condescension towards the nomadic tribes. Despite their prejudice, Yosef will rise in rank among them. He will succeed at every task presented to him, and subsequently find favor in the eyes of Potiphar, the Egyptian royal official. Only Divine Providence could bring about the success of a mere “Hebrew,” as the next verse says “Hashem was with Yosef, and he was a successful man.” Yosef demonstrates that when a person puts himself in the hands of God, he can succeed beyond expectation.

2Hashem was with Yosef, and he was a successful man; and he stayed in the house of his Egyptian master.

בוַיְהִי יְהֹוָה אֶת־יוֹסֵף וַיְהִי אִישׁ מַצְלִיחַ וַיְהִי בְּבֵית אֲדֹנָיו הַמִּצְרִי׃

3And when his master saw that Hashem was with him and that Hashem lent success to everything he undertook,

גוַיַּרְא אֲדֹנָיו כִּי יְהֹוָה אִתּוֹ וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר־הוּא עֹשֶׂה יְהֹוָה מַצְלִיחַ בְּיָדוֹ׃

4he took a liking to Yosef. He made him his personal attendant and put him in charge of his household, placing in his hands all that he owned.

דוַיִּמְצָא יוֹסֵף חֵן בְּעֵינָיו וַיְשָׁרֶת אֹתוֹ וַיַּפְקִדֵהוּ עַל־בֵּיתוֹ וְכָל־יֶשׁ־לוֹ נָתַן בְּיָדוֹ׃

5And from the time that the Egyptian put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, Hashem blessed his house for Yosef's sake, so that the blessing of Hashem was upon everything that he owned, in the house and outside.

הוַיְהִי מֵאָז הִפְקִיד אֹתוֹ בְּבֵיתוֹ וְעַל כָּל־אֲשֶׁר יֶשׁ־לוֹ וַיְבָרֶךְ יְהֹוָה אֶת־בֵּית הַמִּצְרִי בִּגְלַל יוֹסֵף וַיְהִי בִּרְכַּת יְהֹוָה בְּכָל־אֲשֶׁר יֶשׁ־לוֹ בַּבַּיִת וּבַשָּׂדֶה׃

6He left all that he had in Yosef's hands and, with him there, he paid attention to nothing save the food that he ate. Now Yosef was well built and handsome.

ווַיַּעֲזֹב כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ בְּיַד־יוֹסֵף וְלֹא־יָדַע אִתּוֹ מְאוּמָה כִּי אִם־הַלֶּחֶם אֲשֶׁר־הוּא אוֹכֵל וַיְהִי יוֹסֵף יְפֵה־תֹאַר וִיפֵה מַרְאֶה׃

7After a time, his master's wife cast her eyes upon Yosef and said, “Lie with me.”

זוַיְהִי אַחַר הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וַתִּשָּׂא אֵשֶׁת־אֲדֹנָיו אֶת־עֵינֶיהָ אֶל־יוֹסֵף וַתֹּאמֶר שִׁכְבָה עִמִּי׃

8But he refused. He said to his master's wife, “Look, with me here, my master gives no thought to anything in this house, and all that he owns he has placed in my hands.

חוַיְמָאֵן וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל־אֵשֶׁת אֲדֹנָיו הֵן אֲדֹנִי לֹא־יָדַע אִתִּי מַה־בַּבָּיִת וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר־יֶשׁ־לוֹ נָתַן בְּיָדִי׃

9He wields no more authority in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except yourself, since you are his wife. How then could I do this most wicked thing, and sin before Hashem?”

טאֵינֶנּוּ גָדוֹל בַּבַּיִת הַזֶּה מִמֶּנִּי וְלֹא־חָשַׂךְ מִמֶּנִּי מְאוּמָה כִּי אִם־אוֹתָךְ בַּאֲשֶׁר אַתְּ־אִשְׁתּוֹ וְאֵיךְ אֶעֱשֶׂה הָרָעָה הַגְּדֹלָה הַזֹּאת וְחָטָאתִי לֵאלֹהִים׃

10And much as she coaxed Yosef day after day, he did not yield to her request to lie beside her, to be with her.

יוַיְהִי כְּדַבְּרָהּ אֶל־יוֹסֵף יוֹם יוֹם וְלֹא־שָׁמַע אֵלֶיהָ לִשְׁכַּב אֶצְלָהּ לִהְיוֹת עִמָּהּ׃

11One such day, he came into the house to do his work. None of the household being there inside,

יאוַיְהִי כְּהַיּוֹם הַזֶּה וַיָּבֹא הַבַּיְתָה לַעֲשׂוֹת מְלַאכְתּוֹ וְאֵין אִישׁ מֵאַנְשֵׁי הַבַּיִת שָׁם בַּבָּיִת׃

12she caught hold of him by his garment and said, “Lie with me!” But he left his garment in her hand and got away and fled outside.

יבוַתִּתְפְּשֵׂהוּ בְּבִגְדוֹ לֵאמֹר שִׁכְבָה עִמִּי וַיַּעֲזֹב בִּגְדוֹ בְּיָדָהּ וַיָּנָס וַיֵּצֵא הַחוּצָה׃

13When she saw that he had left it in her hand and had fled outside,

יגוַיְהִי כִּרְאוֹתָהּ כִּי־עָזַב בִּגְדוֹ בְּיָדָהּ וַיָּנָס הַחוּצָה׃

14she called out to her servants and said to them, “Look, he had to bring us a Hebrew to dally with us! This one came to lie with me; but I screamed loud.

ידוַתִּקְרָא לְאַנְשֵׁי בֵיתָהּ וַתֹּאמֶר לָהֶם לֵאמֹר רְאוּ הֵבִיא לָנוּ אִישׁ עִבְרִי לְצַחֶק בָּנוּ בָּא אֵלַי לִשְׁכַּב עִמִּי וָאֶקְרָא בְּקוֹל גָּדוֹל׃

15And when he heard me screaming at the top of my voice, he left his garment with me and got away and fled outside.”

טווַיְהִי כְשָׁמְעוֹ כִּי־הֲרִימֹתִי קוֹלִי וָאֶקְרָא וַיַּעֲזֹב בִּגְדוֹ אֶצְלִי וַיָּנָס וַיֵּצֵא הַחוּצָה׃

16She kept his garment beside her, until his master came home.

טזוַתַּנַּח בִּגְדוֹ אֶצְלָהּ עַד־בּוֹא אֲדֹנָיו אֶל־בֵּיתוֹ׃

17Then she told him the same story, saying, “The Hebrew slave whom you brought into our house came to me to dally with me;

יזוַתְּדַבֵּר אֵלָיו כַּדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה לֵאמֹר בָּא־אֵלַי הָעֶבֶד הָעִבְרִי אֲשֶׁר־הֵבֵאתָ לָּנוּ לְצַחֶק בִּי׃

18but when I screamed at the top of my voice, he left his garment with me and fled outside.”

יחוַיְהִי כַּהֲרִימִי קוֹלִי וָאֶקְרָא וַיַּעֲזֹב בִּגְדוֹ אֶצְלִי וַיָּנָס הַחוּצָה׃

19When his master heard the story that his wife told him, namely, “Thus and so your slave did to me,” he was furious.

יטוַיְהִי כִשְׁמֹעַ אֲדֹנָיו אֶת־דִּבְרֵי אִשְׁתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר דִּבְּרָה אֵלָיו לֵאמֹר כַּדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה עָשָׂהּ לִי עַבְדֶּךָ וַיִּחַר אַפּוֹ׃

20So Yosef's master had him put in prison, where the king's prisoners were confined. But even while he was there in prison,

כוַיִּקַּח אֲדֹנֵי יוֹסֵף אֹתוֹ וַיִּתְּנֵהוּ אֶל־בֵּית הַסֹּהַר מְקוֹם אֲשֶׁר־אסורי [אֲסִירֵי] הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲסוּרִים וַיְהִי־שָׁם בְּבֵית הַסֹּהַר׃

21Hashem was with Yosef: He extended kindness to him and disposed the chief jailer favorably toward him.

כאוַיְהִי יְהֹוָה אֶת־יוֹסֵף וַיֵּט אֵלָיו חָסֶד וַיִּתֵּן חִנּוֹ בְּעֵינֵי שַׂר בֵּית־הַסֹּהַר׃

22The chief jailer put in Yosef's charge all the prisoners who were in that prison, and he was the one to carry out everything that was done there.

כבוַיִּתֵּן שַׂר בֵּית־הַסֹּהַר בְּיַד־יוֹסֵף אֵת כָּל־הָאֲסִירִם אֲשֶׁר בְּבֵית הַסֹּהַר וְאֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר עֹשִׂים שָׁם הוּא הָיָה עֹשֶׂה׃

23The chief jailer did not supervise anything that was in Yosef's charge, because Hashem was with him, and whatever he did Hashem made successful.

כגאֵין שַׂר בֵּית־הַסֹּהַר רֹאֶה אֶת־כָּל־מְאוּמָה בְּיָדוֹ בַּאֲשֶׁר יְהֹוָה אִתּוֹ וַאֲשֶׁר־הוּא עֹשֶׂה יְהֹוָה מַצְלִיחַ׃