Potiphar was the man who bought Joseph from the Midianites and became his master until his wife framed Joseph. Being an official to the throne of Egypt he sent Joseph to the royal prison.
Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard. GENESIS 37:36
Potiphar was very fortunate to be master of a slave whose every move was blessed by God. Unfortunately, Potiphar’s good fortune was not destined to last.
Potiphar was an important individual, a high-ranking official in Pharaoh’s court. His obvious wealth is confirmed by the fact that he was able to afford a slave in the first place. After a few weeks with Joseph, however, Potiphar must have been thinking that he had gotten quite a bargain.
Potiphar quickly recognized the divine blessing on Joseph, and soon the latter was more than a common slave; he was Potiphar’s personal attendant. Thanks to Joseph, Potiphar did not have a care in the world at least as far as his household was concerned for he had Joseph to look after everything for him. Joseph managed everything at home and in Potiphar’s fields. All Potiphar had left to worry about was what to eat for dinner.
Unfortunately for Potiphar, he should have been a bit more worried about his wife, who eventually became attracted to his talented, young attendant. Joseph, however, clung to his integrity and resisted each of her advances. Frustrated and rejected, Potiphar’s wife sought revenge, falsely accusing Joseph of attempted rape. Potiphar fell for the ruse, believing himself a fool to have trusted Joseph so completely. He had Joseph put into the royal prison; it was the second time Joseph found himself bound against his will.
However, God’s blessing did not end when Joseph was taken from Potiphar’s household. Joseph continued his rise to prominence, while Potiphar and his devious wife faded into obscurity.
Potiphar is part of an interesting pattern in Joseph’s story.
Three times Joseph found favor in the eyes of a superior, first as the favorite of his own father, then with Potiphar, and finally with Pharaoh himself. Each time, Joseph encountered some kind of trial first being sold into slavery, then being imprisoned, and finally coming face-to-face with the brothers who betrayed him only to triumph in the end.