Is the story of Mrs Potiphar and Joseph part of the original account?

by hamsterbait 4 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • hamsterbait

    I ask this because Pharoah at first is not called by this title.

    39:20 - Potiphar " gave [Joseph] over to ... the place where the prisoners of the KING were kept."

    40:1 - " ...the cupbearer of the KING of Egypt and the baker sinned against their lord the KING of Egypt."

    Only at 40:2 does the copyist start using the term Pharoah.

    I also note that Joseph refers to his home as "the land of the Hebrews".I wonder if the original omitted 39:7 - 20 and continues at 39:21, as this portion at v23 chimes with 39:6.

    If Potiphar, the chief officer of the bodyguard was also in charge of the prison, (and 40:3 says so) it may back up my question.

    I also think 40:1 is added from another source. Unfortunately, my commentary does not discuss this use of the word "king" in this passage, and I don't know if it is a later word for ruler, as opposed to the petty tribal chiefs called "kings" that Abraham dealt with.

    I suspect it is another nice moral tale the Jews discovered in Babylon, along with Susannah and the elders.


  • DannyBloem

    was there an original account, or where they many stories which we combined as a whole story?

  • Narkissos

    Apparently "Pharaoh" (pr`3) was not a title for the Egyptian "king" before the 18th dynasty (15th-14th century BC). Prior to that it meant the royal court rather than the individual ruler. In the Hebrew Bible, it is regularly mistaken as the personal name of the king -- it is not "the pharaoh X" (the only exceptions being Nechao/Neko, 2 Kings 23:29ff; Jeremiah 46:2, and Hophrah, Jeremiah 44:30) but "Pharaoh, king of Egypt" (Genesis 41:46 etc.). So "king of Egypt" is a pretty natural Hebrew designation for an unnamed Egyptian ruler.

    There are a number of redactional seams in the Joseph novella, but as a whole it constitutes a fairly united diaspora "court story" which has more in common with the books of Esther and Daniel than with the former Genesis patriarchal stories. As for the episode with Mrs. Potiphar, it seems to derive from a popular Egyptian tale (see my link at

  • jayhawk1

    I can't remember the site, but there is a guy or org. that says Genesis is a compilation of at least 3 different Hebrew traditions. Anything is possible over the last several thousand years.

  • jayhawk1

    Hey, I still have it saved in Favorites!

    I found it to be a good read, some of it seems to be speculation, but a good read all the same.

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