Chapter 39

1Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, Pharaoh's chamberlain, chief of the slaughterers, an Egyptian man, purchased him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there.   אוְיוֹסֵ֖ף הוּרַ֣ד מִצְרָ֑יְמָה וַיִּקְנֵ֡הוּ פּֽוֹטִיפַר֩ סְרִ֨יס פַּרְעֹ֜ה שַׂ֤ר הַטַּבָּחִים֙ אִ֣ישׁ מִצְרִ֔י מִיַּד֙ הַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר הֽוֹרִדֻ֖הוּ שָֽׁמָּה:
Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt: [Scripture] returns to the previous topic, which it had interrupted in order to juxtapose the demotion of Judah with the selling of Joseph, to imply that because of him (Joseph), they (his brothers) demoted him (Judah) from his high position; and also to juxtapose the incident of Potiphar’s wife with the incident of Tamar, to tell you that just as that one [the incident of Tamar] was meant for the sake of heaven, so too this one [the incident of Potiphar’s wife] was meant for the sake of heaven. For she saw through her astrology that she was destined to raise children from him (Joseph), but she did not know whether [they would be] from her or from her daughter. [From Gen. Rabbah 85:2]   ויוסף הורד: חוזר לענין ראשון, אלא שהפסיק בו כדי לסמוך ירידתו של יהודה למכירתו של יוסף לומר לך שבשבילו הורידוהו מגדולתו. ועוד, כדי לסמוך מעשה אשתו של פוטיפר למעשה תמר, לומר לך מה זו לשם שמים אף זו לשם שמים, שראתה באצטרולוגין שלה שעתידה להעמיד בנים ממנו ואינה יודעת אם ממנה אם מבתה:
2The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master.   בוַיְהִ֤י יְהֹוָה֙ אֶת־יוֹסֵ֔ף וַיְהִ֖י אִ֣ישׁ מַצְלִ֑יחַ וַיְהִ֕י בְּבֵ֖ית אֲדֹנָ֥יו הַמִּצְרִֽי:
3And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and whatever he (Joseph) did the Lord made prosper in his hand.   גוַיַּ֣רְא אֲדֹנָ֔יו כִּ֥י יְהֹוָ֖ה אִתּ֑וֹ וְכֹל֙ אֲשֶׁר־ה֣וּא עֹשֶׂ֔ה יְהֹוָ֖ה מַצְלִ֥יחַ בְּיָדֽוֹ:
that the Lord was with him: The name of Heaven was frequently in his mouth. [From Tanchuma Vayeshev 8]   כי ה' אתו: שם שמים שגור בפיו:
4And Joseph found favor in his eyes, and he (Joseph) served him, and he (Potiphar) appointed him over his house, and all he had he gave into his hand.   דוַיִּמְצָ֨א יוֹסֵ֥ף חֵ֛ן בְּעֵינָ֖יו וַיְשָׁ֣רֶת אֹת֑וֹ וַיַּפְקִדֵ֨הוּ֙ עַל־בֵּית֔וֹ וְכָל־יֶשׁ־ל֖וֹ נָתַ֥ן בְּיָדֽוֹ:
and all he had: Heb. וְכָל-יֶשׁ-לוֹ. This is elliptical. The word אִשֶׁר is missing. [It should read: וְכָל-אִשֶׁר יֶשׁ-לוֹ.] [from targumim]   וכל יש לו: הרי לשון קצר, חסר אשר:
5Now it came to pass that since he had appointed him over his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed the house of the Egyptian for Joseph's sake, and the blessing of the Lord was in all that he had, in the house and in the field.   הוַיְהִ֡י מֵאָז֩ הִפְקִ֨יד אֹת֜וֹ בְּבֵית֗וֹ וְעַל֙ כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר יֶשׁ־ל֔וֹ וַיְבָ֧רֶךְ יְהֹוָ֛ה אֶת־בֵּ֥ית הַמִּצְרִ֖י בִּגְלַ֣ל יוֹסֵ֑ף וַיְהִ֞י בִּרְכַּ֤ת יְהֹוָה֙ בְּכָל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר יֶשׁ־ל֔וֹ בַּבַּ֖יִת וּבַשָּׂדֶֽה:
6So he left all that he had in Joseph's hand, and he knew nothing about what was with him except the bread that he ate; and Joseph had handsome features and a beautiful complexion.   ווַיַּֽעֲזֹ֣ב כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ֘ בְּיַד־יוֹסֵף֒ וְלֹֽא־יָדַ֤ע אִתּוֹ֙ מְא֔וּמָה כִּ֥י אִם־הַלֶּ֖חֶם אֲשֶׁר־ה֣וּא אוֹכֵ֑ל וַיְהִ֣י יוֹסֵ֔ף יְפֵה־תֹ֖אַר וִיפֵ֥ה מַרְאֶֽה:
and he knew nothing about what was with him: He did not pay attention to anything.   ולא ידע אתו מאומה: לא היה נותן לבו לכלום:
except the bread: That is his wife, but [Scripture] speaks euphemistically. [From Gen. Rabbah 86:6]   כי אם הלחם: היא אשתו, אלא שדבר בלשון נקיה:
and Joseph had handsome features: As soon as Joseph found himself [in the position of] ruler, he began eating and drinking and curling his hair. Said the Holy One, blessed be He: “Your father is mourning and you curl your hair! I will incite the bear against you.” Immediately afterwards“his master’s wife lifted up her eyes.” [from Tanchuma Vayeshev 8]   ויהי יוסף יפה תואר: כיון שראה עצמו מושל, התחיל אוכל ושותה ומסלסל בשערו, אמר הקב"ה אביך מתאבל ואתה מסלסל בשערך, אני מגרה בך את הדוב מיד:
7Now it came to pass after these events that his master's wife lifted up her eyes to Joseph, and she said, "Lie with me."   זוַיְהִ֗י אַחַר֙ הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֔לֶּה וַתִּשָּׂ֧א אֵֽשֶׁת־אֲדֹנָ֛יו אֶת־עֵינֶ֖יהָ אֶל־יוֹסֵ֑ף וַתֹּ֖אמֶר שִׁכְבָ֥ה עִמִּֽי:
his master’s wife lifted up her eyes, etc: Wherever it says אַחַר, it means immediately following. [From Gen. Rabbah 44:5]   ותשא אשת אדוניו וגו': כל מקום שנאמר אחר סמוך:
8But he refused, and he said to his master's wife, "Behold, with me my master knows nothing about anything in the house, and all he has he has given into my hand.   חוַיְמָאֵ֓ן | וַיֹּ֨אמֶר֙ אֶל־אֵ֣שֶׁת אֲדֹנָ֔יו הֵ֣ן אֲדֹנִ֔י לֹֽא־יָדַ֥ע אִתִּ֖י מַה־בַּבָּ֑יִת וְכֹ֥ל אֲשֶׁר־יֶשׁ־ל֖וֹ נָתַ֥ן בְּיָדִֽי:
9In this house, there is no one greater than I, and he has not withheld anything from me except you, insofar as you are his wife. Now how can I commit this great evil, and sin against God?"   טאֵינֶ֨נּוּ גָד֜וֹל בַּבַּ֣יִת הַזֶּה֘ מִמֶּ֒נִּי֒ וְלֹֽא־חָשַׂ֤ךְ מִמֶּ֨נִּי֙ מְא֔וּמָה כִּ֥י אִם־אוֹתָ֖ךְ בַּֽאֲשֶׁ֣ר אַתְּ־אִשְׁתּ֑וֹ וְאֵ֨יךְ אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֜ה הָֽרָעָ֤ה הַגְּדֹלָה֙ הַזֹּ֔את וְחָטָ֖אתִי לֵֽאלֹהִֽים:
and sin against God: The sons of Noah were commanded against immorality. [From Sanh. 56a]   וחטאתי לא-להים: בני נח נצטוו על העריות:
10Now it came about when she spoke to Joseph day in and day out, that he did not obey her, to lie beside her [and] to be with her.   יוַיְהִ֕י כְּדַבְּרָ֥הּ אֶל־יוֹסֵ֖ף י֣וֹם | י֑וֹם וְלֹֽא־שָׁמַ֥ע אֵלֶ֛יהָ לִשְׁכַּ֥ב אֶצְלָ֖הּ לִֽהְי֥וֹת עִמָּֽהּ:
to lie beside her: even without intercourse. [From Gen. Rabbah 87:6]   לשכב אצלה: אפילו בלא תשמיש:
to be with her: in the World to Come. [From Gen. Rabbah 87:6]   להיות עמה: לעולם הבא:
11And it came about on a certain day, that he came to the house to do his work, and none of the people of the house were there in the house.   יאוַֽיְהִי֙ כְּהַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה וַיָּבֹ֥א הַבַּ֖יְתָה לַֽעֲשׂ֣וֹת מְלַאכְתּ֑וֹ וְאֵ֨ין אִ֜ישׁ מֵֽאַנְשֵׁ֥י הַבַּ֛יִת שָׁ֖ם בַּבָּֽיִת:
And it came about on a certain day: That is to say that a special day arrived, a day of rejoicing, a religious festival when they (the household) all went to the temple of their idols. She said, “I have no more fitting day to consort with Joseph than today.” So she said to them,“I am ill, and I cannot go.” [from Sotah 36b]   ויהי כהיום הזה: כלומר ויהי כאשר הגיע יום מיוחד, יום צחוק, יום איד שלהם שהלכו כולם לבית עבודה זרה, אמרה אין לי יום הגון להזקק ליוסף כהיום הזה. אמרה להם חולה אני ואיני יכולה לילך:
to do his work: [There is a controversy between] Rav and Shmuel. One said: his actual work, and the other said: to perform his needs with her, but his father’s image appeared, etc., as is stated in Sotah (36b).   לעשות מלאכתו: רב ושמואל, חד אמר מלאכתו ממש, וחד אמר לעשות צרכיו עמה, אלא שנראית לו דמות דיוקנו של אביו וכו', כדאיתא במסכת סוטה (דף לו ב):  
12So she grabbed him by his garment, saying, "Lie with me!" But he left his garment in her hand and fled and went outside.   יבוַתִּתְפְּשֵׂ֧הוּ בְּבִגְד֛וֹ לֵאמֹ֖ר שִׁכְבָ֣ה עִמִּ֑י וַיַּֽעֲזֹ֤ב בִּגְדוֹ֙ בְּיָדָ֔הּ וַיָּ֖נָס וַיֵּצֵ֥א הַחֽוּצָה:
13Now it happened, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled outside,   יגוַֽיְהִי֙ כִּרְאוֹתָ֔הּ כִּֽי־עָזַ֥ב בִּגְד֖וֹ בְּיָדָ֑הּ וַיָּ֖נָס הַחֽוּצָה:
14that she called to the people of her house, and she spoke to them, saying, "Look! He brought us a Hebrew man to mock us. He came to me to lie with me, but I called loudly.   ידוַתִּקְרָ֞א לְאַנְשֵׁ֣י בֵיתָ֗הּ וַתֹּ֤אמֶר לָהֶם֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר רְא֗וּ הֵ֥בִיא לָ֛נוּ אִ֥ישׁ עִבְרִ֖י לְצַ֣חֶק בָּ֑נוּ בָּ֤א אֵלַי֙ לִשְׁכַּ֣ב עִמִּ֔י וָֽאֶקְרָ֖א בְּק֥וֹל גָּדֽוֹל:
“Look! He brought us…”: Heb. הֵבִיא [without a noun or pronoun. Although the pronoun is sometimes absent, the antecedent is usually clear, whereas here there is no antecedent.] This is an elliptical expression:“He brought us,” but [Scripture] does not specify who brought him; she was referring to her husband.   ראו הביא לנו: הרי זה לשון קצרה, הביא לנו ולא פירש מי הביאו, ועל בעלה אומרת כן:
Hebrew: Heb. עִבְרִי, from the other side of the river (עֵבֶר הַנָהָר) from the sons of Eber (Gen. Rabbah 42:8). (Other editions: from the other side of the river.)   עברי: מעבר הנהר, מבני עבר:
15And it happened that when he heard that I raised my voice and called out, he left his garment beside me, and he fled and went outside."   טווַיְהִ֣י כְשָׁמְע֔וֹ כִּֽי־הֲרִימֹ֥תִי קוֹלִ֖י וָֽאֶקְרָ֑א וַיַּֽעֲזֹ֤ב בִּגְדוֹ֙ אֶצְלִ֔י וַיָּ֖נָס וַיֵּצֵ֥א הַחֽוּצָה:
16So she left his garment beside her, until his master came home.   טזוַתַּנַּ֥ח בִּגְד֖וֹ אֶצְלָ֑הּ עַד־בּ֥וֹא אֲדֹנָ֖יו אֶל־בֵּיתֽוֹ:
his master: [The master] of Joseph.   אדוניו: של יוסף:
17And she told him the same thing, saying, "The Hebrew slave that you brought to us came to me to mock me.   יזוַתְּדַבֵּ֣ר אֵלָ֔יו כַּדְּבָרִ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה לֵאמֹ֑ר בָּ֣א אֵלַ֞י הָעֶ֧בֶד הָֽעִבְרִ֛י אֲשֶׁר־הֵבֵ֥אתָ לָּ֖נוּ לְצַ֥חֶק בִּֽי:
came to me: to mock me; the Hebrew slave that you brought to us.   בא אלי: לצחק בי העבד העברי אשר הבאת לנו:
18And it happened when I raised my voice and called out, that he left his garment beside me and fled outside."   יחוַיְהִ֕י כַּֽהֲרִימִ֥י קוֹלִ֖י וָֽאֶקְרָ֑א וַיַּֽעֲזֹ֥ב בִּגְד֛וֹ אֶצְלִ֖י וַיָּ֥נָס הַחֽוּצָה:
19Now it came about when his master heard his wife's report that she spoke to him, saying, "Your slave did such things to me," that his wrath burned.   יטוַיְהִי֩ כִשְׁמֹ֨עַ אֲדֹנָ֜יו אֶת־דִּבְרֵ֣י אִשְׁתּ֗וֹ אֲשֶׁ֨ר דִּבְּרָ֤ה אֵלָיו֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר כַּדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֔לֶּה עָ֥שָׂה לִ֖י עַבְדֶּ֑ךָ וַיִּ֖חַר אַפּֽוֹ:
Now it came about when his master heard, etc.: During intercourse she told him this, and that is the meaning of“Your slave did such things to me,” [meaning] such acts of intimacy. [From Gen. Rabbah 87:9]   ויהי כשמוע אדוניו וגו': בשעת תשמיש אמרה לו כן, וזהו שאמרה כדברים האלה עשה לי עבדך, עניני תשמיש כאלה:
20So Joseph's master took him and put him into prison, the place where the king's prisoners were imprisoned, and he was there in the prison.   כוַיִּקַּח֩ אֲדֹנֵ֨י יוֹסֵ֜ף אֹת֗וֹ וַיִּתְּנֵ֨הוּ֙ אֶל־בֵּ֣ית הַסֹּ֔הַר מְק֕וֹם אֲשֶׁר־אֲסִירֵ֥י כתיב אסורי הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ אֲסוּרִ֑ים וַֽיְהִי־שָׁ֖ם בְּבֵ֥ית הַסֹּֽהַר:
21The Lord was with Joseph, and He extended charisma to him, and He gave him favor in the eyes of the warden of the prison.   כאוַיְהִ֤י יְהֹוָה֙ אֶת־יוֹסֵ֔ף וַיֵּ֥ט אֵלָ֖יו חָ֑סֶד וַיִּתֵּ֣ן חִנּ֔וֹ בְּעֵינֵ֖י שַׂ֥ר בֵּֽית־הַסֹּֽהַר:
and he extended charisma to him: Heb. חָסֶד. [It means] that he was well-liked by all who saw him, an expression of“a beautiful and charismatic (וַחִסוּדָה) bride” in the Mishnah (Derech Eretz Rabbah , ch. 6) [from a midrash quoted by Yalkut Shimoni, vol. 2, 1053.]   ויט אליו חסד: שיהא מקובל לכל רואיו, לשון כלה נאה וחסודה שבמשנה (כתובות יז א):
22So the warden of the prison delivered all the prisoners who were in the prison into Joseph's hand, and whatever they did there, he [was the one who] did it.   כבוַיִּתֵּ֞ן שַׂ֤ר בֵּֽית־הַסֹּ֨הַר֙ בְּיַד־יוֹסֵ֔ף אֵ֚ת כָּל־הָ֣אֲסִירִ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֖ר בְּבֵ֣ית הַסֹּ֑הַר וְאֵ֨ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֤ר עֹשִׂים֙ שָׁ֔ם ה֖וּא הָיָ֥ה עֹשֶֽׂה:
he [was the one who] did it: As the Gen. Targum renders: by his command it was done.   הוא היה עושה: כתרגומו במימריה הוה מתעביד:
23The warden of the prison did not inspect anything [that was] in his (Joseph's) hand, for the Lord was with him, and whatever he did the Lord made prosper.   כגאֵ֣ין | שַׂ֣ר בֵּֽית־הַסֹּ֗הַר רֹאֶ֤ה אֶת־כָּל־מְא֨וּמָה֙ בְּיָד֔וֹ בַּֽאֲשֶׁ֥ר יְהֹוָ֖ה אִתּ֑וֹ וַֽאֲשֶׁר־ה֥וּא עֹשֶׂ֖ה יְהֹוָ֥ה מַצְלִֽיחַ:
since the Lord was with him: Heb. בַּאִשֶׁר. Because the Lord was with him.   באשר ה' אתו: בשביל שה' אתו: