Being a favorite son who was destined to be promoted at any time to receive the rights of the Firstborn under the laws of primogeniture, Joseph was not very popular with his lazy, crude brothers, who were cruel to animals as well as people. Under the law of primogeniture, the firstborn inherits the family estate; and the others get nothing. When the head of the family died, the firstborn would take all and the other siblings would have to leave - "go west young man." That's how the west in our nations history became the "wild west." The first born inherited the family estates and stayed in the east while the others had to go else where - west.
Jacob was a good manager. He got rich (which in those days was measured in terms of livestock) by figuring out some basic genetics. He learned that the color of animals was based upon genetics, so he controlled the breeding of the animals to produce spotted ones (Gen 30:31-43). He became very prosperous doing this (Gen. 30:43), and took almost the entire market share from Laban. So Jacob began to send Joseph out as a teen to do his metrics.
He would send Joseph out where his brothers were pasturing their herds and flocks and bring back an assessment of the situation. Jacob wanted to be sure that his flocks (his bankroll) was still intact, and one could never be completely sure with his trifling sons. When Joseph returned and laid it on the line to Jacob about how the estate had deteriorated, then his brothers were angry at him because they felt they had been slighted.
Now, lest this situation be misunderstood, this did not mean that Joseph has brought back a personnel evaluation of his brothers because everyone knew their level of incompetence. He was probably very objective and simply pointed out things such as: Selection of pasture, number in the herd, neglect of animals during birthing, proximity of water, protection of the herd from predators. From the true metrics, Jacob would have a true perspective of the state of his business enterprise (his estate).
However, guilt produces hypersensitive individuals; and Joseph's brothers
were full of it. So they were afraid that Joseph would make them look bad.
They denied their own problems. They did not take responsibility for their own failures. When denial enters the subconscious, it comes out as something else. In the case of the redneck gang of brothers, it came out as bitterness. The brothers were guilty; therefore, they were afraid. The Bible teaches that guilt and fear are sins. They should be confessed as such per 1 John 1:9. The sins were paid for on the cross. To entertain them means the believer is out of fellowship with God. Denial of fear and guilt enter the subconscious and come out as something else.
In the case of the redneck brother gang, the guilt in the subconscious came out as bitterness and hatred. This hatred was projected onto Joseph. He was perceived as the problem. He was the scapegoat. They didn't see their own problems. They saw Joseph as the problem, and they hated him. So they plotted to murder him.
However, Reuben (the oldest) convinced them not to kill Joseph but to throw him into a pit instead and leave him to die. Reuben planned to secretly rescue him. However, along came a caravan headed for Egypt; so they seized the opportunity to sell Joseph as a slave. They dipped Joseph's long-sleeved robe (symbolic of nobility) in animal blood, took it to their father, and pretended Joseph had been killed by a wild animal. Meanwhile Joseph wound up as a slave in Egypt at age 17.
When Potiphar came home at night, he sat down to a fantastic dinner with the best wine and finest of culinary delights - not to mention the entertainment - all compliments of Joseph. Joseph managed everything. Joseph was totally honest; did a good job; and was the ideal slave. That meant that he accepted his status of being without rights and without freedom. He accepted his status as coming from the Lord, and all that he had as part of the Plan of God. Spiritually, he was applying Faith-Rest, which is leaving the matter of his injustice in the Lord's hands (Psalm 55:22). This was used effectively by Abraham, his great grandfather. He meant that his deliverance was in the hands of the Supreme Court of Heaven and he need not concern himself with it. In essence, Joseph left the matter in God's hands and enjoyed his new status in life.
However, Joseph was a very good-looking young man, who had a very attractive body, per Genesis 39:6. He is one of three men in the Bible who are described as "good-looking" (or handsome): Moses, David, and Joseph. Well, Potiphar's wife an adulteress, which was not all that unusual in Egypt contrary to what the history books report about their morality. Potiphar's wife, who was probably middle aged, was into sexual pleasures outside marriage. She was sexually aggressive: She seduced teen slaves and raped them if they didn't submit to her demands. She had a voracious sexual appetite and could not keep her hands off guys.
Potiphar's wife took one look at the handsome, young Hebrew slave and went wild with sexual desire for him. All she could think about was Joseph's body. It is interesting that Potiphar recognized Joseph's ability, while his wife recognized only the accouterments of the flesh. She tried daily to seduce Joseph and to trap him into sex. This according to the definitions of the day is sexual abuse on the job. Joseph found it very difficult to do his work in managing Potiphar's estate due to the constant hounding for sex. Under the circumstances, Joseph behaved admirably. He refused to be a part of her social life and rejected all her demands for sex.
Joseph's rationale for rejecting her, as he told her, was that Potiphar had put everything in Joseph's charge with the exception of his wife. Joseph recognized the wife of another man as being the property of another. It would be wrong to take what belonged to another, and adultery would be a sin against God and evil. This was all related by Joseph (who was probably 17-19 years old) before the word of God contained the commandment: "You shall not commit adultery". Joseph recognized as does our Constitution that two things are sacred: Human life and personal property. Those who deprive others of these rights hinder them from fulfilling their purpose in life and must be removed from society.
One day Joseph went to work while the men slaves were not in the house, and Potiphar's wife saw her opportunity; called him into the bedroom, and proceeded to give him orders. Joseph was a slave and had to obey. She demanded sex, but he refused. Then "she grabbed him skillfully by his garment" (Hebrew "begedh", Genesis 39:12). The slaves wore a single skirt cut above the knee (and perhaps nothing else). She had him trapped. He was in her power - and one should not discount the sexuality of the female animal in the bedroom (probably still wearing her nightgown). She demanded, "Have sex with me!" Joseph as a slave could not lift a finger against her. If he so much as touched her, he was dead meat. Slaves do not talk back or touch their owners.
Potiphar's wife made the next move, which was to pull Joseph out of the skirt and free him from the garment (this is an attempt to translate the Hebrew idiom used here for her skill in taking off his skirt). Anyway, she wasn't just after a look. She was grabbing for his genitals. Her intention was to arouse and rape. But Joseph eluded her grasp and ran out of the house. The scripture says that he ran out on the outside. There is no mention of him running away. He was simply outside the house without his clothes.
Potiphar's wife had to think fast. She was holding his skirt in her hand, and he was outside without it. Even the dumb ones could figure this out. She was guilty. What was she going to do? With a man's skirt in her hand, and the man standing naked outside, she had to come up with a forceful alibi. She handled the situation by suppressing the guilt (denial), then venting the guilt from her subconscious as bitterness, hatred, and racial prejudice toward Joseph. She played the part of "hell hath no fury like a woman's scorn." She blamed everything on Joseph; used his skirt as circumstantial evidence; and pretended that he had tried to rape her.
She immediately called in the men slaves and told them the story. Why not the women slaves? There are probably two reasons: (1) Women are not that stupid, and (2) the women slaves may have seen what happened anyway. She practiced her story with the men. Then she lay back down on the bed with Joseph's skirt beside her. When Potiphar came home from the office, she told her story and he believed her. He threw Joseph in jail. Now the penalty for adultery was 100 blows, which Joseph did not receive; so Potiphar probably didn't completely believe her. Joseph was innocent but the moral law in Egypt (as the historians would have us believe) sent an innocent man to jail on the testimony a single, lying witness.
This needs to be understood from the divine viewpoint. Joseph was in prison for training. The quickest way to accelerate spiritual growth is through suffering. The stages in Joseph's spiritual growth may be listed as follows:
Joseph listened to Pharaoh's dreams, and God the Holy Spirit revealed the meaning to him. The seven fat cows and seven ears of grain were seven years of prosperity ahead while the seven starving cows and the seven shriveled ears of grain were seven years of famine. Joseph interpreted the dreams to Pharaoh, but he didn't stop with an academic proof. Without slowing down, he led right into an explanation of what action needed to be taken. This was an impending crisis. It wasn't enough to be recognized as a Ph.D. in dream interpretation while the nation of Egypt and the Middle East starved to death.
The Project Manger determines the fate of his employees. He provides them with freedom to work to achieve their fullest potential: To succeed or fail. He defines the project, the vision, scope, strategy. He chooses the market. He must chart a course for success of: The business, the employees, and the customers. This is all about the internal freedom of a nation! Do you see it? The freedom from external enemies is provided for this nation by the blood and sacrifice of the military establishment - and the blood in this nation runs deep. However, the internal freedom, which affects every employee and every citizen of the nation, is defended by the business establishment and the criminal justice system.
Look at the breakdown of freedom. Joseph's brothers plotted to murder him and sold him into slavery. Potiphar's wife abused her slave. To use the metaphor of Moses (Deut. 28:13, 44; Isa. 9:14-15) (I can't claim credit for this one): She was a tail and not a head. She was making decisions to satisfy her tail. Then Potiphar listened to his wife. He made the decision on the basis of his tail and not his head. This is the vocabulary of Moses and Isaiah, who did not allow their writing to be censored by the editors (which Kipling called " the gods of the copybook heading"). There is very little freedom of the press in this nation today because the tails will not allow the truth to be printed. Teens are often lax on their education because they succumb to the pressures of the tail. Sex rules their lives. Why? Because they do not believe the Doctrine of Right Man - Right Woman. They have an empty file on the cerebral cortex where that doctrine should be stored. Consequently, they use their tail instead and run for a cheap substitute.
To be teachable a person must have both humility and respect for authority.
There is absolutely no way to learn an academic discipline without both.
No subject in the classroom that is worth learning can be learned without
submission to authority. Those become great do not begin great. They begin
by learning what is already known in the profession, and then they may
be able to advance beyond the current state-of-the-art. Those who are given
power over others, must have the capacity to exercise it without arrogance.
Arrogance leads to both tyranny and lawlessness. The great W. E. Deming
was an avid learner and considered learning one of the four criteria for
a project. He and Joseph were alike in that respect. An organization that
is not learning is an organization in decline.
The person who is teachable can learn and develop discernment, which is the result of perception. Discernment is the ability to differentiate. A person with discernment is able to differentiate between truth and fallacy. He is not easily deceived. A leader must have objectivity and capacity (inner strength) to avoid being deceived by the chicanery of snobs and the shortcomings of fools.
The Project Manager must also have wisdom. Wisdom is mastery of all relevant subjects. It requires a complete, well-rounded person, who understands the technical as well as the personal, who loves his country and his fellow man, as well as one who understands and respects the benefits of the latest technology. Wisdom requires the ability to integrate all the categories of knowledge to formulate the vision and strategy of long range decision making. Wisdom seeks complete solutions and avoids temporary problem fixes. Wisdom has its eye on the solution - not the problem. Wisdom watches the ball - not the crowd.
Free enterprise must be free. But if it is under the power of Satan,
it is not free. The employees are not free; and the customers who buy products
conceived and dedicated to the purpose of evil are not free. The only way
to run a business in free enterprise is to run it under legitimate authority.
That means that God has to sponsor the project. "There is no authority
except from God" (Rom. 13:1a).
A good project, as well as a good product, must meet the needs of mankind. This is the purpose of business and the purpose of government. Joseph's project will prevent the nation of Egypt from starving. The part of the human body that corresponds to freedom is the part under the head - the neck. The yoke around the neck symbolizes loss of freedom (Gen. 27:40; Deut. 28:48; Isa 10:27; Jer 27:1-11, 30:8; Lam 1:14). The picture shows the neck (freedom) in relation to the head (authority). The succeeding verses explain the other points in Joseph's pitch as shown on the picture.
Management is represented by the shoulders on the diagram. They must shoulder the responsibility for completion of the project. The shoulders as the symbol of management were deduced from the symbol of the Tribe of Issachar, who were the pack animals (the donkeys, Gen. 49:14) for Israel and camped on the Northeast corner of the Tabernacle. This location in a Client Nation is identified with the trade center. This is probably beyond the capability of most Bible students, but the concept of donkey to represent management should ring true with everyone. Donkeys are loved and respected by those who know them best (management perspective) and considered jackasses by the rest of us.
Management often is without leadership ability; and that is unfortunate. Their mentality is simply not so inclined. They see the trees, but never the forest. The CEO is the leader. Leadership is a very different function from management. The leader sponsors freedom and empowers employees. The manager restricts their freedom and controls them. The leader has long range vision; the manager is nearsighted. The leader sees the solution, the manager the problem. The leader leads, the manager follows. Hopefully, it is not as bad as the head and the tail!
The solution for the years of plenty would require building barns to store the grain. This would entail tax collectors, construction of facilities, and guards to protect the stored grain from thieves. They would have to be able to build the barns fast enough to store the first year's crop, the next year's crop, etc. Over the land of Egypt this would be a massive project, but if it were organized properly, it would work, i.e. it would be successful during the 7 years of plenty. Then security would have to be provided to protect the national investment.
Integrity means providing a solution (or product) that meets the needs of mankind. It means safety, reliability, and security. What if there were rats? Then would the locals be willing to donate cats? Surely, they would! Great idea! What about reliability? Could they build barns with the strength to store the tons of grain? The Egyptians were great architects. Surely, they could! Great idea! What about security? Let Potiphar handle it! Great idea? (Some adjustments might be needed, but surely they could handle the security.)
Methodology is key to any successful project. It must be something that can be executed successfully. It must be clear, simple, efficient, effective. System definition, function, and architecture are included in the definition of methodology. Methodology is the means of achieving the purpose (or aim) of the system.
Blessing or cursing are in the hand of God and He blesses or curses
depending upon doctrine in the soul of the believer. This was God's project,
and Joseph was simply the steward of the grace of God.
Author: Larry Wood