But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, that she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside. (Genesis 39:11-12)
Considering that Hebrews were despised by the Egyptians, it is exceptional that Joseph was in the position that he was — overseeing his master’s house. That Potiphar’s wife would try to seduce him hints at his exceptional qualities. More than natural beauty, might it be that she was attracted to what she sensed about him in regard to the call upon his life? Joseph not only states he can’t sin against God – which she may or may not have appreciated – but that he couldn’t do this wickedness to his master, a man who has put complete trust in him. But being young, immature, and perhaps naïve, Joseph had made the mistake of being alone with her; that mistake would cost him.
To his credit, Joseph retained his integrity and quickly removed himself from the situation, though some might argue a little too late. Having left his garment behind proved problematic for him as the story reveals. However he provides for us a valuable example of what to do in these situations — run.
There are situations in which we are to resist the devil and he will flee (James 4:7). But when it comes to sexual temptations that would lead to sin, we are instructed to run away. Paul said:
“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18)
We need to appreciate the fact that attractions can be very strong and hanging around, thinking we can overcome it might not be the best answer. It’s not a sign of weakness to flee from those situations; it is an indication that we are determined to please our Master and not ourselves. Once again we are reminded that, as His people, we are to say, “No” to self and “Yes” to righteousness.
Blessings and Shalom,