Potiphar, The Captain of the Guard

Discussion in 'OT Historical Books' started by Southern Presbyterian, Jan 19, 2008.

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  1. Southern Presbyterian

    Southern Presbyterian Moderator Staff Member

    In Genesis 39:1 it says that Potiphar is "an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard." Then is 41:12 it says that the young Hebrew in prison is "a servant of the captain of the guard."

    Does this mean that Potiphar was in charge of Pharaoh's prison as captain of the guard? It would certainly suggest a certain understanding of Potiphar's wife if he placed Joseph in prison because of her accusation yet still put him (Joseph) in charge of the prison. Thus Joseph is imprisoned because of his social position rather than because Potiphar believed his own wife. Did he indeed know the true character of the woman to whom he was married?

    I heard the interpretation from a preacher on the radio (don't know which one, for sure, because I missed both the beginning and end of the message) the other day. I've been turning it over in my head since then :think:, but I just don't know that this holds up to a proper biblical hermeneutic.

    What say ye?
  2. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    I expect that the two men (Potiphar and the jailer) are different, otherwise why not keep referring to the man by his name, Potiphar? The designation, "captain of the guard" is probably an office, one that could be held by many different people, albeit in different positions--just as there are many county sheriffs in this country, but they are all "sheriff".
  3. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Here are some comments from Matthew Poole (both his Annotations and Synopsis (in bold) -- note: the English translation of Gen. 23-50 of his Synopsis is due to be published very soon, dv):

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