Joseph and the wife of Potiphar Joseph interprets the Pharaoh’s dreams Joseph proclaimed Viceroy of Egypt
The four paintings studied below are part of an undetermined series of paintings illustrating the Story of Joseph and his Brothers, as narrated in the Bible (Genesis 37:1-36; 38:1-23; 39:1-22; 40:1-23; 41:149; 42:1-38; 44:1-34 and 45:1-28). These passages provide a detailed description of how Jacob’s particular fondness for his son, Joseph, sparked the envy of his brothers, who decided to great rid of him, casting off his tunic and throwing him into a pit, which they then pulled him out of, selling him to some merchants, who ended up selling him on to Potiphar, a minister to the Pharaoh and the captain of his guard, who put him in charge of his household. While taking care of all of Potiphar’s affairs, the latter’s wife tried to seduce him, but Joseph resisted all her advances, and finally she falsely accused him of attempting to force himself on her, resulting in his imprisonment. While in prison he interpreted the dreams of the palace cup-bearer and chief baker, who were also incarcerated, and at the end of two years he interpreted the Pharaoh’s dreams, showing him that through the dreams God was revealing that Egypt would undergo seven years of abundance followed by seven years of scarcity, which would plunge his people into a great famine. Joseph suggested keeping back a fifth of the harvest during the years of plenty in order to avert famine during the years of scarcity. Joseph was named minister of Egypt and, after a period had passed, his brothers arrived looking for food without recognising him. Finally, Joseph revealed himself to them and to his father, who thought him dead.