The Bible Message without Patriarchy

Genesis 39 - Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife: A Person’s Appearance Does Not Cause Others to Sin

August 4, 2019

In this podcast episode, we read Genesis 39 from the Good News Translation, Today's English Version.  In this story, Potiphar's wife attempts to commit adultery with Joseph, and then falsely accuses him of rape.  In almost every English translation of the Bible Joseph is described as "well-built and good looking."  Two English Bibles, however, omit this information.  They are the Geneva Bible and the King James Version.  Written during the rise of the Puritan movement, it seems their translators were concerned that it might be sinful to draw attention to someone's physical appearance.  Doing so, it was believed, might even "cause others to stumble."  For centuries, this way of thinking has made women feel responsible for the sexual conduct of men.  Joseph's appearance, however, did not cause Potiphar's wife to make her sinful choices.  Similarly, a woman's appearance is never responsible for the sexual behavior of men.

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