Verses 13–18

Joseph’s mistress, having tried in vain to make him a criminal, now endeavours to represent him as one; so to be revenged on him for his virtue. Now was her love turned into the utmost rage and malice, and she pretends she cannot endure the sight of him whom awhile ago she could not endure out of her sight. Chaste and holy love will continue, though slighted; but sinful love, like Amnon’s to Tamar, is easily changed into sinful hatred. 1. She accused him to his fellow servants (Gen. 39:13-15) and gave him a bad name among them. Probably they envied him his interest in their master’s favour, and his authority in the house; and perhaps found themselves aggrieved sometimes by his fidelity, which prevented their purloining; and therefore they were glad to hear any thing that might tend to his disgrace, and, if there was room for it, incensed their mistress yet more against him. Observe, When she speaks of her husband, she does not call him her husband, or her lord, but only he; for she had forgotten the covenant of her God, that was between them. Thus the adulteress (Prov. 7:19) calls her husband the good man. Note, Innocence itself cannot secure a man’s reputation. Not every one that keeps a good conscience can keep a good name. 2. She accused him to his master, who had power in his hand to punish him, which his fellow servants had not, Gen. 39:17, 18. Observe, (1.) What an improbable story she tells, producing his garment as an evidence that he had offered violence to her, which was a plain indication that she had offered violence to him. Note, Those that have broken the bonds of modesty will never be held by the bonds of truth. No marvel that she who had impudence enough to say, Lie with me, had front enough to say, “He would have lien with me.” Had the lie been told to conceal her own crime it would have been bad enough, yet, in some degree, excusable; but it was told to be revenged upon his virtue, a most malicious lie. And yet, (2.) She manages it so as to incense her husband against him, reflecting upon him for bringing this Hebrew servant among them, perhaps at first against her mind, because he was a Hebrew. Note, It is no new thing for the best of men to be falsely accused of the worst of crimes by those who themselves are the worst of criminals. As this matter was represented, one would have thought chaste Joseph a very bad man and his wanton mistress a virtuous woman; it is well that there is a day of discovery coming, in which all shall appear in their true characters. This was not the first time that Joseph’s coat was made use of as a false witness concerning him; his father had been deceived by it before, now his master.