Genesis 39:19 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 39:19, NIV: When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, 'This is how your slave treated me,' he burned with anger.

Genesis 39:19, ESV: As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, “This is the way your servant treated me,” his anger was kindled.

Genesis 39:19, KJV: And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled.

Genesis 39:19, NASB: Now when his master heard the words of his wife which she spoke to him, saying, 'This is what your slave did to me,' his anger burned.

Genesis 39:19, NLT: Potiphar was furious when he heard his wife's story about how Joseph had treated her.

Genesis 39:19, CSB: When his master heard the story his wife told him--"These are the things your slave did to me"--he was furious

What does Genesis 39:19 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Potiphar seems to react quickly to his wife's false accusation against Joseph (Genesis 39:11–15). Joseph's master (Genesis 39:1) is convinced by her manipulative deception (Genesis 39:16–18). She has skillfully cast guilt on her husband for bringing this Hebrew slave into her home. She implies that this attempted rape was, in some ways, her husband's fault. One would expect any husband to become angry when hearing a story such as this. Scripture describes his anger as growing, rapidly: it is "kindled," or it "burned."

What complicates the issue is Joseph's stellar reputation. Prior to this moment, Potiphar trusted Joseph with every conceivable decision in the household (Genesis 39:6). That Joseph was adamant about not sleeping with his master's wife suggests that his moral character was well known (Genesis 39:8, 10). At the same time, her aggressive attempts and Potiphar's strangely specific comment about her being off-limits (Genesis 39:9) suggest she may have had a reputation for this kind of thing.

Whatever details go through Potiphar's mind, he's angry. There is zero chance he will let this pass. In that time and place, a master likely had the right to kill a slave like Joseph outright. This is what many husbands would be tempted to do. Fortunately for Joseph, Potiphar's reaction will be merciful—so to speak (Genesis 39:20).