Genesis 39:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 39:20, NIV: "Joseph's master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison,"

Genesis 39:20, ESV: "And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison."

Genesis 39:20, KJV: "And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison."

Genesis 39:20, NASB: "So Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; and he was there in the prison."

Genesis 39:20, NLT: "So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king's prisoners were held, and there he remained."

Genesis 39:20, CSB: "and had him thrown into prison, where the king's prisoners were confined. So Joseph was there in prison."

What does Genesis 39:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Joseph has not only done nothing wrong, but he has also gone above and beyond to do everything right. He has worked diligently for his master (Genesis 39:1–5), despite being a captive slave. He has adamantly rejected seduction from his master's wife (Genesis 39:6–10). The Lord has been with Joseph, and Potiphar has benefited from the blessings God has heaped on everything Joseph did. Joseph has acted with integrity and uprightness.

So why have Joseph's circumstances suddenly reversed? After he honorably refused the sexual advances of his master's wife, her lust turned to vengeance. She lied, convincing Potiphar that Joseph had tried to rape her (Genesis 39:11–19). Potiphar believed her and burned with anger, as any husband would. He immediately throws Joseph in a jail, seemingly attached to his own home, and reserved for prisoners of the king (Genesis 40:2). Considering the circumstances, Joseph could have been murdered on the spot by a jealous husband. He could have been sentenced to death. Instead, as when he was sold by his treacherous brothers (Genesis 37:26–28), he will live on, giving further opportunity for God to work His master plan (Genesis 45:5; 50:20).

Events such as this give challenging answers to common questions. Do only good things happen to those who honor the Lord? Do bad circumstances always signal God's anger with a person? Joseph's story makes it clear neither is the case (John 16:33). Joseph has done no wrong, yet he suffers. Still, the Lord has not left his servant. He remains with Joseph in every circumstance, even the unfair and difficult ones. He even continues to enable Joseph's success (Genesis 39:21–23).