Genesis 39:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 39:9, NIV: "No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?'"

Genesis 39:9, ESV: "He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”"

Genesis 39:9, KJV: "There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?"

Genesis 39:9, NASB: "There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil, and sin against God?'"

Genesis 39:9, NLT: "No one here has more authority than I do. He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.'"

Genesis 39:9, CSB: "No one in this house is greater than I am. He has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. So how could I do this immense evil, and how could I sin against God? ""

What does Genesis 39:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Joseph is explaining to his master's wife (Genesis 39:1) that he will not go to bed with her, as she has demanded (Genesis 39:7). His reasons are not about personal risk, or personal danger, but the fact that such a betrayal would be dishonorable. Potiphar has put enormous trust in Joseph. Potiphar trusts Joseph so much that he doesn't even check to see how Joseph is managing all the needs of his large estate. He knows Joseph will do everything with excellence (Genesis 39:4–6).

In fact, Potiphar has given Joseph equal authority as himself in his own household. Because Potiphar trusts him, Joseph can literally do whatever he likes, whatever is required. The one thing Potiphar has made off-limits to Joseph is his wife—likely not a restriction that needed to be said. If it was mentioned, directly, it might suggest that Potiphar knew his wife was unfaithful.

Given the trust with which he's been gifted, Joseph realizes such a sin would be especially heinous. His motive for good behavior is not fear or self-interest, but a sincere conscience. Joseph seeks to live up to the trust and honor placed in him by both Potiphar and the Lord.