What does Genesis 39:9 mean?
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?”
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?'
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?'
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? "
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.'
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?
NKJV: There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Genesis 39:1–18 describes Joseph's rise and fall as the slave of Potiphar, the captain of the guard in Egypt. He arrives in this situation after being sold by his own brothers (Genesis 37:26–28). The Lord continues to be with Joseph and to bless him. Potiphar promotes Joseph to the head manager of his household, even giving credit to the Joseph's God for all the success that follows. Potiphar's wife is also impressed with Joseph, but in a less honorable way. She persistently tempts him to sleep with her. When Joseph refuses, she unfairly frames the young Hebrew slave for attempted rape.
Chapter Summary:
Joseph's arrival as a slave in Egypt is not the end of his story. The Lord continues to be with him and to bless him. Joseph rises to become the right-hand man of his master, Potiphar, the captain of the guard. Eventually, he is betrayed by a false accusation of rape by his master's scorned wife. Even then, Joseph finds the Lord is still with him, still blessing him, even in prison. Soon Joseph oversees every aspect of the prison, serving once again under God's faithful blessing.
Chapter Context:
In chapter 37, Joseph narrowly escaped being murdered by his own brothers (Genesis 37:18–20), only to be sold as a slave (Genesis 37:26–28). Chapter 39 picks up his story after taking a detour into the scandalous life of Judah. Though a slave in Egypt, Joseph thrives under the Lord's blessing. He rises to the top position in his master's household, only to be jailed on a false accusation of attempted rape. Still, Joseph continues to be blessed by God, again rising to become the jailer's most trusted servant. Joseph's reputation and ability to interpret dreams will factor into his rise within the government of Egypt.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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