Joseph’s master took him and put him in the prison… Genesis 39:20
It is likely that Potiphar doubted his wife’s story. If he had believed her, surely he would have had Joseph killed. But instead, Potiphar had Joseph put in prison. God protected Joseph, but it also seems Potiphar doubted his wife’s tale.
Potiphar was the captain of the guard (37:36). Later, when the king’s cupbearer and baker were put in prison beside Joseph, we are told, “The captain of the guard appointed Joseph to be with them” (40:4). It’s clear from this action Potiphar still trusted and respected Joseph.
After Potiphar’s wife confronted him with her story, we are told that “his anger was kindled” (39:19). It doesn’t say that he was angry at Joseph; it just says that he was angry.
Put all this together, along with the integrity Joseph had always shown, and it is reasonable to conclude that Potiphar’s anger was the result of being put in an impossible position. What could he do? His servants were watching. Potiphar can’t side with Joseph, nor does he want to side with his wife. What is he to do? His anger and affection take over and lead him away from the truth.
Centuries later, Pontius Pilate would be in a similar position. Seeds of disaffection had been sown in the crowd. Accusations had been made. People were crying out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend” (Jn. 19:12). Yet Pilate did not believe their stories, and he found no wrong in Jesus.
Jesus said those who are on the side of truth will listen to His voice. But Pilate, like Potiphar, didn’t listen. Pilate shrugged, “What is truth?” (Jn. 18:38). Both men sacrificed the truth, and the result was that Joseph was put in prison and Jesus was put on the cross. They chose to serve other interests.
Are you in a difficult position right now, where upholding the truth would be costly to you?