"Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority" (Gen. 39:1-4).
Here we are introduced to Potiphar. He was "captain of the guard" in Egypt (i.e., head of the executioners). He bought Joseph as a slave and treated him very well, especially after seeing that the LORD blessed everything Joseph worked on. We might wonder how Potiphar (in a polytheistic culture) came to the correct conclusion that the LORD was the source of Joseph's success. The text indicates that Potiphar "saw" that the LORD was with Joseph. In other words, it was observable! Such is still the case today, friends. Can the world "see" that God is with you? If not, why not? If such could be seen in the life of a young man who had been enslaved far from home, our lives--no matter what our circumstances--should also be able to manifest such.
"So it was, from the time that he had made him an overseer of his house and all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had in the house and in the field. Thus he left all that he had in Joseph's hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate" (Gen. 39:5,6). We know that Joseph spent 13 years of his life initially as a slave and later as a prisoner, though we are not certain how long he specifically served in Potiphar's house (cf. 37:2; 41:46). It may have taken several years for Joseph to earn Potiphar's absolute trust. But, once he was promoted, Potiphar did not even check up on Joseph. Potiphar's servant was so reliable and successful that Potiphar only concerned himself at home with what he desired to eat! Joseph was put in charge of everything in Potiphar's house. Such was a significant responsibility, and he was up to the task. Joseph would learn invaluable training during these years, particularly the Egyptian language, their way of life, and business administration. He would also learn humility and perseverance (he may have lacked the former to some degree when he lived with his family). These traits will be very helpful to him when he is later promoted by Pharaoh himself. Once Joseph's character is perfected, then and only then would he be ready to help perfect the character of his brothers. It is of interest to observe that when Judah separated himself from his brothers (cf. Gen. 38), he became further contaminated by his surroundings. But, Joseph was just the opposite! It would have been easy in a foreign land for him to forsake his faith in the true and living God and simply assimilate into Egyptian culture in every way. It would have been easy for him to become depressed and give up, but he chose not to travel that path. Joseph had a difficult 13 years in some ways, but he was true to the LORD. His faith was tested by fire and it did not fail (cf. I Pet. 1:7)!