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Potiphar's wife was an unnamed Egyptian woman who was married to Potiphar, the Captain of the Guard in the court of the contemporary Egyptian Pharaoh. She is well known for attempting to seduce Joseph, despite being married to Potiphar. She is documented in the book of Genesis.


Potiphar's wife was married to Potiphar the Captain of the Pharaoh of Egypt's royal guards.

This would have put her husband in a very prestigious position. She was the most prized thing that Potiphar had under his management, not allowing Joseph to have her, yet he was the manager over everything in their household.[1] She also seemed to recognize or knew that Joseph was from across the water in Canaan. Following Potiphar's purchase of Joseph, she became attracted to the house master [2] and asked him to sleep with her, to which he refused.[3] For days following that, she asked him repeatedly the same question whenever he was near her and he refused each time and ceased to go near her.[4] This cycle would continue until one day, when no one else was in the house,[5] she ran up to Joseph and grabbed his cloak, demanding that he have sex with her.[6] He then threw off the cloak, leaving it in her hand and ran out of the house. After he had done this, she became angry with Joseph and told the men and servants of the house that Joseph had attempted to "rape" her.[7] She then laid his cloak by her bed until Potiphar returned home from the court of the Pharaoh.[8] In anger of Joseph's refusal to be intimate with her she began to fabricate the lie that he had attempted to "rape" her. Leaving her cloak by her bed would serve as almost undeniable evidence, not to mention that Joseph may have been left naked since he had no cloak. She told her husband the lie that Joseph had tried to "rape" her[9] and he became very angry with Joseph.[10]

Potiphar then had Joseph locked away in The Royal Prison.[11]


The account of Potiphar's wife attempted seduction and adultery is one of the earliest recorded accounts of adultery, being in the biblical book of Genesis. This infatuation she had would forever be infamous as a prime example of a woman who would try to seduce men outside of her marriage, similar to that woman of Proverbs.


  1. Gen 39:10 (Link)
  2. Gen 39:7 (Link)
  3. Gen 39:8-9 (Link)
  4. Gen 39:10  (Link)
  5. Gen 39:11 (Link)
  6. Gen 39:12 (Link)
  7. Gen 39:14 (Link)
  8. Gen 39:16 (Link)
  9. Gen 39:17 (Link)
  10. Gen 39:19 (Link)
  11. Gen 39:20 (Link)