World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Potiphar

Article Id: WHEBN0000069567
Reproduction Date:

Title: Potiphar  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Joseph (patriarch), List of people in both the Bible and the Quran, Slave of Dreams, Joseph: King of Dreams, Ian McNeice
Collection: Book of Genesis, Joseph (Patriarch), Torah People
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Potiphar

Joseph and Potiphar's Wife, by Guido Reni 1630
Joseph Accused by Potiphar's Wife, by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1655.
Joseph and Potiphar's Wife, Joseph leaving by Orazio Gentileschi

Potiphar or Potifar ()[1] is a person known only from the Book of Genesis's account of Joseph. Potiphar is said to be the captain of the palace guard and is referred to without name in the Quran. Joseph, sold into slavery by his brothers, is taken to Egypt where he is sold to Potiphar as a household slave. Potiphar makes Joseph the head of his household, but Potiphar's wife, who is not named in the Bible or in Christian tradition, is furious at Joseph for resisting her attempts to seduce him, and falsely accuses him of attempted rape. Potiphar casts Joseph into prison, from where he later comes to the notice of Pharaoh through his ability to interpret the dreams of other prisoners.

After Joseph's interpretation of Pharaoh's dreams and his subsequent appointment as overlord of Egypt, Joseph (renamed Zaphnath-Paaneah) married Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On. Poti-Pherah may have been the same person as Potiphar,[2] in which case Joseph would likely have been married to the daughter of the woman responsible for his false imprisonment.

The medieval Sefer HaYashar, a commentary on the Torah, gives it as Zuleikha, as do many Islamic traditions and thus the Persian poem called Yusuf and Zulaikha from Jami's Haft Awrang ("Seven thrones"). Because of the Egyptian location wherein the scene is staged, it is not impossible to detect in this biblical tale also a more recent echo of the very old Egyptian fable of the two brothers Bata and Anpu.[3][4]

The story became very common in Western art in the Renaissance and Baroque periods, usually showing the moment when Joseph tears himself away from the bed containing a more or less naked figure of Potiphar's wife. Persian miniatures often illustrate Yusuf and Zulaikha in Jami's Haft Awrang ("Seven thrones").

Contents

  • Etymology 1
  • Religious References 2
  • Cultural references 3
  • Gallery 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Bibliography 7

Etymology

Potiphar (Hebrew: פוטיפר‎) is the shortened form of the Eqyptian name "Potiphera" meaning "he whom Ra gave." This is analogous to the name "Theodore"="God's gift" in the Western world.[5]

Religious References

It is difficult to place Potiphar or Joseph accurately to a particular pharaoh or time period. On the Jewish calendar, Joseph was purchased in the year 2216, which is 1544 BC, at the end of the Second Intermediate Period or very beginning of the New Kingdom. The Torah in which the story appears (see also the Bible and the Quran) was the earliest written of the three: c. 600 BC during the Babylonian Exile. According to the documentary hypothesis, the story of Potiphar and his wife is credited to the Yahwist source, and stands in the same place that the stories of the butler and the baker and Pharaoh's dreams stand in the Elohist text.

According to Dr. G.J. Wenham (IVP New Bible Commentary) execution was normal for rape cases, and thus the story implies that Potiphar may have had doubts about his wife's account.

The Book of Abraham of the Latter Day Saint movement refers to Potiphar`s Hill in Egypt.

Cultural references

  • In art the subject is one of the most commonly shown in the Power of Women topos.
  • There is a Persian poem called Yusuf and Zulaikha in Jami's Haft Awrang ("Seven thrones")
  • In The Divine Comedy, Dante sees the shade of Potiphar's wife in the eighth circle of Hell. She does not speak, but Dante is told by another spirit that, along with other perjurers, she is condemned to suffer a burning fever for all eternity.
  • In the John Sayles film Matewan, Will Oldham plays a young minister boy who preaches the story of Potiphar to his small town.
  • In Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Potiphar is a tycoon of ancient Egypt who made his wealth through buying shares in pyramids, ("Potiphar had made a huge pile, owned a large percentage of the Nile"). His wife is a seductive man-eater. Both feature in the song "Potiphar".
  • In John Keats' poem, "On Fame", Keats calls Fame "Sister-in-law to jealous Potiphar".
  • In the animated film Joseph: King of Dreams, prior to having him jailed for allegedly assaulting his wife, Potiphar takes notice of Joseph's intelligence and makes him a chief slave in his household. He later brings Joseph to Pharaoh, who is plagued by inexplicable dreams, and expresses deep regret for having Joseph put in prison. He tells Pharaoh that he trusts Joseph "with [his] life."
  • Thomas Mann in Joseph and his Brothers suggests that her sexual frustration is partly because Potiphar is a eunuch.

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ Hebrew: פּוֹטִיפַר / פּוֹטִיפָר, Modern Potifar Tiberian Pôṭîp̄ar / Pôṭîp̄ār; Arabic: بوتيفار ; Egyptian origin: p-di-p-rʿ "he whom Ra gave"
  2. ^ http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12316-potiphar
  3. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica, Joseph (biblical figure)
  4. ^ http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/texts/anpu_and_bata.htm
  5. ^ Asimov, Isaac (1967). Guide to the Bible - Old Testament. p. 106. 

Bibliography

  • The Hebrew Pharaohs of Egypt, Ahmed Osman, Bear & Co. 1987
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.