Where was Joseph’s prison?

By Mark Morgan | Joseph

Sep 18
Where was the prison?:

Where was Joseph’s prison?

Joseph was sold by his brothers and taken to Egypt where he was sold as a slave to an Egyptian called Potiphar. After some time, Joseph was falsely accused of attempting to rape his master’s wife and thrown into prison.

It may not seem a very interesting question to you, but: Where was Joseph’s prison?

Not interested?

Well, let me at least tell you why I find it fascinating.

Let’s look at some details reported in Genesis:

  1. Joseph was sold to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s bodyguard (Genesis 37:36; 39:1).
  2. When Joseph was imprisoned, he was put in the prison where king’s prisoners were kept (Genesis 39:20).
  3. When the chief butler and the chief baker upset Pharaoh the king, they were locked up in the house of the captain of the bodyguard – the prison in which Joseph was (Genesis 40:3). Since the prison was part of the house, it seems most likely that living in the house was part of his job as captain of the bodyguard.
  4. The captain of the bodyguard put Joseph in charge of the two prisoners (Genesis 40:4).
  5. Joseph calls the place where he was kept a ‘dungeon’ (Genesis 40:15).

What does that tell us?

If we put these details together, we end up with some really interesting conclusions and possibilities.

When Joseph was imprisoned, he was probably put into the prison which Potiphar, his master, had responsibility for – a prison that was located in the lower levels of the house Potiphar lived in as captain of the bodyguard.

Later, when the chief butler and the chief baker were locked up, they were put into the same prison and the captain of the bodyguard appointed Joseph to look after them. We don’t know whether Potiphar was still the captain of the bodyguard at this time, because we don’t hear about him again by name after Joseph was imprisoned.

What do you think?

Was it Potiphar who chose Joseph to look after the chief butler and the chief baker? Had he forgiven Joseph or did he know that Joseph was not guilty?

Joseph spent 13 years as a slave and a prisoner in Egypt before entering Pharaoh’s service. Were Potiphar and his wife still alive at that time? What a perfect opportunity for revenge as second in command of the kingdom! But that was not what Joseph was like.

See also

Interested in knowing more about prisons in ancient Egypt?

Joseph, Rachel’s son

This article on Joseph’s prison is one of a series of articles on Joseph published as back-up material for the Bible-based fiction novel Joseph, Rachel’s son.
[ More information | Purchase ]

Joseph, Rachel's son book cover


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