The students will be able to recount how Potiphar's wife lied about Joseph and caused him to be put into prison. They will understand that God was always with Joseph, even in times of trouble.
Introduction: Use the prison provided as a Memory Verse Visualized pattern at the end of the lesson as your opener for this class session. Ask the students to identify what the picture is, and then imagine how they might feel if they were put into prison. Briefly review the events of the past two lessons, helping the students see several occasions where Joseph might have been frightened. Bring out how God was with Joseph in each situation.
Climax: Joseph was put into prison because of the lie. But even there he did what was good and right in God's sight.
Conclusion: Even though this seemed like another hard situation for Joseph, God was still with him.
Response: The students will be able to relate the fact that God was with Joseph in prison to the fact that He will also be with us in every time of need, if we are doing what is right in His sight.
Joseph, having been sold into slavery by his brothers, was bought in the slave market by an officer of Pharaoh, an Egyptian named Potiphar. The word "slavery" does not occur at all in the King James Version because both the Hebrew and the Greek words involved are more often rendered "servant."
A slave's life in Egypt was usually lived in hopelessness and despair. Few ever had days off or any vacations. They expected only that their days would be filled with endless chores and probably difficult, exhausting work, often made worse by beatings and privations. Joseph, however, proved to be so intelligent and trustworthy that his master, in time, put him in charge over all his household. God was with Joseph, and Potiphar's affairs prospered under Joseph's administration.
Because of false accusations brought against Joseph by Potiphar's wife, Joseph was cast into prison. Justice in ancient times often meant "guilty until proven innocent." The person suspected or accused of a crime was thrown into prison to await a trial which usually was slow in coming or maybe never took place. The accused often languished in prison for years in the company of robbers, murderers, and the insane. The dungeons were dark and clammy, no toilets, and the stench unbearable. Sickness and disease was rampant, often claiming the lives of the prisoners before they ever came to trial. Many prisons offered no food or water to prisoners and they would survive only if family or friends brought them food.
Even as God had kept and blessed Joseph before, and had given him favor with Potiphar, He brought him to the favorable attention of the prison keeper. This man, finding that he could have complete confidence in Joseph, put into his charge all the other prisoners. God is able to provide and care for His children no matter what the outward circumstances of their life may be.
Use verse 23 of the text to explain Joseph's character. "The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his [Joseph's] hand; because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper." Even though Joseph was in prison, the jailer knew he was a good person. He put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners. And he didn't even check up on what Joseph did! Joseph could have used this opportunity to escape or to get all kinds of favors for himself, but he only did what was right. He did what God wanted him to do. Present optional endings to Joseph's situation; such as, using the jailer's trust in him to escape, to get extra food or privileges, or to charge the other prisoners money for favors. Would God have blessed Joseph in these cases?
Emphasize how in all ages of life we feel a need for comfort and security. Bring in a toddler holding a teddy bear. Talk about how that child really wants to have the bear in bed with him at night. Bring in two older children, arm in arm, and talk about how friends can offer security. Then bring out that even a teddy bear or the best of friends cannot always be with us or really help us in the time of trial. But God can! He was with Joseph throughout all of his trials, and He has promised to be with us too.