The cupbearer and the baker are two servants that must be very trustworthy. If a scandal is among them, it could be hazardous to the kings health. The cupbearer would personally serve wine to the king. His loyalty had to be beyond reproach. He also held a position of great influence as a close and trusted adviser. Egyptian documents testify to the wealth and power of officials in this type of position.
Elohim was with Joseph. He prospered because Elohim blessed everything with which he was involved. Potiphar picked up on this and made him the overseer of his household. It was not uncommon for Asian slaves to be brought into the household and enjoy a superior status to the Egyptian slaves who worked in the fields. This was brought to light by an Egyptian papyrus called “Brooklyn 35.1446” from about 1833 – 1742 BC. Because of this, Joseph was given the opportunity to display his administrative talents to Potiphar. Unfortunately, he was also working very closely with Potiphar’s wife.
The events of this chapter take place sometime before the death of Isaac when Jacob and his family were living somewhere near Hebron. According to the genealogies given, Isaac died at 180 which would have made Jacob 120 at that time. Joseph had been sold into slavery approximately 12 years before the death of Isaac.