Forty women: 11. Potiphar’s wife

It’s not a bad life, being married to one of Pharaoh’s officials. Potiphar’s done well for himself, making Captain of the Guard. You’ve got a nice house, plenty of slaves. That new one, the young chap brought in from Canaan was a good buy. He’s bright and keen, he’s got the rest of the slaves well in hand. You only have to snap your fingers and there’s one, anticipating your every need.

He’s got Potiphar where he wants him, too. Dropping little hints in his ear. Business dealings that turn out better than anyone could have predicted. Advice on how to manage the guard more efficiently.

Just leave it all to Joseph. That’s all you ever hear from Potiphar these days. Joseph’s got it all under control. Joseph will sort that out.

Joseph. Joseph. Joseph.

If Joseph is so determined to do everything for Potiphar, well then, let him. It won’t be any hardship. He’s easy on the eye, you’ll say that for him.

Hard to persuade, though. He’s all prissy and prudish and won’t even come into your room any more. Well, if that’s how he wants to play it, you’ll show him. He may think he’s indispensible, but he’s only a slave. He’ll soon find out that he’s easily discarded.

You know just how to play it. You’ll grab his cloak and then scream so all the other slaves hear it. They won’t dare to disbelieve you. They’ll all back you up when you tell Potiphar what Joseph did.

That’ll teach him.

He’s gone. Thrown into the prison, and good riddance. Now everything will go back to normal. Everyone will forget about Joseph.

Until a couple of years later when Potiphar comes home, white-faced with shock. Pharaoh’s got a new chief minister. They say that Pharaoh has more or less handed over the reins to him. To Joseph. Somehow that sneaky little slave has crawled his way up into power.

Your heart starts pounding. What if he remembers? What if he’s looking for revenge?

What if there’s a famine in a few years time and everyone is depending on Joseph to allocate their food? What if he refuses to show mercy?

What if you get what you deserve?

Forty women: 12. Shiphrah and Puah