I remember hearing that Potiphar's wife was a righteous woman. She had a vision showing her that she would become an ancestress of the Jewish people. She naturally assumed it would be through her directly, so she tried to seduce Joseph to make it happen. She did not think it might be through her daughter, who Joseph later married according to some accounts.

What is the source of this story?


2 Answers 2


Rashi Breishis chapter 39, 1 ויוסף הורד AND JOSEPH WAS BROUGHT DOWN — It (Scripture) now reverts to the original subject (and consequently it states ויוסף הורד “Joseph had been brought down to Egypt” before the events last mentioned); it interrupted it only in order to connect the account of the degradation of Judah (Genesis 38:1) with that of the sale of Joseph, thus suggesting that it was on account of him (i.e. Joseph — Judah’s part in the sale of Joseph — ) that they (his brothers) degraded him from his high position. A further reason why this narrative of Judah and Tamar is interpolated here is to place in juxtaposition the story of Potiphar’s wife and the story of Tamar, suggesting that just as this woman (Tamar) acted out of pure motives so also the other (Potiphar’s wife) acted out of pure motives, for she foresaw by her astrological speculations that she was destined to be the ancestress of children by him (Joseph) — but she did not know whether these children were to be hers or her daughter’s (Genesis Rabbah 85:2).https://www.sefaria.org/Genesis.39.1-2?lang=bi&with=Rashi&lang2=en


This comes from Bereishit Rabbah 85:2, quoted by Rashi to Bereishit 39:1.

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