The Wiles of This Woman
3 of 4)
October 15, 2011
El-Qhamid and Joseph Toledano concur with historian Will Durant in their book Egyptian Erotica: The Essence of Ancient
Egyptian Erotica in Art and Literature (2004) in claiming that ancient Egyptian women had rights that were, at the very
least, equal to men. However, these were a double-edged sword.
to Egyptian law," says Egyptian Erotica, "women and men had equal rights (in theory, at least). The rights
that were granted to women according to Egyptian law were ‘scandalous' in the opinion of the ancient Greek and Roman
historians, who had the examples of their own cultures in front of their eyes, cultures in which women were virtually slaves."
The dark beauty that was the wife of the ancient Black Egyptian official Potiphar, who we
learned in Part 2 attempted to seduce the Hebrew slave Joseph, most assuredly was queen of her household, wielding considerable
authority. After Joseph rebuffed her efforts to seduce him, she took a more direct approach.
"One day he went into the house to do his work, and none of the household servants were there. She grabbed
him by his clothes and said, ‘Come to bed with me!' But he ran outside and left his clothes in her hand.
"When she realized that he had gone but had left his clothes behind, she called her household
servants and said to them, ‘Look! My husband brought this Hebrew here to fool around with us. He came in and
tried to go to bed with me, but I screamed as loud as I could. As soon as he heard me scream, he ran outside and left his
clothes with me.'
"She kept Joseph's clothes with her until his master
came home. Then she told him the same story: ‘The Hebrew slave you brought here came in and tried to fool around
with me. But when I screamed, he ran outside and left his clothes with me.'
Potiphar heard his wife's story, especially when she said, ‘This is what your slave did to me,' he became very
angry. So Joseph's master arrested him and put him in the same prison where the king's prisoners were kept."--Genesis
39:11-20, God's Word Translation.
Potiphar's wife openly charged, "My
husband brought this Hebrew here to fool around with us"! Fearing no ramifications or repercussions, she boldly told
him to his face, "The Hebrew slave you brought here came in and tried to fool around with me." In other words, "It's
all your fault! ... Now fix it!" So, hubby dutifully had Joseph arrested and imprisoned.
But why would powerful Black men of ancient Egypt tolerate what the ancient Greeks--as well as many today
in the 21st century!--saw as blatant disrespect on the part of their wives? The answer lies in Part 4!