As I said, Joseph is moral to a fault, so he rebukes Mrs. Poitphar’s advances. She, however, is not moral in this regard. After more advances and even grabbing onto his clothes to the point that he had to leave them behind just to shake her off, she takes things to the next step.
This is, sadly, the first story where a woman cries rape within the Bible. Joseph’s clothes become the proof of the deed. Potiphar throws Joseph in prison, and Joseph is lucky he’s not killed on the spot. We already saw how Joseph’s brothers avenged Dinah’s rape.
Remember how I said that the stories were presenting increasingly complex moral dilemmas? Well, here we are. Joseph did the right thing by Potiphar, but is punished for it. The simple tales of straightforward right and wrong are pretty much past at this point. In fact, this is the trend throughout most of the Bible, moving forward. The narratives are more detailed and have increased complexity.
However, what hasn’t changed are long, overarching connected themes. We can look back at ideas in the stories of Abraham and follow them through his descendants to Joseph quite easily. It’s important to keep the previous stories in mind when looking at the current story in order to supply that greater context and message.
I often feel that the macro-structure and nature of stories within the Bible are overlooked for the microanalysis of specific verses and narrow-focus stories. It’s missing the forest for the leaves.