By Mary Vee
The prison door screeched as the guard yanked it open. "Says here in my orders you hurt Potifer's wife. Pretty dumb move, I'll say."
Joseph's head lowered. Not wanting to be struck again, he whispered, "I didn't do anything to her."
The guard laughed. "Yeah. That's what they all say." He pushed Joseph toward the keeper of the prison. "Take this slave and lock him up. Potifer's orders."
The keeper looked up from his work. "What'd he do?"
"You've got your orders!" The guard pushed Joseph closer to the keeper. "Take 'im and lock him up until Potifer decides to release him--or until he dies." The guard walked away laughing.
The Keeper inspected his new prisoner. "Must've been pretty bad what you did." Joseph kept his head low. The keeper faced him. "You seem a respectable kind of person--not wrenching at your chains or squirming to escape. Still, I'll keep my eye on you. If you prove your worth, I'll give you some freedom within the prison."
Joseph whispered, "Thank you, Sir."
"This way." The keeper led Joseph down a hall then down narrow, steep stairs. He chose not to pull Joseph by the chain wrapped around his neck like the guard had. "You're not like the others who are brought here. What did you do?"
Joseph sighed. If I report the truth, he might strike me. What do I say? He cleared his throat. "I was bought to be a slave in Potifer's house a few months ago. He liked my work. He appointed me to oversee his household. All went well."
The keeper stopped. "So what happened?"
"One day when the servants all had work outside the house, Potifer's wife asked me to spend time with her." He paused and closed his eyes. "I told her no. I needed to do my work. I wanted to please Potifer by finishing an important task he assigned. She followed me around. Before I knew it, she screamed and then told all the servants and Potifer I had mocked her."
The keeper unlocked a prison cell door. "I don't know if your story is true, but, like I say, if you show your worth, I'll give you freedoms in this prison." He pulled the door open.
Joseph walked inside and stared at the dark walls then at the keeper. The door slammed shut with an echo. He slid to the floor and wept. "Oh God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob--how did I get here? How have I displeased you?"
He woke the next morning swiping tears from his face. The prison door opened. The keeper shoved water and moldy bread inside the cell. Joseph sat up. "Thank you."
The keeper cocked his head. "Never in my life have I seen a prisoner like you." He turned away, paused, then turned back. "I could use help with my work. I'll give you a chance to prove your salt. Grab your food and follow me."
Joseph scurried forward, scooped up his food and followed the prison keeper. The keeper led the way to the food supply. "Pharaoh never gives me enough workers. You feed the rest of the prisoners while I take care of other duties."
Joseph swallowed the bread, ignoring the worms, and rubbed the crumbs from his mouth. "Yes, Sir."
Days went by. Joseph found himself doing more and more duties for the prison keeper. After a month, the keeper simply gave Joseph a list of duties without checking up on him. With every task, Joseph made sure to talk about God. He let those around him know God gave him the strength and desire to do his work. He praised God for successes.
One day the keeper of the prison stopped Joseph. "I'm pleased with your work. This prison has never run so well. Your God is making everything in this prison prosper. We have enough food. The prisoners have behaved better. Everything under your supervision has improved."
Joseph lowered his head a little. "Thank you, Sir."