“And he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out” Genesis 39:12 KJV
“And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside. Genesis 39:12 NASB
One of the greatest moments in a life filled with great deeds, was the hour when, faced with overwhelming temptation, Joseph fled. He faced a seductive woman and made a crucial choice – He chose to love his reputation rather than lose his character. To his eternal credit, he ran from the adulteress woman.
The enemy had carefully sculpted the temptation. Away from any support in a foreign land, having endured the bitter reality of rejection, in a place where no family or friends could view his weakness, the temptation presented itself. Acceptance rather than rejection; flattery instead of frowns; pleasure instead of the servitude of slavery – all were offered. And to compound the trial, it was “day by day” (Gen 39:10), persistent.
But Joseph stood the test and fled. Had he not removed himself from the scene, his fall would have negated all divine purposes for his life. He stood the test and went on to great things in God’s time.
But, once again, the Lord Jesus is greater than the best of men at their best moments. He likewise encountered immoral women. John tells us of the two encounters, the woman at the well (John 4) and the woman brought by the leaders (John 8). In both instances the Lord Jesus did not have to flee but cleansed and changed the women.
Consider just John 8 and the events which unfolded there. Here was a woman in an illicit relationship. Her sin was blatant and open for all to see. With callous and unfeeling hearts, the Pharisees paraded her publicly as a test case to stumble this itinerant teacher Who was challenging their place and popularity.
With consummate skill, the Lord Jesus faced His opponents. In their midst, bathed in shame, stood a woman, guilty and condemned by the law of Moses. He stooped and wrote on the ground twice. What did He write? Was it the law of Moses? Was it that God desired right motives? We are not told. But it afforded time for the words which He spoke, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (John 8:7), to penetrate their hard consciences.
As a result, we read that they went out one by one. Each man had to leave the penetrating and searching light of truth; each man except One. He could stand there with no qualm of conscience to condemn. Joseph fled from the woman because of His character; the Pharisees had to leave the woman because of their consciences; the Lord Jesus stood because of Impeccability. But He not only stood when others fled or left, He was able to cleanse and change the woman. What must have been her wonder when she heard from His lips, “Neither do I condemn thee. Go and sin no more” (John 8:11)!
We stood condemned by the light of His holiness and have heard the same sentence of grace from His lips: ‘neither do I condemn thee.’ Should our wonder and worship be any less?
This is the only time recorded that the Lord Jesus “wrote” anything. Most of the great men of history have left us their writings (Plato, Aristotle, etc).
Is there an intended contrast of His finger writing in the ground, with the finger of God which penned the law?