Potiphar (// Hebrew: פּוֹטִיפַר֩, romanized: pō-w-ṭî-p̄ar, lit. 'he whom Ra has given'), also known as Aziz in Islam, is figure in the Hebrew Bible and the Quran. He is the captain of Pharaoh's guard who is said to have purchased Joseph as a slave and, impressed by his intelligence, makes him the master of his household. Unfortunately, Potiphar's wife, who was known for her infidelities, took a liking to Joseph, and attempted to seduce him. When Joseph refused her advances, and ran off, she retaliated by falsely accusing him of trying to rape her, and Potiphar had Joseph imprisoned. According to G.J. Wenham (IVP New Bible Commentary), execution was normal in rape cases, and so the story implies that Potiphar had doubts about his wife's account.
What happened to Potiphar after that is unclear; some sources identify him as Potipherah, an Egyptian priest whose daughter, Asenath, marries Joseph. The false accusation by Potiphar's wife plays an important role in Joseph's narrative, because had he not been imprisoned, he would not have met the fellow prisoner who introduced him to Pharaoh.
The medieval Sefer HaYashar, a commentary on the Torah, gives Potiphar's wife's name as Zuleikha, as do many Islamic traditions - thus the Persian poem called Yusuf and Zulaikha from Jami's Haft Awrang ("Seven thrones"). Because of the Egyptian location of the story, it is not impossible to detect in the biblical account a more recent echo of the very old Egyptian fable of the two brothers Bata and Anpu.[failed verification]
The story became a very common subject in Western art during the Renaissance and Baroque periods, usually depicting the moment when Joseph tears himself away from the bed containing a more-or-less naked figure of Potiphar's wife. Persian miniatures often illustrate Yusuf and Zulaikha in Jami's Haft Awrang ("Seven thrones").
Potiphar (Hebrew: פוטיפר) is the shortened form of פוטיפרע "Potiphera" from Late Egyptian pꜣ-dj-pꜣ-rꜥ "he whom Ra has given." This is analogous to the name "Theodore"="God's gift" in the Western world.
It is difficult to tie Potiphar or Joseph accurately to a particular pharaoh or time period. According to the Jewish calendar, Joseph was purchased in the year 2216, which is 1544 BC, at the end of the Second Intermediate Period or very beginning of the New Kingdom. The Torah in which the story appears (see also the Bible and the Quran), was the earliest written of the three: c. 600 BC during the Babylonian Exile. According to the documentary hypothesis, the story of Potiphar and his wife is credited to the Yahwist source, and stands in the same place that the stories of the butler and the baker and Pharaoh's dreams stand in the Elohist text.
The Book of Abraham, included in the Pearl of Great Price, one of the standard works of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and by churches of the Latter Day Saint movement, refers to a "Potiphar`s Hill" in Egypt (Abraham 1:10, 20).
from the 1493 Nuremberg Chronicle
Joseph and Potiphar's Wife by Ludovico Cigoli
Guercino, Joseph and Potiphar's Wife, 1649
Joseph and Potiphar's Wife by Bartolomé Esteban Perez Murillo
Joseph and Potiphar's Wife by Jean-Baptiste Nattier
Joseph and Potiphar's Wife by Rembrandt, 1634