Potiphera went to the door of his house and motioned in Asenath who *was loitering outside* trying to get a closer glimpse of Joseph, whom she had fallen hopelessly in love with.
“Come in, Asenath,” said Potiphera, “and meet Joseph. Just as you have never known a man in the fullest sense and detest strange men, so he has never known a woman in the fullest sense and detests strange women. You two are made for each other, but of course as brother and sister.”
Asenath made as if to kiss Joseph in greeting, but he waved her away.
“It’s not right that you kiss me, nor I you,” said Joseph, “for I worship God Most High, whereas, from what your Father has told me, you worship dead and dumb idols. And you are a woman who is a stranger to me because I’ve only just met you. For us to kiss would be an abomination in God’s eyes.”
“Aren’t you going a bit overboard?” said Asenath.
“Not at all,” said Joseph, “a man who worships the true God, as do I, may kiss his mother and his sister because they are of his own tribe and kin. And he may also kiss his wife. So you see, Asenath, I may kiss women, only I have to be careful which ones I kiss.”
When Asenath heard all this she began to weep, and loudly. The tears poured down her face in great gollops. “Just from just the little you’ve spoken,” she said, “I get this feeling that you look down on us Egyptians and our culture, which is founded upon our religion – a complex system of polytheistic beliefs and rituals that are integral to who we Egyptians are. And what do you Hebrews have? Just one God who is supposed to be all things to all men. This sort of God is simplistic and one-dimensional, and glosses over the manifold complexities of the human psyche and the existential paradoxes of the human condition. This God of yours could only be the product of a culture that is primitive.”
“There, there now,” said Joseph, and he patted the top of Asenath’s head. “You’re being emotional, and are saying things you’ll be sorry you said when you calm down.”
Then Joseph looked upwards and said: “O God Most High, who am all things to all men, I beseech thee to bless and to forgive this poor woman for her intemperate words. Renew her by thy spirit and remold her by thy secret hand, and quicken her with thy life. May she enter into thy rest which thou has prepared for this elect.”
“That’s beautiful, Joseph,” said Asenath. “You’ve a way with words. They’re making me feel things, deep things, that I’ve never before felt. Oh Joseph, my brother, you’re going to be a wonderful brother to me, I just know it. And I’ll do everything to be a good sister to you. I can’t wait for the moment when we’re no longer strangers to each other, and we can kiss…….”
– Genesis 41, 45 – 46
– Joseph and Asenath, Chapter 8