And they took him and cast him into the pit; now the pit was empty there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat a meal, and they lifted their eyes and saw, and behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming…going…down to Egypt. (Genesis 37:24-25)

The pit into which Joseph was flung is a symbol of hatred and exile and also of miracles and triumph. The somber palette reflects the darkness of this episode, while the tinges of golden and blue light point to a spiritual future where Joseph would rise to power from this foreboding hole in the ground. In the painting, the pit looks like an endless whirlpool reaching deep into the belly of the earth. The Ramban explains that when the brothers threw Joseph into the pit they did not know that snakes and scorpions were within, because it was too deep to see the bottom, and that Joseph being taken out of the pit unharmed was a miracle..

In the painting, Joseph's brothers stand around the pit looking remorseful after selling him as a slave to a passing convoy of traders. The outline of the camel caravan disappears into the blue horizon and into an unexpected future where one day Joseph would become ruler over Egypt.