Joseph’s brothers went to tend their father’s flocks near Shechem. Israel said to Joseph, "Aren’t your brothers tending the sheep near Shechem? Come, I’ll send you to them."
And he said, "I’m ready."
Jacob said to him, "Go! Find out how your brothers are and how the flock is, and report back to me."
So Jacob sent him from the Hebron Valley. When he approached Shechem, a man found him wandering in the field and asked him, "What are you looking for?"
Joseph said, "I’m looking for my brothers. Tell me, where are they tending the sheep?"
The man said, "They left here. I heard them saying, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’" So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan.
They saw Joseph in the distance before he got close to them, and they plotted to kill him. The brothers said to each other, "Here comes the big dreamer. Come on now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns, and we’ll say a wild animal devoured him. Then we will see what becomes of his dreams!"
When Reuben heard what they said, he saved him from them, telling them, "Let’s not take his life." Reuben said to them, "Don’t spill his blood! Throw him into this desert cistern, but don’t lay a hand on him." He intended to save Joseph from them and take him back to his father.
When Joseph reached his brothers, they stripped off Joseph’s long robe, took him, and threw him into the cistern, an empty cistern with no water in it.