This tapestry depicts an episode from the Old Testament. Joseph, favourite son of the Hebrew patriarch Jacob and Rachel, had many half-brothers. He was allowed to stay at home with his father while his jealous brothers worked the fields. One day when he visited them in the fields, they stripped him of all his clothes and threw him into a pit. They decided not to kill him but to sell him into slavery for 20 pieces of silver. The sons told their father that Joseph was devoured by a wild beast.
Joseph was taken to Egypt where he was eventually appointed chief administrator for his abilities as an interpreter of dreams. He saved Egypt from ruin by predicting seven years of famine. During these years his brothers, except for the youngest Benjamin, came to Egypt to buy corn. Joseph, without revealing his identity, sent them back to bring Benjamin. When they came back, he gave them sacks filled with corn, but also put his silver cup in the bag of Benjamin. Joseph's servants were sent to bring the brothers shamefaced back with the cup. Joseph, unable to keep his anonymity any longer, made himself known and forgave them their past doings. Later Jacob himself also came to Egypt and was presented to the Pharao.