Resentful of their father’s favouritism for Joseph, his brothers sold him into slavery. They kept his many-coloured coat which his father had made for him, smeared it with kid’s blood and showed the coat to their father Jacob to convince him that his son had been killed by a wild beast. The composition was first drawn in 1863 for an illustrated Bible. The story comes from the Book of Genesis: a quotation is given on the upper part of the frame. Brown shows the deceitful characters of the brothers, the despair of Jacob and the suspicion felt by his youngest son Benjamin.