Etching of Joseph

Step 1 of 6

Jealous Brothers

The emblem depicts Joseph’s life story in both a literal and an allegorical way. In the upper left corner, we see a literal depiction of his brothers throwing him into the well. They do this out of envy, because their half-brother Joseph is their father’s favorite son. Later in the story, they decide that it is less hard on their conscience and more lucrative to sell him to merchants heading for Egypt. That is how Joseph ends up in the household of Potiphar.

The center of the emblem, however, represents the story in an allegorical way. It shows Joseph seated majestically on a richly decorated ox.