Genesis 37:24

Hebrew Bible

22 Reuben continued, “Don’t shed blood! Throw him into this cistern that is here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” (Reuben said this so he could rescue Joseph from them and take him back to his father.) 23 When Joseph reached his brothers, they stripped him of his tunic, the special tunic that he wore. 24 Then they took him and threw him into the cistern. (Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it.) 25 When they sat down to eat their food, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were carrying spices, balm, and myrrh down to Egypt. 26 Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is there if we kill our brother and cover up his blood?

Jeremiah 38:6

Hebrew Bible

5 King Zedekiah said to them, “Very well, you can do what you want with him. For I cannot do anything to stop you.” 6 So the officials took Jeremiah and put him in the cistern of Malkijah, one of the royal princes, that was in the courtyard of the guardhouse. There was no water in the cistern, only mud. So when they lowered Jeremiah into the cistern with ropes he sank in the mud. 7 An Ethiopian, Ebed Melech, a court official in the royal palace, heard that Jeremiah had been put in the cistern. While the king was holding court at the Benjamin Gate,

 Notes and References

"... In Genesis 37:24 we read how Joseph was the victim of his brothers' plot when they decided to rid themselves of him for good, so that they took him 'and cast him into a pit'. A further detail is added, the pit was empty, 'there was no water in it'. Is this a purely fortuitous detail, provided to explain why he did not drown, or could it be that the 'pit' in this wisdom story is related to larger soteriological themes? Was Joseph whom God delivered from the plot of those who sought his life and caused to prosper in Egypt and to gather all its wealth, in some way seen as a symbol of Israel itself, delivered by God from captivity in Egypt having gathered the wealth of Egypt, preserved from the plot of those who would have destroyed her and finally led into the land of plenty? If so, the picture of God's deliverance as from a 'waterless pit' must be an early one, known already in the form of the tale used by the Yahwist. Certainly it would express his strong emphasis on the land of Canaan as God's gift, the goal of his redeeming purpose for his people from the time of Abraham onwards. But again, a similar motif occurs in the Jeremiah narrative. In Jeremiah 38:6 it is related how the prophet was cast into a pit, and again the apparently fortuitous information is added ..."

Mason, Rex "The Use of Earlier Biblical Material in Zechariah 9–14: A Study in Inner Biblical Exegesis" in Boda, Mark J., and Michael H. Floyd, (ed.) Bringing out the Treasure: Inner Biblical Allusion in Zechariah 9-14 (p. 49) Sheffield Academic Press, 2003

 User Comments

Consider the prisoner in the waterless pit. On the surface it appears a place of hopelessness. However, throughout Scripture the image is associated with themes of divine deliverance.

Genesis 37:24 (NASB)
and they took him and threw him into the pit. >>>Now the pit was empty, without any water in it.>I have set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.>laid Him in a tomb

Michael Sisson, July 1, 2023, 11:29 pm

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