And they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it. (Genesis 37:24)
Parashat Vayeishev begins the story of Joseph. When we first encounter him, he is a seventeen year old young man. We learn that his father, Jacob, had a special love for him above all of his eleven brothers. He was loved so much so that his father had given him a special, and highly recognizable garment that distinguished him from among his brothers. It was this disproportionate love that stirred up jealousy from his brothers and fostered their resentment toward him. That resentment eventually turned to a genuine hatred of Joseph and caused his brothers to eventually plot to do away with him.
As the story goes, one day Jacob tells Joseph to go out to the land of Shechem where his older brothers were watching over the flock. He was to check in on them and see how they were doing and then report back to his father. His father knew he would give him the scoop on what his other sons were really doing while they were away from home with the flock. His brothers probably called him the Little Snitch. And being his father’s spy didn’t earn him any brownie points with his brothers. It only stirred up more hatred toward him.