Jubb Yusuf (Well of Joseph)

By the Editors of the Madain Project

Situated near Jubb Yusuf Caravanserai, the Well of Joseph (جُبّ يُوسِف) is believed and respected as the pit into which the prophet Yusuf (Biblical Joseph) was cast into by his brothers, later to be sold to a caravan of Midianites making its way toward Egypt . Khan Jubb Yusuf or the “Caravanserai of the Josef’s [the Beautiful] Well”, located in the gardens of the kibbutz Ammi'ad arose in the period of the Abbasid and Mamluk.


To the east of Khan on the top of a small hill stands a domed building, which from a distance looks like a maqam. This is not a maqam, though, but simply the dome over an extremely deep well that people drew water from, and where, according to Biblical-Koranic tradition, Joseph the Beautiful was thrown down by his brothers. It is still not quite clear how the tradition had originated of associating Jubb Yussef with the pit into which Joseph was cast.

Brief History

circa 1300 BCE

Ibn Battuta passes through the area and describes a well and a mosque in the yard, but does not mention the settlement. It is possible that the settlement did exist, but Ibn Battuta, an experienced geographer, chose to describe the unique features of the place, without placing much importance on the settlement itself. Jubb Yussef is mentioned for the first time in the middle of the 10th century, but the current structure is of a later period. According to evidence of travellers, the pit, which had been 10 meters deep, had held good drinking water up until the 19th century.


circa 1300 BCE

It consists of a dug-out pit with a diameter of one meter and depth of about four meters, roofed by a cupola supported by four pillars. It was the first station on the caravan route from Safed in Tiberias. The second station was located on the seashore in Khan al-Minya (Hurvat Minim) On the third day the caravans reached Tiberias. In the year 1900 a philanthropist, apparently of Indian origin, came to Jubb Yussef, and set a marble plaque (inspect) on the domed structure above the pit, on which was engraved:
In the name of Allah
Pit of Joseph
peace be on him

circa 1300 BCE

In the Quran, Jubb Yussef (pictured here: peek inside) is mentioned in two verses: Surah 12 verses 10 and 15. Verse 10 says that one of the brothers of Joseph opposed killing him, and said it would be better to throw him into the bottom of a pit (jubb), so that one of processions could take him from there. Verse 15 says that when Joseph was cast into the pit, God told him that he, Joseph, would one day remind his brothers of this incident.

Biblical Mention

circa 1300 BCE

According to the biblical story (Genesis 37:12-23), Joseph was sent from Hebron by his father Jacob, to his brothers who tended sheep in Shechem (Nablus). When he arrived there he learned that his brothers had moved on to Dothan, where he then caught up with them. The distance from Shechem to Dothan is not mentioned, nor is the distance from Hebron to Shechem, but it is customary to associate Dothan with Tel Dotan, located between Shechem and Jenin.


See Also


Let's bring some history to your inbox

Signup for our monthly newsletter / online magazine.
No spam, we promise.

Privacy Policy