And they took him, and cast him into a pit
Into the same that Reuben pointed to them, whose counsel they gladly took and readily executed, supposing he meant the same thing they did, starving him to death:
and the pit [was] empty, [there was] no water in it;
only serpents and scorpions, as the Targum of Jonathan; and Jarchi adds, this remark, that there was no water in it, seems to be made either to furnish out a reason why Reuben directed to it, that he might be the more easily got out of it, and not be in danger of losing his life at once, or of being drowned in it; or else to show the uncomfortable situation he was in, having not so much as a drop of water to refresh him; see ( Zechariah 9:11 ) . Dothan is said to remain to this day, and the inhabitants of it show the ancient ditch into which Joseph was cast F21.
F21 Bunting's Travels, p. 80.