In a succession of episodes, marked with the names of the chief characters, the painting illustrates the story of Joseph (Genesis 37,39,42-27). In the background to the left is the sale of Joseph to Potiphar, Joseph fleeing from Potiphar's wife, and his imprisonment. In the foreground on the right is the dream of Pharoah and Joseph interpreting Pharoah's dream, and, on the left, Joseph greeting his father and kinsmen on their arrival in Egypt.
A companion panel (J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles) shows earlier episodes of the story, before Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt. Both panels originally were engaged in the wainscoting of a bedroom, dating from about 1482.