And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians: why the name of it was called Abelmizraim, which is beyond Jordan.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Abel-mizraim.—There is here an example of that play upon words that is always dear to Orientals. The word for “mourning” is êbel, while abel means a meadow, and is often found prefixed to the names of towns. When the Versions were made no vowel points were as yet affixed to the Hebrew consonants, and they all read Ebel-mizraim, the mourning of Egypt. The Hebrew text alone, as at present pointed, has Abel-mizraim, the meadow of Egypt.
saw the mourning in the floor of Atad; for so large a company of people, and such a grand funeral procession, brought multitudes from all the neighbouring parts to see the sight; and when they observed the lamentation that was made, saw their mournful gestures and actions, and heard their doleful moan:
they said, this is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians; they concluded they must have lost some great man, to make such a lamentation for him:
wherefore the name of it was called Abelmizraim, which is beyond Jordan; they changed the name of the place, and gave it another upon this occasion, which signifies the mourning of Egypt or of the Egyptians, they being the principal persons that used the outward and more affecting tokens of mourning; though the whole company might be taken for Egyptians by the Canaanites, because they came out of Egypt.And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians: wherefore the name of it was called Abelmizraim, which is beyond Jordan.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)11. Abel-mizraim] This was popularly rendered “Egypt mourns,” cf. LXX πένθος Αἰγύπτου; Lat. planctus Egypti, but its true meaning would be “the meadow of Egypt, or “of the Egyptians.” In all probability, this name recalled some incident in the days of the Egyptian sovereignty over Palestine; and, when that had faded out of recollection, the name was popularly connected with the traditional mourning of the Egyptians for Jacob, on account of the similarity in sound between ’âbêl = “field” and ’êbel = “mourning.” For other place-names beginning with Abel, cf. Abel-cheramim (Jdg 11:33), Abel of Beth-maacah (2 Samuel 20:15).
beyond Jordan] The place was identified by Jerome with “Beth-Hoglah,” the modern Ain Haglah, south of Jericho. But the identification rests on no proof. The mention of the trans-Jordanic region presents the same difficulty here as in Genesis 50:10.
12, 13 (P). And his sons] The account of Jacob’s burial, according to P, is given in these two verses. They are quite distinct from the preceding narrative, and follow directly upon Genesis 49:33. Observe that, in P, no Egyptians, but only Jacob’s sons, carried him to the burying-place of Machpelah.Verse 11. - And when (literally, and) the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they (literally, and they) said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians: wherefore the name of it was called Abel-mizraim, - i.e. the meadow (אָבֵל) of the Egyptians, with a play upon the word (אֵבֶל) mourning (Keil, Kurtz, Gerlach, Rosenmüller, &c.), if indeed the word has not been punctuated wrongly - אָבֵל instead of אֵבֶל (Kalisch), which latter reading appears to have been followed by the LXX. (πένθος Αἰγύπτου) and the Vulgate (planctus AEgypti) - which is beyond Jordan (vide supra). Genesis 50:5) signifies "to dig" (used, as in 2 Chronicles 16:14, for the preparation of a tomb), not "to buy," In the expression לי כּריתי Jacob attributes to himself as patriarch what had really been done by Abraham (Genesis 24). Joseph required the royal permission, because he wished to go beyond the border with his family and a large procession. But he did not apply directly to Pharaoh, because his deep mourning (unshaven and unadorned) prevented him from appearing in the presence of the king.
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