Genesis 50:11
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.
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(11) 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.

50:7-14 Jacob's body was attended, not only by his own family, but by the great men of Egypt. Now that they were better acquainted with the Hebrews, they began to respect them. Professors of religion should endeavour by wisdom and love to remove the prejudices many have against them. Standers-by took notice of it as a grievous mourning. The death of good men is a loss to any place, and ought to be greatly lamented.The funeral procession is now described. "All the servants of Pharaoh." The highest honor is conferred on Jacob for Joseph's sake. "The elders of Pharaoh, and all the elders of the land of Mizraim." The court and state officials are here separately specified. "All the house." Not only the heads, but all the sons and servants that are able to go. Chariots and horsemen accompany them as a guard on the way. "The threshing-floor of Atari, or of the buck-thorn." This is said to be beyond Jordan. Deterred, probably, by some difficulty in the direct route, they seem to have gone round by the east side of the Salt Sea. "A mourning of seven days." This is a last sad farewell to the departed patriarch. Abel-Mizraim. This name, like many in the East, has a double meaning. The word Abel no doubt at first meant mourning, though the name would be used by many, ignorant of its origin, in the sense of a meadow. "His sons carried him." The main body of the procession seems to have halted beyond the Jordan, and awaited the return of the immediate relatives, who conveyed the body to its last resting-place. The whole company then returned together to Egypt.10. they came to the threshing-floor of Atad, &c.—"Atad" may be taken as a common noun, signifying "the plain of the thorn bushes." It was on the border between Egypt and Canaan; and as the last opportunity of indulging grief was always the most violent, the Egyptians made a prolonged halt at this spot, while the family of Jacob probably proceeded by themselves to the place of sepulture. No text from Poole on this verse.

And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites,.... Who were at this time in the possession of the country where the threshingfloor of Atad was: when they

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.
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 50:11Thus they came to Goren Atad beyond the Jordan, as the procession did not take the shortest route by Gaza through the country of the Philistines, probably because so large a procession with a military escort was likely to meet with difficulties there, but went round by the Dead Sea. There, on the border of Canaan, a great mourning and funeral ceremony was kept up for seven days, from which the Canaanites, who watched it from Canaan, gave the place the name of Abel-mizraim, i.e., meadow (אבל with a play upon אבל mourning) of the Egyptians. The situation of Goren Atad (the buck-thorn floor), or Abel-mizraim, has not been discovered. According to Genesis 50:11, it was on the other side, i.e., the eastern side, of the Jordan. This is put beyond all doubt by Genesis 50:12, where the sons of Jacob are said to have carried the corpse into the land of Canaan (the land on this side) after the mourning at Goren Atad.

(Note: Consequently the statement of Jerome in the Onam. s. v. Area Atad - "locus trans Jordanem, in quo planxerunt quondam Jacob, tertio ab Jerico lapide, duobus millibus ab Jordane, qui nunc vocatur Bethagla, quod interpretatur locus gyri, eo quod ibi more plangentium circumierint in funere Jacob" - is wrong. Beth Agla cannot be the same as Goren Atad, if only because of the distances given by Jerome from Jericho and the Jordan. They do not harmonize at all with his trans Jordanem, which is probably taken from this passage, but point to a place on this side of the Jordan; but still more, because Beth Hagla was on the frontier of Benjamin towards Judah (Joshua 15:6; Joshua 18:19), and its name has been retained in the fountain and tower of Hajla, an hour and a quarter to the S.E. of Riha (Jericho), and three-quarters of an hour from the Jordan, by which the site of the ancient Beth Hagla is certainly determined. (Vid., Robinson, Pal., ii. p. 268ff.))

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