Genesis 50:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 50:11, NIV: When the Canaanites who lived there saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, 'The Egyptians are holding a solemn ceremony of mourning.' That is why that place near the Jordan is called Abel Mizraim.

Genesis 50:11, ESV: When the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning on the threshing floor of Atad, they said, “This is a grievous mourning by the Egyptians.” Therefore the place was named Abel-mizraim; it is beyond the Jordan.

Genesis 50:11, KJV: 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.

Genesis 50:11, NASB: Now when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, 'This is a grievous mourning for the Egyptians.' Therefore it was named Abel-mizraim, which is beyond the Jordan.

Genesis 50:11, NLT: The local residents, the Canaanites, watched them mourning at the threshing floor of Atad. Then they renamed that place (which is near the Jordan) Abel-mizraim, for they said, 'This is a place of deep mourning for these Egyptians.'

Genesis 50:11, CSB: When the Canaanite inhabitants of the land saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, "This is a solemn mourning on the part of the Egyptians." Therefore the place is named Abel-mizraim. It is across the Jordan.

What does Genesis 50:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Clearly, this was a strange sight to see for the local people of the region. The news would have spread quickly: a large company of Egyptians arrived at the threshing flood of Atad—likely a large flat meadow—with an armed escort of horsemen and chariots. There, they have been mourning—with great emotion and ceremony—for a week (Genesis 50:7–10). The locals may never have known that the loud, wealthy, Egyptian group was there to honor a Canaanite patriarch of a clan of Hebrews (Genesis 49:33).

Whether they knew the exact reasons or not, the event was significant enough to earn the place a new name: 'ābēl' Misra'im. The root word 'abel means "meadow," and variations on Mizraim are references to Egypt. There is wordplay involved, however, since the rhyming word 'ebel refers to mourning. Paraphrased, the text says "the Canaanites saw the 'ebel…they said, 'this is grievous 'ebel'…therefore it was named 'Abel-Mizraim." This is not unlike how, in English, the terms "morning" and "mourning" are almost identical.