What does Genesis 50:11 mean?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.'
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.
NKJV: And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, “This is a deep mourning of the Egyptians.” Therefore its name was called Abel Mizraim, which is beyond the Jordan.
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Genesis 50:1–14 begins with Joseph weeping by his father's deathbed. Jacob is embalmed and an official period of mourning is observed in Egypt. With Pharaoh's blessing and a large company of Egyptian mourners, Jacob's sons travel to Canaan. There, as requested, they bury their father in the family tomb, alongside Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob's wife Leah. Then they all return to Egypt.
Chapter Summary:
Genesis 50 begins with Joseph's weeping over his father's body, followed by the embalming of Jacob, a 70–day period of state mourning, and a trip to Canaan to bury Jacob with his fathers. Joseph's brothers, worried that he would take his revenge on them for selling him into slavery, seek Joseph's forgiveness. He assures them he will not harm them. The chapter skips to the end of Joseph's life. After assuring his people that God will return them to Canaan one day, Joseph dies and is embalmed.
Chapter Context:
After settling in Egypt, under his son's protection (Genesis 47—49), Jacob dies (Genesis 49:33). He is embalmed and all of Egypt mourns. Joseph buries his father in the family tomb in Canaan, then returns to Egypt. He asks that his body be taken back to Canaan someday. This sets up the events of the book of Exodus. Over centuries, Israel will grow into a prosperous people, only to be enslaved by a jealous Egyptian monarchy. This provides a context for God to rescue Israel and demonstrate His power.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
Accessed 5/25/2024 12:42:05 AM
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