11 “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. 12 Thus his sons did for him as he had commanded them, 13 for his sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. 14 After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.” (Genesis 50:11–14 (ESV)
How often to you consider the impact of a single life when watching a funeral procession traveling down the road in route to a cemetery? If there are a few cars in the procession you may think the deceased had a limited impact upon the people they knew. However, a long procession is often regarded as a testimony that the deceased was dearly loved and had impacted many people.
Jacob’s burial did not go unnoticed by the inhabitants of Canaan. The Canaanites saw the mourning which took place and remarked that it was a heavy and burdensome mourning ceremony. That is why they called the place where this burial occurred as Abel-mizraim meaning a meadow of Egypt east of the Jordan River.
In death, much more so than in life, Jacob’s sons were obedient to him and fulfilled his commands for his burial. He was buried in the cave of the field at Machpelah. This was the field which Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham, bought from Ephron the Hittite (Gen. 23:10-20). As can be the case with large families, this family’s traditions reach back several generations.
One author writes, “The death of a believer provides us with a good opportunity to reaffirm our belief in the resurrection of the dead. Though we properly grieve the loss of a loved one because we no longer have fellowship with him on earth, we should also be joyful, because we know that our separation will only be temporary and that those who die in Christ have certainly passed into new life. Do what you can to encourage other believers to rejoice in Christ when Christians die.”
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!