2. JACOB’S FUNERAL 7-14 a. We have details. What is surprising about the record of Jacob’s funeral is that there is a record at all. How many of the patriarchs have we read that they died and were gathered to their people. We have no explanation of where they were laid or in what manner. How did they mourn when Abel died? What did they do when the first human Adam died? What was the process of mourning when Noah was gathered to his people? We don’t know. But here, at the death of Jacob, Moses records the mourning process of Jacob, of Israel. Interestingly, even the description of the death of the kings of Israel was usually only met with one sentence. b. A state funeral. We would expect that Joseph’s family, his brothers, and Jacob’s household would all go to the funeral of Jacob. And yet, not only did the family go up but also the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt. This is surprising because, as we have read earlier in the book, the Egyptians would not eat with the Hebrews and looked down upon them. But here, at the death of Joseph’s father, they would overlook this and would join the funeral procession along with their chariots and horsemen. They traveled up from Egypt and arrived at the threshing floor of Atad, which was beyond the Jordan which commonly means it was on the east side of the Jordan River. Moses says that it was a very great company of people which is reflected in the fact that the Canaanites took notice. This reminds me of a time when I was going to O’Hare one day and three police cars came from an on-ramp and stopped right in front of me. Little did I know that I was in the front row to watch a funeral procession for a fallen Chicago police officer. Needless to say, I put the car in park and was able to relax for a while in the middle of the highway as car after car passed. I had no choice but to take notice of the funeral. The same happens here. c. A time of historic mourning. At the threshing floor of Atad, they lamented with a very great and grievous lamentation for seven days. This burial service was so great that the Canaanites commented, “This is a grievous mourning by the Egyptians.” Does it strike you as it does me that the Canaanites, the people of whom Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had sojourned all these years did not join in the mourning of Jacob, but it was the Egyptians with whom Jacob lived only 17 years? The Canaanites do recognize the significance of the event, however, and name the place Abel-mizraim which is a wordplay that could mean either meadow of Egypt or mourning of Egypt depending on which vowels are used. The Egyptians stay there while Joseph and his brothers carried Jacob’s body to Machpelah and buried him. Then the company returns to Egypt.