And they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation, and he [Joseph] made a mourning for his father seven days.”

The account of Genesis 50:10 is the story of the death of a parent, a Patriarch who had given to his children the blessings of a nation. And it is the scene of a passionate and most beautiful reunion among lost and almost forgotten members of a great family.

Joseph and the others of his family had been in Egypt before this occasion; but at the request of Jacob, he and the other sons had taken the father back to the homeland for burial. They had left behind the “little ones and the flocks and herds,” in the land of Goshen, and Joseph, leader of the group, had taken with him “all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt.” But when at last they entered the borders of Canaan, they stopped at a level spot of ground called the threshing floor of Atad, and there together they mourned and wept.

Reunion In Bereavement

What a season of reunion, repentance, reminiscence and regret that must have been. The eventful life of Jacob had come to a quiet close. And the days of the years of his sojourning had been a hundred and thirty years. But what years! “Few and evil have been the days of my life,” he had said. Self-centeredness and regretfulness in youth, unhallowed dealings with Esau his brother, questionable business practices in later life, and that mysterious night of wrestling with the angel and meeting defeat; that reconciliation with Esau, and those ceaseless quarrels and intrigues of a large family, two mothers and the jealousies between their sons—and in all these relations, he had shown preference ...

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