Have You Ever Had to Bury Someone or Something?
“And Joseph went up to bury his father and with him went up ALL the servants of pharaoh, the ELDERS of his house, and ALL the elders of the land of Egypt. And they came to the THRESHING FLOOR OF ATAD, WHICH IS BEYOND JORDAN, AND THERE THEY MOURNED WITH A GREAT AND VERY SORE LAMENTATON and he made mourning for his father 7 days.” Genesis 50:7, 10 KJV.
Atad means buckthorn in Hebrew or thorn. This type of thorn was very large and would have been planted around the threshing floor to help protect the grain from being stolen. I want you to remember the name Atad and the thorn, because it will have much meaning later on.
I have buried a lot of things in my lifetime. I have buried loved ones who have died and still it has hurt at times worse to bury friendships of the living. There are times when people just are not with us anymore. They are not part of our story any longer. Other times in life, old friends or even relatives cross our paths again.
Joseph is burying his father.
Jacob was a man whom the Bible describes as a plain man. His brother Esau, the mighty cunning hunter was the son favored by Isaac, and yet Jacob had zeal for the blessings of the Lord Adonai.
This is the Jacob that wrestled with an angel and walked with a limp afterwards. This is the man who saw a ladder going up to heaven and angels descending and ascending. A man who worked 14 years to pay the dowry price for the woman he loved. A man who had to cross paths with his brother later on in the story and hugged the neck of the one he had betrayed.
Joseph is burying his father Jacob, renamed Israel. Who are you burying? Who is in your life right now that is like Orpah, who told Naomi, “I’m going back to Moab, let Ruth go with you? Who is in your life right now who is controlling or toxic or just isn’t part of what The Father has planned for your future?
Joseph is burying his father Jacob. It is bittersweet. When Jacob stood before Pharaoh, he spoke these words.
“The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: FEW AND EVIL have the days of the years of my life been.” Genesis 47:9 KJV.
Jacob, the man whose name became the name of a nation, “Israel” is now DEAD.
All the few evil years he had lived, all the battles, even all his trickery, has led to this moment; this moment of death, where Joseph, the son he grieved as but dead, carries him to his resting place with a great mourning!
HaShem our Father sees the end of a matter. He knows Jacob’s son will save a people and contain them in a nation, where they can grow and wax greater and greater. God’s people spared from famine and brought to a land where they can multiply and then in Yahweh’s timing go forth. You will never know the battle, or the prayers, your parents, grandparents and mentors have prayed on your behalf–few and evil had his days been.
To Joseph, at first the land of Egypt looked like a curse. God might take you somewhere that looks like a curse, but is a blessing in disguise.
“Nevertheless, the LORD your God was not willing to listen to Balaam, but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you because the LORD your God loves you.” Deuteronomy 23:5.
He knows the end of a matter.
Joseph is parting with the man he loved so much. The father who made him a coat of many colors and it is bitter sweet, this parting. He arrives at Atad and again, that word means thorn.
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 Abelmizraim… Genesis 50:11 NIV.
So what is the spiritual meaning of Atad or Abelmizraim?
- D. P.—In Rabbinical Literature:
The rabbis say that both names, signifying respectively “The Mourning of Egypt” and “The Thorn Threshing-floor,” are derived from the mourning over Jacob. According to the rabbinical account the sons of Jacob had scarcely crossed the frontier at Abel-mizraim with the body of their father, when their cousins, the sons of Ishmael, Esau, and Keturah, appeared in large numbers against them, believing that the Egyptians, of whom there were many in the procession, intended to INVADE Palestine. But when they perceived Jacob’s pedestal, and Joseph’s CROWN carried behind it in state, the thirty-six princes among them sent their CROWNS also, to be carried in the funeral procession. Hence the name “Thorn Threshing-floor”; for Abel-mizraim was so encircled by a row of crowns as to remind one of a threshing-floor, which is usually surrounded by a hedge of thorns … Yes, One day we will all come together!
Threshing floors in the Bible are significant. A threshing floor is where Abraham had offered up Isaac, Jacob’s father. Solomon would build the Temple on that very same sight. It is believed Jesus/ Yeshua would die on a cross there. The threshing floor was a place of sacrifice. Sacrificing one’s personal interests or well-being for the sake of others is a rarity in this day and hour.
Jacob died. Joseph buries him–not at Atad, but in the cave were Leah, was buried. But the threshing floor is where he stopped to weep and bury him in his heart. Notice how his own family members rise up to come against him. They think the worst of him, as an invader of their land, to take over what they have staked. Their eyes were opened to their brothers and they end up laying down their crowns. Can the body of Jesus-Yeshua lay down their crowns? Can they stop coming against their brothers and sisters and realize they are family? Can they trade their thorns for peace? Can they take their positions, their titles, their thorny crowns off their heads and die at the threshing floor? Yeshua traded his crown of thorns for a Royal Crown and sat down at the right hand of the Father.
Ask yourself this question, “Who or what do you need to bury? What are you willing to sacrifice and die to for the sake of the call?
One day we will all lay our crowns at Jesus/ Yeshua’s feet, oh what a day that will be.
Father heal the hearts of those who are burying the dead, both dead and alive. Heal the hearts of your people so that they can see that it’s their brothers and sisters and not some invader. Let men and women see the beauty of the gifts in others and not feel threatened by their appearance at the threshing floor. Lord humble us to get down on our face at the threshing floor and die to self like your Son did. Let us not try to please others, but let us hear your voice, so we like Joseph can bury what we need to bury and move on for your kingdom and your glory.