Avel MItsrayim

אבל מצרים

"Meadow of the Egyptians", in Genesis 50:11. A threshing-floor near the river Yarden (Jordan), which was previously known as the threshing-floor of Atad; the place where Yoseph and his Egyptian entourage stopped en route to Kena'an to mourn for Ya'akov.

Other "meadows" are known, as for example Avel Beyt Ma'achah (אבל בית מעכה), also known as Avel Mayim (אבל מים) "the meadow of water" (2 Samuel 20:14); Avel Ha-Shittim (אבל השטים), "the meadow of acacias" on the plains of Mo-Av (Numbers 33:49); Avel-Keramim (אבל כרמים), "the meadow of the vineyards", in Ammonite territory (Judges 11:33); Avel Mecholah (אבל מחולה), "the meadow of dancing", the village in Yissachar where Eli-Sha the prophet was born (Judges 7:22); and others. In each case we can presume that by meadow is meant "a burial-ground", probably associated with megalithic dolmen-barrows. This would explain why the word Evel (אבל), which is written the same without the nekudot, means "mourning"; and it thus makes much more sense to translate Avel Mitsrayim as "the mourning-place of the Egyptians" and to locate it at Atad, rather than attempting an irrelevant re-naming. 

The term Ovel is still used today to describe a person in mourning and Avalut as the act of mourning. We can also guess that, despite legends placing Ya'akov's burial-place alongside the other patriarchs in the Cave of Machpelah, he was most likely buried at Atad, since it is implausible that seven days of mourning would have taken place before the burial, or here if the burial were elsewhere.

The use of the threshing-floor as a place of mourning and place of burial links Ya'akov, and more particularly Yoseph, to the corn-god, who would have been threshed on such a floor, and being Egyptian specifically to Osher (Osiris). 

Gnostic/Egyptian legends of Jesus have him born on a threshing-floor in Beit-Lechem, which is not strange since Beit Lechem means "the house of bread", the form in which the corn-god is eaten - fully Beit Lechem Ephratah, the Shrine of the Corn-God of the Euphrates. 

King David purchased the threshing-floor of Ornah (or Araunah) as the site upon which Shlomo would build the Temple.

Copyright © 2015 David Prashker
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The Argaman Press

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