And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad
Which was either the name of a man the owner of it, or of a place so called from the thorns and brambles which grew here, and with which the threshingfloor was surrounded, as Jarchi says, see ( Judges 9:14 ) ( Psalms 58:9 ) and it was usual to make a hedge of thorns round about a threshingfloor F15, that it might be preserved; mention is made in the Talmud F16 of the wilderness of Atad, perhaps so called from the thorns and brambles in it: Jerom says F17 it was three miles from Jericho and two from Jordan, and was in his time called Bethagla, the place of a circuit, because there they went about after the manner of mourners at the funeral of Jacob. This, according to some F18, was two hundred and forty miles from On, where Joseph was supposed to live, sixteen from Jerusalem, and forty from Hebron, where Jacob was buried: nay, Austin
F19 says it was above fifty miles from that place, as affirmed by those who well knew those parts: which is beyond Jordan;
as it was to those that came out of Egypt: and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation;
being now entered into the country where the corpse was to be interred; and perhaps they might choose to stop here and express tokens of mourning, that the inhabitants might be apprised of their design in coming, which was not to invade them and make war upon them, only to bury their dead: this mourning seems to be made chiefly by the Egyptians, which was done in an external way, and it may be by persons brought with them for that purpose; since both the name of the place after given was from their mourning there, and the mourning of Joseph is next observed as distinct from theirs: and he made a mourning for his father seven days;
which was the time of mourning, afterwards observed by the Jews, see ( 1 Samuel 31:13 ) , this Joseph ordered and observed after he had buried his father, as Aben Ezra says, is affirmed by their ancient Rabbins, and perhaps might be at this same place upon their return.
F15 T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 13. 1. & Gloss. in ib. Aruch in voc. (Nrg) fol. 39. 4.
F16 T. Hieros. Nedarim, fol. 40. 1.
F17 De locis Heb. fol. 87. G.
F18 Bunting's Travels, p. 79, 80.
F19 Quaest. is Gen. l. 1. p. 54. "inter opera ejus", tom. 4.