Genesis 23:1-18

Genesis 23:1-18

Genesis 23:1-2 – Sarah was 127 years old when she was gathered to her ancestors. Sarah is the only woman whose age and death are reported in the Scriptures. This distinction may be do to her being honored as the mother of those who are of faith (1 Peter 3:6). They had moved from Beersheba back to Hebron which was also known as Kiriat-arba, which was originally named after Arba the Anakite hero (Joshua 14:15). Abraham decided that it was appropriate for his family to be buried in the Promised Land. To date he owned no land but lived as a nomad in the land promised to him (Hebrews 11:9).

Genesis 23:3-4 -Abraham confesses to the residents of the land in Genesis 23:3 that he is a stranger and a sojourner or alien among them. This had deeper significance; the Jewish writer of the Book of Hebrews in the Newer Covenant understood the import of this statement. (Hebrews 11:13-16), Jacob confesses to Pharaoh that he was a sojourner as well in Genesis 47:9. The fathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,) did not think of Canaan as their true home, but rather heaven. It is this kind of confession that God wants us to make as well.

Genesis 23:5-18 – Ephron the Hittite offered to let him use one of their graves but Abraham wanted a tomb for Sarah and the rest of his family that would be his. He knew the place that he wanted. It contained a suitable cave for burial surrounded by trees and within sight of the trees of Mamre. Through the sons of Heth he negotiates with Ephron for the land that he owned. Abraham is recognized in the negotiations as a Amighty prince.

They contacted Ephron and the two of them began their discussions at the city gate which was the customary place for doing business. Negotiations in those days followed certain patterns. Ephron offered the land to Abraham immediately, Abraham said that he must give Ephron an appropriate gift of money in return for his gift of the land. Ephron suggested a price for what was certainly more than the land was worth. Abraham probably surprised everyone when without any haggling immediately weighed out the price in silver.

The land is then given to Abraham in the presence of the elders of the city. Immediately he goes to bury Sara. In Jewish tradition burials are to take place no more than 24 hours after death. The cave of Hebron is still very much present in the land and the source of many fights and in the not too distant past a terrible massacre by an American born Jewish physician. It is considered holy to both Jews and Arabs.

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