Chapter 23

Introduction

Sarah died when she was 127 years old. Abraham was not yet the "owner" of any land to be used for the burial of Sarah. So he negotiates for some land in Canaan. He buried Sarah on this land. The rest of his family was also buried there.

Gen. 23:1-2:

Sarah died when she was 127. She died in Kirjatharba (Hebron). Abraham mourned. Sarah is the only woman in the Bible whose age, death, and burial are noted. Paul raises her to a high level for her faith and fulfilled Godís promise. She had a son, when all natural probabilities were against it, is particularly celebrated (Gal. 4:22-23; Heb. 11:11.).

Gen. 23:3-17:

Sarah died when she was 127. She died in Kirjatharba (Hebron). Abraham mourned. At this time, Abraham did not have land in Canaan. Since Abraham was not yet the "owner" of Canaan, he did not believe he had a place to bury Sarah. Scripture sounds as if Abraham asks the "children of Heth" (Hittites of Canaan) for free land. From all in scripture, Abraham did not request or expect anything free. He had the money to pay. He requested that he be allowed to purchase for a fair price a burial area (cave of Machpelah belonging to Ephron) that he would possess. The purchase is supported by modern archeological studies that say the translation for "give me" (vs. 4) should be "to pay" or "sell" to Abraham. Ephron apparently owned the land under Hittite law that is similar to a feudal systems. Ephron says he will only sell the cave with the surrounding land belonging to that cave area. Apparently, Ephron had responsibilities within the feudal system that he wished to relinquish with the cave. If he got rid of the cave only, he would still be responsible for the land. Abraham paid 400 shekels of silver.

Gen. 23:18-20:

Abraham buried Sarah. A quickly as possible burial was a necessity to remove the body out of sight so it would not be devoured by beasts of prey, or become offensive. To bury or cover it with earth was the easiest and a more natural process than burning. The sons of Heth deeded the burial site to Abraham. This area became the burial place for Sarah, Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah, and Jacob.


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