Scriptures

Genesis 23

Introduction

‘Sarah lived to be a hundred and twenty-seven years old. She died at Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to weep over her.’ Genesis 23:1-2

In this chapter we read about the death of Sarah and Abraham mourning his loss. Sarah died at 127 years old and she is the only woman in the Scriptures who has her age of death recorded. There’s no doubt that Sarah was a godly woman, Isaiah 51:1-2 / 1 Peter 3:3-6 and a very important woman from which we can learn much.

Abraham went Hebron with the purpose to mourn for her, their relationship had come to an end, 1 Thessalonians 4:13. Abraham wasn’t afraid to mourn because he mourned with hope. Death is a reminder that sin is in the world and that’s another reason why we mourn.

‘Then Abraham rose from beside his dead wife and spoke to the Hittites. He said, ‘I am a foreigner and stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead.’ The Hittites replied to Abraham, ‘Sir, listen to us. You are a mighty prince among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will refuse you his tomb for burying your dead.’ Then Abraham rose and bowed down before the people of the land, the Hittites. He said to them, ‘If you are willing to let me bury my dead, then listen to me and intercede with Ephron son of Zohar on my behalf so he will sell me the cave of Machpelah, which belongs to him and is at the end of his field.Ask him to sell it to me for the full price as a burial site among you.’ Ephron the Hittite was sitting among his people and he replied to Abraham in the hearing of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of his city. ‘No, my lord,’ he said. ‘Listen to me; I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. I give it to you in the presence of my people. Bury your dead.’ Again, Abraham bowed down before the people of the land and he said to Ephron in their hearing, ‘Listen to me, if you will. I will pay the price of the field. Accept it from me so I can bury my dead there.’ Ephron answered Abraham, ‘Listen to me, my lord; the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver, but what is that between you and me? Bury your dead.’ Abraham agreed to Ephron’s terms and weighed out for him the price he had named in the hearing of the Hittites: four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weight current among the merchants.’ Genesis 23:3-16

The Hittites

The Hittites play an important role at key places in the Scriptures. As we have just read it was Ephron the Hittite sells Abraham the family burial ground. Esau married Hittite women, and Rebecca despised them, Genesis 26:34, frequently they are listed as one of the inhabitants of Canaan, Exodus 13:5 / Numbers 13:29 / Joshua 11:3.

King David had Uriah the Hittite killed in order to acquire Uriah’s wife, 2 Samuel 11. King Solomon had Hittites among his many wives, 1 Kings 10:29-11:2 / 2 Chronicles 1:17, and the prophet Ezekiel degrades Israel with the metaphor of a Hittite mother, Ezekiel 16:3 / Ezekiel 16:45.

The reputation of Abraham among the Hittites was notable as they offered Abraham to bury Sarah wherever he chose, free of charge. Abraham, though grateful, isn’t willing to take up the offer as his respect for Sarah was too great.

The earth to Abraham was just a temporary place and so there was a negotiation for land. Abraham was bargaining for the land which was the way business was done in those days. He purchased the burial site and so only took possession of the only part of the Promised Land he would have in his lifetime.

Through the mediation of the Hittites,a cave was purchased from Ephron, the son of Zohar, for what seemed to be a rather large amount of money.

‘So, Ephron’s field in Machpelah near Mamre—both the field and the cave in it, and all the trees within the borders of the field—was deeded to Abraham as his property in the presence of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of the city. Afterward Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave in the field of Machpelah near Mamre (which is at Hebron) in the land of Canaan. So, the field and the cave in it were deeded to Abraham by the Hittites as a burial site.’ Genesis 23:17-20

Abraham buys the land to bury Sarah although he already had the land as given by God in the promise. Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah and Joseph were all buried there.

Sarah

Yes, Sarah had her weaknesses as we all do and at times, she doubted God. She had trouble believing God would fulfil his promises, so she went ahead to solve the problem herself.

Sarah also had her strengths, there’s no doubt that Sarah was loyal to Abraham which resulted in her sharing in his blessings. She became the mother of the nation of Israel. Yes, she struggled in her faith, but her faith can’t go unnoticed as she is the first woman mentioned in Hebrews 11:11.

She is the only woman in the Scriptures whose name was changed, Sarai to Sarah, Genesis 15:17-22. Sarah’s obedience to her husband Abraham is a prime example for Christian woman. Even when Abraham passed her off as his sister, which landed her in Pharaoh’s harem, she didn’t object.

Sarah was protective of Isaac and loved him deeply and the Scriptures tells us that she was exceedingly beautiful in appearance, Genesis 12:11 / Genesis 12:14 but her real beauty was seen in the inside, 1 Peter 3:3-6.

Go To Genesis 24

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

2 Corinthians 5:17

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