Genesis Chapter 23
"Abraham's History (old age)."
Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's
Genesis 23:1 "And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah."
Sarah is the only woman in the Bible where her age is mentioned, and at the age of ninety years old, was blessed by giving birth to a son. Almighty God so healed her body, that her youth returned, and she was physically able to conceive, bare Isaac, and nurse the infant.
Genesis 23:2 "And Sarah died in Kirjath-arba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to morn for Sarah, and to weep for her."
"Kirjath" in the Hebrew means "a city", and "arba" means "the four giants". This land of Canaan is the land of the giants. These giants established Hebron, and it was while Abraham was in Hebron years earlier that God had made his promises to Abraham. So Abraham is living in, and amongst these Canaanites of Heth, and keep in mind the environment that is surrounding Abraham at this time.
Genesis 23:3 "And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying,"
Genesis 23:4 "I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight."
Abraham wanted to give Sarah a decent burial.
Genesis 23:5 "And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him,"
Genesis 23:6 "Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead."
This should be translated; "you are one of God's elect among us". There is a lesson here. These people are friendly, and outwardly quite loving toward Abraham, but they're "Canaanites", who are merchants. This burial place where Sarah will be placed into, and the very people buried in that site will form an "acrostic" of the very foundation of the blessings of Israel. In other words, in the use of the arrangement of letters on the original text of the verses, the initial and final letters of the words [names] will form a word and phrase with a different meaning. It is a hidden message.
In this case, Abraham knew these people whom he was dealing with. Friendship is friendship, and business is business. This was a time of great loss in Abraham's life, and these people had just offered Abraham the pick of any sepulcher in the whole land that he desired, yet, Abraham knew these people, knowing they were merchants and thus, Abraham desired to keep them at arms length. Abraham wanted to make it legal, and thus keep away from future hardship.
Had Sarah been buried in one of their tombs, without a legal deed and price paid, then in the future when trouble came between the two parties, then these giants could have raked Sarah's remains up into the dung hill, and Abraham would have had nothing to say. When dealing with Canaanites [Kenites], keep it legal, and pay the price.
Genesis 23:7 "And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth."
Genesis 23:8 "And he communed with them saying, "If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar,"
Genesis 23:9 "That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you."
This field that is at the back side of Machpelah, on land owned by Ephron, and he had a cave on it, way in the back and out of the way. Abraham said that this is the land that I have chosen, but I want to buy it at it's market value, and make it all legal.
Genesis 23:10 "And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying,"
Ephron was even in the audience with the rest of the people at that time, and heard first hand the offer that Abraham made.
Genesis 23:11 "Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give thee, and the cave that is there in, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead."
Ephron had compassion on Abraham, and immediately spoke out and said, I won't take money for it, I give it to you to bury your dead wife. This was a very good offer, with the witness of all the people. In fact it even sounds legal, but it is not. If the witnesses all turn on him, Abraham has nothing to show in the future of ownership. Remember, Abraham is a stranger, in the heathen land of the Canaanites.
More then likely they would not have turned on Abraham, but that is not the point; the transfer of land from one to another is a legal matter, and requires a business transaction, and Abraham had been around many years, and was no fool.
When we are in a like manner, we also must operate also in like fashion.
Genesis 23:12 "And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land."
Abraham was humbly requesting the people, and not bowing as you would before God. Abraham wanted to do it his way, even though in kindness the offer was made.
Genesis 23:13 "And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, "But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee; hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there."
Abraham said, I want to buy it and I want it to be in my name.
Genesis 23:14 "And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him,"
Genesis 23:15 "My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead."
Ephron is answering Abraham, and saying; Now look here, we are both rich men, and what is four hundred shekels between us. Though neither thought the money or value was any amount, however, where legality is involved, it means a great deal; it means everything.
Never be so taken in at a time of weakness, that it can be used against you at a time much later. Remember, business is business and friendship is friendship; and don't confuse the two.
Genesis 23:16 "And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he and named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant."
So before the audience, and with all of them witnessing the transaction, Abraham counted [weighed] out the the money [silver] that was used at that time for exchange.
Genesis 23:17 "And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the borders round about, were made sure."
In the Hebrew text, the word "sure" is a legal word, which means that Abraham had a clear title to the land, bought for with the cash of the day, paid for in front of witnesses, and given in writing. Abraham had the deed to the land where he buried the remains of Sarah, and Abraham knew that they would never be disturbed.
Genesis 23:18 "Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city."
The gate of the city is where all the legal process takes place; the judge sits there, and all disputes are settled there also. Today we call it "city hall" today.
Genesis 23:19 "And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan."
Though it is a land that God gave to Abraham, we will see that generations later, the Canaanites will not be there and it will become Israel. However, in Abraham's time and place, he desired peace with his neighbors, and the assurance of the lasting protection of Sarah's remains. This is why Abraham purchased the land, and took a clear title to it.
Though we are given certain assurances by God, for his elect. We must never forget that Satan carries on his rule through his Kenites, and we are to keep our presence of mind [common sense] and tend to all matters properly. Satan will entrap you with love, compassion, peace, or what ever method he can use. That is his method of operation [his MO], Satan is deceiving, and he prefers to subvert by covert means. More than likely, if war exists, it is the righteous that will carry it out. Satan will provide you many short cuts, and when you use them, you will be at Satan's mercy.
Genesis 23:20 "And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a buryingplace by the sons of Heth."
Now lets go over to Genesis 49:31; "There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah." This is Jacob speaking to Joseph, while in Egypt, and telling Joseph why he wanted his remains taken back to the land of Canaan to be buried with parents and grandparents. The acrostic from above is made up with the names of these three generations, and their wives.
The very foundation of God's promise and hope to mankind are through those who are buried that the cave at Machpelah before Mamre. It is from them that the twelve sons of Jacob will become the nation of Israel, then after the death of King Solomon, split into two nations [the houses of Israel and Judah], and ultimately spread around the world and grow to become many nations.
It is also through the seed of these people that the promised seed of Genesis 3:15 would come to bruise the head of Satan, and give eternal life to all that will repent and receive the hope through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The lesson that we can take from chapter twenty three, as we observed a time when Abraham's heart was breaking after the loss of Sarah, his wife; is that he knew that it was not right to take something that would leave him obligated to these Canaanites [Kenites]. He paid the price and obtained the deed of ownership to the burial sight. Though we may have a time of grief at the loss of a loved one, and the details may not seem important; that is the time of making things right also.
If Abraham had been a weak man, Satan could have had the opportunity to take advantage of Abraham. Satan will always hit you strongest, while you are at your weakest, but we, like Abraham, must maintain the wisdom that God gives us; not to offend people, but to do it right.
Plough .~ Seeds .~ Vine .~ Potter .~ Seasons .~ Sonshine .~ Rain .~ Field