Genesis 23

Genesis 23 talks of Sarah’s death.  She dies at age 127 and leaves Abraham behind.  They are living in the land of the Hittites and have no property, so Abraham goes to the people and asks for a burial plot to place Sarah into.  The answer tells us about Abraham’s reputation in this foreign land.  “You are a prince of God among us”.  So here we have a foreigner living and creating a reputation of being a man of God through how he lived.  And that continues through the process of burial for Sarah.

The Hittites tell Abraham that he can have any tomb he wishes.  And he does have one in mind – a cave owned by Ephron at the end of his field.  But Abraham doesn’t want it as a gift – he insists on paying for it.  So we see some negotiations here as the people try to give it to Abraham but he insists on paying for it.  The price that is decided upon is 400 shekels of silver.  Ephron tells him to forget it, but Abraham insists and weights out the silver.  He is not willing to bury her without rightfully owning the land.

The transaction occurs and Abraham does it in the presence of many witnesses.  He does not leave things to chance or hearsay.  He makes sure everyone knows he has paid the price.  And then the buries Sarah in the cave there.  They had been transferred to Abraham through the transaction with Ephron. Why the big deal here.  Abraham’s wife is dead and they offered him any choice of a tomb but he refused to receive it without paying.  Remember hs is a foreigner and didn’t want this to come back on him someday. 

So he does the prudent thing and makes sure there is a transaction that gives him rightful ownership before burial.  He does what is needed to protect his integrity and character before the people.  A great lesson to learn here – be careful to do all that is required to guard your reputation.  We only get one shot at that.  If we mess it up it takes years to recover and in some cases – it can never be regained. How is your reputation?  Do people see you as ‘a prince of God’ by the way you live?

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Brad Kowerchuk on June 27, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Abraham was a man of great faith, yet he wept openly at Sarah’s death. How do we know this was not a sign of a lack of faith, and how does Abraham’s example show us that expressing grief at the loss of a loved one is appropriate?


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