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Genesis 23

23
Death and Burial of Sarah
1Sarah lived a hundred and twenty-seven years; this was the length of the life of Sarah. 2Sarah died in Kiriath-arba #This comment indicates that the text was written at a very early date, before Israel entered the promised land, because afterward Hebron was well known. Not only was it conspicuous in Joshua’s and Caleb’s day, but it became a “city of refuge.” Besides all this, David was king in Hebron for seven years.(that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. 3Then Abraham stood up before his dead [wife’s body], and spoke to the #The Hittites, along with the Egyptians and the Assyrians, were among the great powers in the ancient Middle East. They were famous for their fine horses, many of which were acquired by Solomon through trade. They also discovered and held secret the process of smelting iron when iron was treasured almost as much as gold. These Hittites were of Indo-European origin. The relationship, if any, between these Anatolian Hittites and the descendants of Canaan’s son, Heth, is unclear.sons of Heth (Hittites), saying, 4“I am a stranger and a sojourner (resident alien) among you; give (sell) me property for a burial place among you so that I may bury my dead [in the proper manner].” 5The Hittites replied to Abraham, 6“Listen to us, my lord; you are a prince of God [a mighty prince] among us; bury your dead in the choicest of our graves; none of us will refuse you his grave or hinder you from burying your dead [wife].” 7So Abraham stood up and bowed to the people of the land, the Hittites. 8And Abraham said to them, “If you are willing to grant my dead a [proper] burial, listen to me, and plead with Ephron the son of Zohar for me, 9so that he may give (sell) me the cave of Machpelah which he owns—it is at the end of his field; let him give it to me here in your presence for the full price as a burial site [which I may keep forever among you].” 10Now Ephron was present there among the sons of Heth; so within the hearing of all the sons of Heth and all who were entering the gate of his city, Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham, saying, 11“No, my lord, hear me; I #This was not an offer to give the land to Abraham as a gift, but part of the negotiating process of the time.give you the [entire] field, and I also give you the cave that is in it. In the presence of the men of my people I give (sell) it to you; bury your dead [there].” 12Then Abraham bowed down before the people of the land. 13He said to Ephron in the presence of the people of the land, “If you will only please listen to me and accept my offer. I will give you the price of the field; accept it from me and I will bury my dead there.” 14Ephron replied to Abraham, 15“My lord, listen to me. The land [you seek] is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that between you and me? So bury your dead.” 16So Abraham listened to Ephron [and agreed to his terms]; and he weighed out for Ephron the [amount of] silver which he had named in the hearing of the Hittites: four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weights current among the merchants.
17So the field of Ephron in Machpelah, which was to the east of Mamre (Hebron)—the field and the cave which was in it, and all the trees that were in the field and in all its borders around it—were deeded over [legally] 18to Abraham as his possession in the presence of the Hittites, before all who were entering at the gate of his city. 19After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of #Here were buried Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Leah (Gen 49:31; 50:13).Machpelah to the east of Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20The field and the cave in it were deeded over to Abraham by the Hittites as a [permanent] possession and burial place.
23
Sarah’s Death
1Sarah lived to be 127 years old. This was the length of her life. 2She died in Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in Canaan. Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to cry about her death.
3Then Abraham left the side of his dead wife and spoke to the Hittites, 4“I’m a stranger with no permanent home. Let me have some of your property for a tomb so that I can bury my dead wife.”
5The Hittites answered Abraham, 6“Listen to us, sir. You are a mighty leader among us. Bury your dead in one of our best tombs. Not one of us will withhold from you his tomb for burying your dead.”
7Abraham got up in front of the Hittites, the people of that region, and bowed with his face touching the ground. 8He said to them, “If you are willing to let me bury my wife, listen to me. Encourage Ephron, son of Zohar, 9to let me have the cave of Machpelah that he owns at the end of his field. He should sell it to me for its full price as my property to be used as a tomb among you.”
10Ephron was sitting among the Hittites. He answered Abraham so that everyone who was entering the city gate could hear him. He said, 11“No, sir, listen to me. I’m giving you the field together with the cave that is in it. My people are witnesses that I’m giving it to you. Bury your wife!”
12Abraham bowed down again in front of the people of that region. 13He spoke to Ephron so that the people of that region could hear him. He said, “If you would only listen to me. I will pay you the price of the field. Take it from me so that I can bury my wife there.”
14Ephron answered Abraham, 15“Sir, listen to me. The land is worth ten pounds of silver. What is that between us? Bury your wife!”
16Abraham agreed to Ephron’s terms. So he weighed out for Ephron the amount stated in front of the Hittites: ten pounds of silver at the current merchants’ exchange rate.
17So Ephron’s field at Machpelah, east of Mamre, was sold 18to Abraham. His property included the field with the cave in it as well as all the trees inside the boundaries of the field.#23:18 The last part of verse 17 (in Hebrew) has been placed in verse 18 to express the complex Hebrew sentence structure more clearly in English. The Hittites together with all who had entered the city gate were the official witnesses for the agreement.
19After this, Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave in the field of Machpelah, east of Mamre (that is, Hebron). 20So the field and its cave were sold by the Hittites to Abraham as his property to be used as a tomb.