Exit Parallel Mode
 

Genesis 23

23
Purchase of a Burial Plot.#The occasion for purchasing the land is the need for a burial site for Sarah, for it would be unthinkable to bury Sarah outside of the promised land. One of the two great promises to Abraham, that of progeny, has been fulfilled (21:1–7). And now the promise of land is to be fulfilled, through a kind of down payment on the full possession that will take place only with the conquest under Joshua and during the reign of David. This purchase has been prepared for by Abimelech’s recognition of Abraham’s claim to the well at Beer-sheba (21:22–34). Among the ancestral stories this narrative is one of two that are entirely from the P source (chap. 17 being the other). The Priestly writers may have intended to encourage the generation of the exile to a renewed hope of repossessing their land. 1The span of Sarah’s life was one hundred and twenty-seven years. 2She died in Kiriath-arba—now Hebron—in the land of Canaan, and Abraham proceeded to mourn and weep for her. 3Then he left the side of his deceased wife and addressed the Hittites:#The Hittites: in the Bible the term is applied to several different groups—inhabitants of the second-millennium Hittite empire in Asia Minor and northern Syria, residents of the Neo-Hittite kingdoms in northern Syria in the first part of the first millennium, and (following Assyrian terminology) the inhabitants of Syria and Palestine. The third group is meant here. 4“Although I am a resident alien#A resident alien: such a one would normally not have the right to own property. The importance of Abraham’s purchase of the field in Machpelah, which is worded in technical legal terms, lies in the fact that it gave his descendants their first, though small, land rights in the country that God had promised the patriarch they would one day inherit as their own. Abraham therefore insists on purchasing the field and not receiving it as a gift. among you, sell me from your holdings a burial place, that I may bury my deceased wife.”#Gn 33:19; Acts 7:16; Heb 11:9. 5The Hittites answered Abraham: “Please, 6sir, listen to us! You are a mighty leader among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our burial sites. None of us would deny you his burial ground for the burial of your dead.” 7Abraham, however, proceeded to bow low before the people of the land, the Hittites, 8and said to them: “If you will allow me room for burial of my dead, listen to me! Intercede for me with Ephron, son of Zohar, 9so that he will sell me the cave of Machpelah that he owns; it is at the edge of his field. Let him sell it to me in your presence at its full price for a burial place.”
10Now Ephron was sitting with the Hittites. So Ephron the Hittite replied to Abraham in the hearing of the Hittites, all who entered the gate of his city: 11“Please, sir, listen to me! I give you both the field and the cave in it; in the presence of my people I give it to you. Bury your dead!” 12But Abraham, after bowing low before the people of the land, 13addressed Ephron in the hearing of these men: “If only you would please listen to me! I will pay you the price of the field. Accept it from me, that I may bury my dead there.” 14Ephron replied to Abraham, “Please, 15sir, listen to me! A piece of land worth four hundred shekels#Four hundred shekels: probably an exorbitant sum; Jeremiah (32:9) paid only seventeen shekels for his field in Anathoth, though the Babylonian invasion no doubt helped to reduce the price. of silver—what is that between you and me? Bury your dead!” 16#Acts 7:16. Abraham accepted Ephron’s terms; he weighed out to him the silver that Ephron had stipulated in the hearing of the Hittites, four hundred shekels of silver at the current market value.#The current market value: the standard weight called a shekel varied according to time and place.
17#Gn 49:29–30. Thus Ephron’s field in Machpelah, facing Mamre, together with its cave and all the trees anywhere within its limits, was conveyed 18to Abraham by purchase in the presence of the Hittites, all who entered the gate of Ephron’s city. 19After this, Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave of the field of Machpelah, facing Mamre—now Hebron—in the land of Canaan. 20Thus the field with its cave was transferred from the Hittites to Abraham as a burial place.

Genesis 23

23
1And Sara lived a hundred and twenty-seven years.
2And she died in the city of Arbee which is Hebron, in the land of Chanaan: and Abraham came to mourn and weep for her.
3And after he rose up from the funeral obsequies, he spoke to the children of Heth, saying:
4I am a stranger and sojourner among you: give me the right of a burying place with you, that I may bury my dead.
5The children of Heth answered, saying:
6My Lord, hear us: Thou art a prince of God among us. Bury thy dead in our principle sepulchres: and no man shall have power to hinder thee from burying thy dead in his sepulchre.
7Abraham rose up, and bowed down to the people of the land, to wit, the children of Heth:
8And said to them: If it please your soul that I should bury my dead, hear me, and intercede for me to Ephron the son of Seor.
9That he may give me the double cave, which he hath in the end of his field. For as much money as it is worth he shall give it me before you, for a possession of a burying place.
10Now Ephron dwelt in the midst of the children of Heth. And Ephron made answer to Abraham in the hearing of all that went in at the gate of the city, saying:
11Let it not be so, my lord, but do thou rather hearken to what I say: The field I deliver to thee, and the cave that is therein, in the presence of the children of my people, bury thy dead.
12Abraham bowed down before the people of the land,
13And he spoke to Ephron, in the presence of the people: I beseech thee to hear me. I will give money for the field. Take it, and so I will bury my dead in it.
14And Ephron answered:
15My lord, hear me. The ground which thou desirest, is worth four hundred sicles of silver. This is the price between me and thee. But what is this? Bury thy dead.
16And when Abraham had heard this, he weighed out the money that Ephron had asked, in the hearing of the children of Heth, four hundred sicles of silver of common current money.
17And the field that before was Ephron's, wherein was the double cave, looking towards Mambre, both it and the cave, and all the trees thereof in all its limits round about,
18Was made sure to Abraham for a possession, in the sight of the children of Heth, and of all that went in at the gate of his city.
19And so Abraham buried Sara his wife, in a double cave of the field, that looked towards Mambre. This is Hebron in the land of Chanaan.
20And the field was made sure to Abraham, and the cave that was in it, for a possession to bury in, by the children of Heth.