We might wonder what Sarah thought as her husband and long-awaited son left for Moriah without a sacrificial lamb (chapter 22). Did Abraham tell her what God had instructed him to do? We do not know, but this next chapter begins with the account of the death and burial of Sarah some years later.
READ GENESIS 23:1-2
How old were Abraham and Isaac when Sarah died? (see Genesis 17:17 and Genesis 21:5)
In Genesis 20:12 (“Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife.”) we learn that Sarah was the half-sister of Abraham, both of them being children of Terah, but with different mothers.
We are also told that Sarah was a beautiful woman (Genesis 12:11,14), even at an advanced age (over age 65). But Sarah’s beauty was more than skin deep. In what ways was Sarah beautiful according to 1 Peter 3:4-6?
At the time of her death, Abraham and his family were living in what would become the town of Hebron in southern Canaan.
READ GENESIS 23:3-4 阅读创23:3-4
The city of Hebron where Sarah died was in Hittite territory, which extended south of the area surrounding Jerusalem. The Hittites were a Canaanite tribe that was heavily invested in idolatry. They were one of the groups that God commanded to be wiped off the earth as judgment for generations of idolatry when the people of Israel conquered the land of Canaan. The Hittites may have originally come from northern Mesopotamia and their language may have been known by Abraham from the years that he spent in Haran. Abraham approached the leaders of the Hittites in the city gate of Hebron in an effort to buy a burial site for his wife.
READ GENESIS 23:5-20 阅读创23:5-20
Why did the Hittites make a generous offer to Abraham to give him any one of their best tombs as a burial place? (see verse 6 for a hint)
Why was it so important to Abraham that he purchase a burial site at full price rather than receive it as a gift from the Hittites?
Abraham paid what appears to be a very high price for this field and cave. 400 shekels of silver would be more than a year’s wages in today’s economy. Perhaps Ephron recognized that Abraham was a man of great wealth and could afford such a price, and the amount he quoted was an attempt to take advantage of Abraham at this time of grief when Abraham needed to act quickly. The Bible records that the prophet Jeremiah purchased a field of land for just 17 shekels of silver (Jeremiah 32:9). So the price of 400 shekels of silver seems very high.
But Abraham never hesitated to pay the large price. It is an indication of how much wealth the Lord had given to Abraham.
Today the location of the cave of Machpelah is marked by a large monument built by Herod the Great at the time of Christ. In addition to Sarah, Abraham (Genesis 25:9), Isaac (Genesis 35:27-29), Jacob (Genesis 50:13), Rebekah and Leah (Genesis 49:30-31) are all buried within this cave.