A Daily Genesis

Genesis 23:1-10a

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 23:1-2a . . Sarah's lifetime-- the span of Sarah's life --came to one hundred and twenty-seven years. Sarah died in Kiriath-arba-- now Hebron --in the land of Canaan;[/B]

This is the only woman in the entire Old Testament for whom an age is given at the time of her death. Isaac was 37 at this point, having been born when Sarah was 90 (Gen 17:17) and Abraham was 137 since he and Sarah were ten years difference in age (Gen 17:17). She lived in Canaan with her husband for 62 years and they never once owned their own home. They moved there when he was 75 and she was 65 --and Abraham at this point has 38 years on the clock yet to go.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 23:2b . . and Abraham proceeded to mourn for Sarah and to bewail her.[/B]

Some people think it's weak and unspiritual to mourn for the dead. However; it is the very best way to let them go. People shouldn't stifle their heartbreak, nor steel themselves against it. I would rather see people get angry and withdrawn at the loss of their loved ones than to blow it off as just another passing phase of life.

Sarah had quite a life you know. She was a tough pioneer woman-- taken into the palaces of a Pharaoh and a King. And she was selected by Almighty God to be the mother of the people of Israel, and of Messiah: Israel's ultimate monarch. Sarah was also a genetic path to the seed promised Eve back in Gen 3:15. We can't just put her in the ground as if she was a commoner no different than anybody else.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 23:3a . .Then Abraham rose from beside his dead, and spoke to the Hittites,[/B]

Who is the most famous Hittite in the Old Testament? Give up? It's Uriah, Bathsheba's first husband; whom David murdered so he could have her to wife.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 23:3b-4 . . saying: I am a resident alien among you; sell me a burial site among you, that I may remove my dead for burial.[/B]

Abraham had no ancestral claim upon the land. So he had to appeal to the Hittites' sensibilities; and beg for some property. They, on the other hand, were in a straight because the land was their heritage and selling off some of their holdings would diminish the inheritances to be received by their heirs, and plus, the land would be lost forever; and to an alien yet.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 23:5b . . And the Hittites replied to Abraham, saying to him: Hear us, my lord: you are the elect of God among us.[/B]

The word for "God"-- [I]'elohiym [/I]--is not really in that verse; an editor took the liberty to insert it. And the word for "elect" is from [I]nasiy'[/I] (naw-see') which doesn't mean elect at all but means an exalted one; viz: a king or sheik. The Hittites had great respect for Abraham; and in their estimation he earned the right to a potentate's reception.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 23:5b . . Bury your dead in the choicest of our burial places; none of us will withhold his burial place from you for burying your dead.[/B]

By donating a sepulcher, instead of selling the land, the Hittites would retain ownership of the real estate and thus none would be lost to their posterity. In the future, they could pave over it for a mall, or dig up the whole thing with earth-moving machinery for a residential sub division.
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[/COLOR][B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 23:7 . .Thereupon Abraham bowed low to the people of the land, the Hittites,[/B]

How many Jews today would bow to a Hittite, or to any other Gentile for that matter? Abraham was indeed a very humble man who never let his connection to God go to his head nor give him a superiority complex. Pride and Prejudice are two of the Jews' most widely known attributes in modern times; but they didn't get it from their ancestor; that's for sure.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 23:8 . . and he said to them: If it is your wish that I remove my dead for burial, you must agree to intercede for me with Ephron son of Zohar.[/B]

The sons of Heth (who were Hittites themselves) would act as the mediator between Ephron (a fellow Hittite) and Abraham (an Eberite: thus an outsider). It was only a formality, but nonetheless, an important cultural protocol in those days.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 23:9 . . Let him sell me the cave of Machpelah that he owns, which is at the edge of his land. Let him sell it to me, at the full price, for a burial site in your midst.[/B]

The location is favorable for Ephron because it's at the edge of his property line, so Abraham won't need an easement to access the site, nor will it be an eyesore stuck out in the middle.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 23:10a . . Ephron was present among the Hittites; so Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the Hittites, all who entered the gate of his town,[/B]

Ephron didn't have to answer personally; but chose to of his own volition.

People who actually lived in a town's proper, were the upper crust-- the merchants, bankers, judges, city managers, the mayor, and like that. It was important that those "who entered the gate of his town" be involved in a decision regarding property sales because of the potential impact upon their own interests.

In those days, land owned by a clan like the Hittites defined the boundaries of their territory; and each family within a clan owned parcels of it. So when one of the families, like Ephron's for example, sold some of their parcel to a foreigner, the whole community suffered a permanent loss of territory.

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