Genesis 23 – January 23
Welcome to our online study in Genesis. Read today’s scripture, journal on it using SOAP, then please share as we encourage one another in this one thing. Below is the NIV version of today’s reading, then below that is a SOAP from one of our study leaders. The Comments section on our website is an open forum for sharing, requesting prayer, and asking questions.
Genesis 23 – The Death of Sarah
23 Sarah lived to be a hundred and twenty-seven years old. 2 She died at Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to weep over her.
3 Then Abraham rose from beside his dead wife and spoke to the Hittites. He said, 4 “I am a foreigner and stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead.”
5 The Hittites replied to Abraham, 6 “Sir, listen to us. You are a mighty prince among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will refuse you his tomb for burying your dead.”
7 Then Abraham rose and bowed down before the people of the land, the Hittites. 8 He said to them, “If you are willing to let me bury my dead, then listen to me and intercede with Ephron son of Zohar on my behalf 9 so he will sell me the cave of Machpelah, which belongs to him and is at the end of his field. Ask him to sell it to me for the full price as a burial site among you.”
10 Ephron the Hittite was sitting among his people and he replied to Abraham in the hearing of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of his city. 11 “No, my lord,” he said. “Listen to me; I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. I give it to you in the presence of my people. Bury your dead.”
12 Again Abraham bowed down before the people of the land 13 and he said to Ephron in their hearing, “Listen to me, if you will. I will pay the price of the field. Accept it from me so I can bury my dead there.”
14 Ephron answered Abraham, 15 “Listen to me, my lord; the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver, but what is that between you and me? Bury your dead.”
16 Abraham agreed to Ephron’s terms and weighed out for him the price he had named in the hearing of the Hittites: four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weight current among the merchants.
17 So Ephron’s field in Machpelah near Mamre—both the field and the cave in it, and all the trees within the borders of the field—was deeded 18 to Abraham as his property in the presence of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of the city. 19 Afterward Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave in the field of Machpelah near Mamre (which is at Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20 So the field and the cave in it were deeded to Abraham by the Hittites as a burial site.
Giving | Rebecca Hoyt
My Bible says the specific reason for Sarah’s presence in Hebron is not stated in the text. Abraham and his family were nomadic, especially when their herds prompted movement. Sarah is distinguished as the only woman whose age at death is recorded in Scripture. The mourning rites associated with death were considered very important, and paid mourners would often be employed. The phrase “came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her” refers to Abraham as coming to prepare for her funeral. Abraham now owned property in the land promised to him for future generations. The parenthetical mention of Hebron is a typical scribal explanation added to explain to future generations the whereabouts of the site mentioned.
As Abraham was a foreigner in Hebron, it made me think about how we as Christians are foreigners on earth; this is not our home. We are just visiting until we can go home to heaven. All I have here is God’s; when someone asks for something, it’s easier to give knowing it’s God’s anyway. I want to be like the person when asked can I buy your cave; I want to say I’ll give my help and more. I was reminded of this this week; my neighbor needed to go to a funeral and asked if I could babysit I couldn’t that day but then the funeral got changed to the next day so I offered to do it then, but they’d found someone else. They were very appreciative that I asked. In this world of everyone out for themselves, it feels good to do this just to want to help.
Dear Lord, thank You for showing me that I need to look for ways to give freely of what I do have — to help others who need it and go the extra mile. Dear Lord, please help me have a heart of compassion and love for people.
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