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1 And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah.

2 And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.

3 And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying,

4 I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.

5 And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him,

6 Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead.

7 And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth.

8 And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar,

9 That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you.

10 And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying,

11 Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead.

12 And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land.

13 And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there.

14 And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him,

15 My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead.

16 And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant.

17 And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure

18 Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city.

19 And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan.

20 And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a buryingplace by the sons of Heth.

Commentary for Genesis 23

The death of Sarah, Abraham applies for a burying-place. (1-13) Sarah's burying-place. (14-20)1-13 The longest life must shortly come to a close. Blessed be God that there is a world where sin, death, vanity, and vexation cannot enter. Blessed be his name, that even death cannot part believers from union with Christ. Those whom we most love, yea, even our own bodies, which we so care for, must soon become loathsome lumps of clays, and be buried out of sight. How loose then should we be to all earthly attachments and adornments! Let us seek rather that our souls be adorned with heavenly graces. Abraham rendered honour and respect to the princes of Heth, although of the ungodly Canaanites. The religion of the Bible enjoins to pay due respect to all in authority, without flattering their persons, or countenancing their crimes if they are unworthy characters. And the noble generosity of these Canaanites shames and condemns the closeness, selfishness, and ill-humour of many that call themselves Israelites. It was not in pride that Abraham refused the gift, because he scorned to be beholden to Ephron; but in justice and in prudence. Abraham was able to pay for the field, and therefore would not take advantage of Ephron's generosity. Honesty, as well as honour, forbids us to take advantage of our neighbour's liberality, and to impose, upon those who give freely.

14-20 Prudence, as well as justice, directs us to be fair and open in our dealings; cheating bargains will not bear the light. Abraham, without fraud or delay, pays the money. He pays it at once in full, without keeping any part back; and by weight, current money with the merchant, without deceit. See how anciently money was used for the help of trade, and how honestly it should be paid when it is due. Though all the land of Canaan was Abraham by promise, yet the time of his possessing it not being come, what he had occasion for he bought and paid for. Dominion is not founded in grace. The saints' title to an eternal inheritance does not entitle them to the possessions of this world, nor justify them in doing wrong. Ephron honestly and fairly makes a good title to the land. As that which is bought, must be honestly paid for, so that which is sold, must be honestly delivered and secured. Let us manage our concerns with punctuality and exactness, in order to avoid contention. Abraham buried Sarah in cave. or vault, which was in the purchased field. It would tend to endear the land to his posterity. And it is worth noting, that a burying-place was the only piece of the land which Abraham possessed in Canaan. Those who have least of this earth, find a grave in it. This sepulchre was at the end of the field; whatever our possessions are, there is a burial-place at the end of them. It was a token of his belief and expectation of the resurrection. Abraham is contented to be still a pilgrim while he lives, but secures a place where, when he dies, his flesh may rest in hope. After all, the chief concern is, with whom we shall rise.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Genesis 23

  • Irene123
    Ps. 90:10 - this Psalm was written by Moses; he had nothing to do with Gentiles as a whole (only a very few that recognized the God of Israel and were accepted); the ages are spoken of for God's people - of which the few Gentiles were counted as. The same for ch. 91.
  • Reginald Woodbridge
    Abraham was a man who practiced faithfullness.he honoured his wife who also is mentioned in Hebrews11.He set an example that The Son Isaac honoured Genesis25 8-10 burying Abraham with his wife.Today it is an Islaamic holy place no christian or Jew is permitted there.Christians .Jews and Islaamic all belive the promise to Abraham was for them.God in the new testament declares the blessing of Abraham was through the faithseed..Christ..see Galatians3 16
  • Reginald Woodbridge
    The ages of people started to drop after the flood....probably due to the water above the firmanent being removed as it protected man from the suns rays.also God said mans days would be 120 years.which i believe is the lifespan he gave after the flood.psalm90;10 is for a backslidden people[only reference in bible]..psalm91;16 for obedient. [many refs].Sara lived a lifespan in line with my comments
  • Jane
    Compared how long people lived in their days note that sarah did early at 127yrs. Why?
  • Colby N. Shu
    God is honored when we behave in a christlike manner after the death of a dear one!
  • Joseph
    The lesson i learnt from the life of Abraham in this Chapter is not to take anything for granted when you are making any purchase like land, property, car etc. Make sure you get a clean verifiable, authenticated receipt so there is no dispute in the future. The tendency is to forget collecting a receipt from the seller who is very familiar or close to you. Our Spirituality does not mean we should forsake good common sense in our daily transactions. Abraham was very rich but was not a money waster who spent foolishly. He must have been a good saver and prudent in his spending. This is food for thought.
  • OWEN KHUPE for verse 3
    It is giving us a type of Christ in Abraham. Christ will come to a place where he will now change the image of his bride the church and bury the old, just as Abraham buried Sarah his wife. Christ's action will not be opposed even by people who are earthly as opposed to heavenly people. They will even recognize him as the Prince and Lord on that day. His power will prove unmatched by the Devil's power.The people at Mamre succumbed to Abraham's request as a stranger.
  • Enoch
    Abraham who walked away from his kingdom trusting the word of GOD, has become a "mighty prince" as said by the inhabitants of kirjath-arba. Follow the word of GOD and be followed by blessing.

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Bible Trivia

How old was Sara when she died?
  • 100
  • 95
  • 99
  • 127
  • 120