Genesis Chapter 23

Abraham has experienced great tests and trials, including the commandment to sacrifice Isaac, which he endured well. The book of Genesis continues the life of Abraham as follows:

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 Kirjath-arba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.

Sarah was greatly loved by her family. Naturally, Abraham mourned and wept for her. They had been through many years of ups and downs together and had endured them all remaining worthy of all the blessings God had promised them.

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.

Abraham was favored highly among the people of the land, even though he was not a native of the land. We know what they felt of him, because they called him a mighty prince of God. He asked for a place to bury Sarah and they offered a sepulcher to him. He asked if he could instead have a cave in the land, which he would pay full price for. They wanted to give it to him as a gift, but Abraham insisted on paying him for the land, which he did.

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.

Abraham received the field for his money and all in the land knew it was his land. Abraham buried Sarah in the cave of Machpelah. I think the thing I learn most from this chapter, is that Abraham was a man of honor and humility. Even though he was highly esteemed among this people, he knew that he should rightly pay them for the use of the land. This also meant that it could not easily be removed from Abraham and his family, if the relationship between families changed, however, I do not know this to be a reason for his purchasing it. It is always an example to me, when righteous men do not take advantage of their status. It reminds me of King Benjamin, who suffered himself to work among his people instead of living off of their labor. I am glad that we have these good examples to follow, when we live in a world which has a lot of people looking for every free thing they can get from the work of others.

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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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