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CHAPTER 23 Jan. 12 
Abraham Buys a Burial Place for Sarah
Sarah lived one hundred and twenty-seven years; this was the length of Sarah’s life. 2Sarah died in Kiriath Arba (the same is Hebron), in the land of Canaan. Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her. 3Abraham rose up from before his dead, and spoke to the children of Heth, saying, 4I am a stranger and a foreigner living with you. Give me a possession of a burying-place with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight. 5The children of Heth answered Abraham, saying to him, 6Hear us, my lord. You are a prince of God among us. Bury your dead in the best of our tombs. None of us will withhold from you his tomb. Bury your dead. 7Abraham rose up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth. 8He talked with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and entreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, 9that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he has, which is in the end of his field. For the full price let him give it to me for a possession among you of a burying-place. 10Now Ephron was sitting in the middle of the children of Heth. Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the children of Heth, even of all who went in at the gate of his city, saying, 11No, my lord, hear me. I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. In the presence of the children of my people I give it to you. Bury your dead. 12Abraham bowed himself down before the people of the land. 13He spoke to Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if you will, please hear me. I will give the price of the field. Take it from me, and I will bury my dead there. 14Ephron answered Abraham, saying to him, 15My lord, listen to me. What is a piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver between me and you? Therefore bury your dead. 
Arrangements for Inheriting the Burial Place 
16Abraham listened to Ephron. Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver which he had named in the audience of the children of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, according to the current merchants’ standard. 17So the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, the cave which was in it, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all of its borders, were deeded 18to Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all who went in at the gate of his city. 19After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre (that is, Hebron), in the land of Canaan. 20The field, and the cave that is in it, were deeded to Abraham for a possession of a burying place by the children of Heth.


23:3 Abraham was promised eternal inheritance of the land (17:8)- but he didn’t receive any of it in this life, he even had to buy a plot of land to bury his wife. This point is emphasized in the New Testament because it implies a future resurrection and eternal inheritance for Abraham (Acts 7:5; Heb. 11:13,39,40). Hence we have this laboured account of the purchase of Machpelah. Not only is the presence of the children  of Heth highlighted (23:3,5,7,10,11,12,13,16,18), but the record of Abraham's words demonstrates his appreciation that he was only passing through: “Entreat  for me to Ephron...  the cave …  which he has...  for the full price … me for a possession...amongst you  ... Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land... and the field... in all of its borders” (23:9-17 AVmg.). The mention of the borders really rubs it in. Not only was the land promised to Abraham, but he was politically more powerful than the children of Heth; he could have annexed it for himself at ease. The children of Heth were willing to giver it to him for free anyway (23:11). Yet the realization by Abraham of his present position, the humility created by faith, shines through the narrative. This earth is ours, eternally. But we like Abraham live in it as foreigners- for the moment.