Genesis 23 Study – “The Death and Burial of Sarah” – (vv. 1-20)
Sarah’s Death and Burial
23 Sarah lived one hundred and twenty-seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. 2 So Sarah died in Kirjath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.
3 Then Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spoke to the sons of Heth, saying, 4 “I am a foreigner and a visitor among you. Give me property for a burial place among you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.”
5 And the sons of Heth answered Abraham, saying to him, 6 “Hear us, my lord: You are a [a]mighty prince among us; bury your dead in the choicest of our burial places. None of us will withhold from you his burial place, that you may bury your dead.”
7 Then Abraham stood up and bowed himself to the people of the land, the sons of Heth. 8 And he spoke with them, saying, “If it is your wish that I bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and [b]meet with Ephron the son of Zohar for me, 9 that he may give me the cave of Machpelah which he has, which is at the end of his field. Let him give it to me at the full price, as property for a burial place among you.”
10 Now Ephron dwelt among the sons of Heth; and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the presence of the sons of Heth, all who entered at the gate of his city, saying, 11 “No, my lord, hear me: I give you the field and the cave that is in it; I give it to you in the presence of the sons of my people. I give it to you. Bury your dead!”
12 Then Abraham bowed himself down before the people of the land; 13 and he spoke to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, saying, “If you will give it, please hear me. I will give you money for the field; take it from me and I will bury my dead there.”
14 And Ephron answered Abraham, saying to him, 15 “My lord, listen to me; the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver. What is that between you and me? So, bury your dead.” 16 And Abraham listened to Ephron; and Abraham weighed out the silver for Ephron which he had named in the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, currency of the merchants.
17 So the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field and the cave, which was in it, and all the trees that were in the field, which were within all the surrounding borders, were deeded 18 to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the sons of Heth, before all who 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 (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20 So the field and the cave that is in it were deeded to Abraham by the sons of Heth as property for a burial place.
Notes Genesis 23 Study – (vv. 1-20)
23:1: The days of Sarah’s life were numbered … She knew this because she was a woman of faith … She did not know when she would die, but knew she would … For she saw herself a sojourner and stranger passing through this life to the world to come – (Hebrews 11:11-16) …
11 By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she[a] bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.
The Heavenly Hope
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off [b]were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
23:4: Abraham describes himself as A SOJOURNER AND A STRANGER living in this present world … As a sojourner, he was passing through this world to the one to come – (Hebrews 11:8-10) … As a stranger, he saw himself as a foreigner in this world, which was not his true home …
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
23:8: Abraham calls Sarah MY DEAD … He does not say “my corpse”, as though Sarah’s dead body no longer had meaning and value … For he buried Sarah believing her body would be raised again from the dead …
23:19: Abraham BURIED SARAH HIS WIFE … He buried a person, for a person consist of both body and soul … It requires both natures to be a person, and at death one does not cease to be a person … Therefore, Sarah’s dead body was her dead body … It was part of her person, awaiting resurrection from the dead … In the resurrection her soul would be reunited with her body, which would then become immortal …