Genesis 23


Verse 1,2 - The death and burial of Sarah.  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.

I.    Sarah is the only woman in the Bible whose age and death are reported.

A.     The genealogy always goes through the men.

B.     This scripture doesn't change this fact.

C.     This scripture shows us the importance of Sarah.


II.    Sarah is 127 years old.

A.     It has been 37 years since Isaac was born (Compare 17:17 and 21:5).

B.     Gen. 17:17 - Sarah was considered old at 90, yet lived another 37 years.

C.     24:1 - Abraham is considered old at 137 years old, yet lived another 38 years.


III.    Died at Hebron (means company or fellowship).

A.     Abraham and Sarah had either separated or both had moved to Hebron (since 22:19, when they lived at Beersheba).

1.       I don't think they had separated.

2.       Later it is common for husband and wife to dwell in separate houses.  This is not the case here.

3.       Gen. 35:27 - Abraham and Isaac sojourned there.  (Not Sarah, for she died there.)

4.       Gen. 37:14 - This will continue to be their dwelling place for some time.  Jacob was living in Hebron when Joseph was sold into bondage.

5.       Gen. 46:1 - As Jacob leaves Hebron heading for Egypt, he stops off at Beersheba and offers sacrifices to God.


IV.    Mourning for Sarah.

A.     Came -

1.       For the purpose of mourning.

2.       This is a good, healthful thing to do.

3.       I Thess. 4:13 - Let not "over sorrow" as lost people do.

4.       Weep - Abraham's mourning is more than putting on an act, but sorrow from his heart.

B.     Note: Verse 3 - Abraham "stood up".

1.       This shows that there is a time to mourn and weep for dead loved ones.

2.       There is a time to cease mourning and weeping and take care of the necessary affairs.

3.       In our mourning and weeping, let us not lose control of our bodies, or our minds, or our emotions.


Verse 3-20 - The purchase of a burying place.  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 entreat 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.

I.    Stranger and a sojourner.

A.     Even in the sorrows of losing a loved one, there is opportunity to witness to God's purpose in our life.

1.       Abraham stands before the people with a need they can help him in.

2.       Everybody will know why Abraham has need of a burial place.

a.      Not just because of Sarah's death.

b.      But because God has a special purpose in his life.

3.       Everybody will know God has a special purpose in Abraham and will respect God and Abraham even more.

B.     Gen. 15:3 - Talking about the time between the promise given to Abraham and Israel actually possessing the promised land.

C.     Heb 11:9 - Abraham did that which God commanded.

1.       We ought to obey all the commands of God, whether they are to be done immediately, or to be done the rest of our lives.

2.       Sometimes to continue doing God's commands is very discouraging for there is no recognition, but in the end it yields the peaceable fruits of peace and righteousness.

D.     Acts 7:5 - Abraham had bought no land for any purpose.

1.       Now he will buy land for burial - a necessary thing.

2.       How much happier we would be if we would buy only those necessary things, letting God supply our needs.

3.       Much of the time, we worry so much about what we need before we need it.

a.      God will supply it when it is needed.

b.      Let us have faith in God.


II.    Bury the dead out of my sight.

A.     There is a time to bury the dead out of our sight.

1.       Hanging on to the body, as the Egyptians did is to forget the life in the body.

2.       The body without life soon begins to decay and stink.  It's good to put such out of our sight.

B.     Abraham was offered his choice of burying places.  He was a prince (a mighty man).  It would be a privilege for him to use a burial place.

C.     Verse 8 - If "it's okay with them" to bury my dead.

1.       They could have forced Abraham to return to Ur of the Chaldees to bury Sarah.

2.       then you people talk to Ephron for me.

a.      Perhaps Abraham wasn't close friends with Ephron.

b.      To purchase the case of Machpelah, which is in the end of his field.  (Ephron's fields wouldn't be broken up by selling this land.)

c.      I'll pay what it's worth.


III.    Ephron's generosity.

A.     He spoke in hearing of witnesses.  He is bound by what he says he will do.

B.     It is good for us to be generous to those in distress and give what they don't have, but need - Even if they have the money to purchase it.

C.     We need to remember that God has freely given to us and we ought to freely give to others.

D.     God has given us over and above our needs, so it don't hurt us to give over and above someone else's needs.


IV.    Abraham's desire to pay.

A.     If we are able to pay, we ought to pay.

B.     If we are able to pay and ask somebody for something they own, we ought to pay the market value of it.

C.     A different subject is: If someone offers us something simply because God has laid it on their hearts, we don't feel obligated to pay them for it.  We didn't ask for it, they freely gave it.