When reading Genesis 23, I had to go a little deeper and read the footnotes offered in my Bible when it came to the “Death and Burial of Sarah.” Let’s look at the entire chapter together. Abraham had lost his beloved wife, Sarah. I can’t imagine the pain, loneliness, and sadness associated with losing one’s spouse. I know many of you can relate to the loss and going about planning the funeral/memorial service. Now came the time to find the proper burial place for Sarah. In Abraham’s day, death and burial were steeped in ritual and traditions. Failing to honor a dead person showed a lack of respect. So Abraham was being faithful to his beloved wife, trying to purchase a spot in a foreign land for Sarah. In Genesis 23 we read…
Sarah lived to be a hundred and twenty-seven years old. She died at Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to weep over her. Then Abraham rose from beside his dead wife and spoke to the Hittites. He said, “I am a foreigner and stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead.”
The asking price for the field and cave in Machpelah was 400 shekels of silver which was a high price to pay. The custom of the day was to ask double the fair market value of the land, fully expecting the buyer to offer half the stated price. But Abraham paid the initial price. He was not going to take anything he didn’t deserve. Even though God had promised the land to Abraham, he did not just take it away from Ephron.
Once again, we get to see how Abraham acts under pressure. He holds steady, maintains his cool, and keeps his faith in the Lord. Even though this is a very sad time for Abraham, he doesn’t let his emotions get the best of him. This is a great reminder for us all – trust steadily in our Lord and put your hope in Him to provide and carry your though.
Our Eternal Father, help us to be more like Abraham, trusting, confident, and faithful to You no matter what our outside circumstances may be. Help us to always be honest and trustworthy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.