This is the first time that Torah says “the life of Sarah” and did not say “and she lived so many years, and died.” Sarah was Abraham’s woman for 87 years; and she bore Isaac for him when she was 90 years of age. Sarah was a woman of worth who taught other women to do the same!
Sarah lived one hundred and twenty-seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. (Gen 23:1)
So many folks treat the people in Torah like they are different from us; like the lives they lived have no application for our own. I fear this is a grievous mistake and this portion of scripture (Genesis 23 and 24) really drives that fact home for me. Abraham and his camp did things that every one of us does; birthed children, fought enemies, married, bought land, buried their loved ones and so much more.
That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new?” It has already been in ancient times before us. (Ecc 1:9-10)
Nothing has changed!
Now that Sarah has passed Abraham wants to bury her in a very special place so he buys a field that has a machpelah (or double roomed) cave.
Machpelah means double portion; Abraham seems to have bought a cave with two rooms in it. One part for initial decay and the other part had boxes, or ossuaries, stacked with the bones of their ancestors. Abraham paid a premium price for the land and this special cave. The transfer of this land was completed with 4 witnesses to guarantee that Abraham’s descendants would have it perpetually. Here is the portion from Yasher that describes the “escrow” process that was used in the transfer of this land from Heth’s sons to Abraham and his seed forever.
Yasher 24:6 And Ephron answered and said, Behold the field and the cave are before thee, give whatever thou desires; and Abraham said, Only at full value will I buy it from thy hand, and from the hands of those that go in at the gate of thy city, and from the hand of thy seed for ever.
7 And Ephron and all his brethren heard this, and Abraham weighed to Ephron four hundred shekels of silver in the hands of Ephron and in the hands of all his brethren; and Abraham wrote this transaction, and he wrote it and testified it with four witnesses.
8 And these are the names of the witnesses, Amigal son of Abishna the Hittite, Adichorom son of Ashunach the Hivite, Abdon son of Achiram the Gomerite, Bakdil the son of Abudish the Zidonite.
9 And Abraham took the book of the purchase, and placed it in his treasures, and these are the words that Abraham wrote in the book, namely:
10 That the cave and the field Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite, and from his seed, and from those that go out of his city, and from their seed for ever, are to be a purchase to Abraham and to his seed and to those that go forth from his loins, for a possession of a burial-place for ever; and he put a signet to it and testified it with witnesses.
11 And the field and the cave that was in it and all that place were made sure unto Abraham and unto his seed after him, from Heth’s sons; behold it is before Mamre in Hebron, which is in the land of Canaan.
Abraham bought the property from the Gentiles (Heth’s sons) using the currency of the land in which he dwelt. He used their sons as witnesses to this transaction so there could be no dispute.
Abraham was loved and greatly respected by his neighbors; even Abimelech and the eldest and most respected leaders of the land came to Sarah’s funeral.
Yasher 24:13 And Abraham buried Sarah with pomp as observed as the interment of kings, and she was buried in very fine and beautiful garments.
14 And at her bier was Shem, his son Eber and Abimelech: together with Anar, Ashcol and Mamre, and all the grandees of the land followed her bier.
A Bride for Isaac
After Sarah died Abraham sent Isaac to live with Shem and Eber for 3 years and then sent Eliezer to Haran to find a bride for Isaac. In this teaching I cover the Genesis record of this event; a very touching story.
2G28 Genesis 23 & Jasher 23-24:17
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