Thursday, October 27, 2016

Genesis 22:20-24 to Genesis 23:1-20 comments: Abraham buys a cave to bury Sarah

22:20 ¶  And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, Behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor; 21  Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram, 22  And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel. 23  And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. 24  And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah.

Chapter 23

1 ¶  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.

    3 ¶  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 intreat 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.

Moses, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gives us information about Milcah being the mother of children by Abraham’s brother, Nahor. If you read the book of Job you will see that the writer of Job, Elihu, is a Buzite, or descendant, perhaps a grandson, of Buz. see Job 32. Of course, there may have been another person named Buz but the general time frame works for the events of the book of Job which took place in what became known as the land of Edom. Job was a Gentile, not a Hebrew.

Milcah and Nahor will be the grandparents of Rebekah, Isaac’s wife. See Genesis 24:15.

Sarah is now 127 years old. She dies in Canaan. Heth was a son of Canaan, who was cursed in the incident between Noah and Ham in Genesis 9. Heth is the father of the Hittites as we see by verse 10. Later, Uriah the Hittite will play the role of innocent victim in the story of David in 2Samuel 11.

What follows is the purchase of a cave in which to bury Sarah. Remember, when Abraham refused to take any reward from the King of Sodom in Genesis 14? Here, Abraham refuses to accept this cave without paying for it. There is a pattern here, it would seem, of not wishing to be in thrall to a person who offers you something for free. It appears to be a matter of honor. Notice David refusing to accept a place to offer a sacrifice as a gift but demanding to pay for it in 2Samuel 24. And, it may be a ritual, a custom played out where it is expected to offer something for free and it is expected to offer money for it.

One last thing, notice the custom of burying the dead out of one’s sight rather than exposing the dead to the ravage of scavengers and decay as some cultures did and still do. Also, keep in mind that in the diaspora of mankind from the building of Babel that some cultures grew to not just respect the dead but to worship the dead, their ancestors, as gods. This is the source of some god mythologies around the world. The cult of death in human history has a long tradition which will show itself in later chapters where the heathen make marks on their bodies to venerate the dead. Death itself can be worshipped as is evident by certain groups in modern society. Consider philosophies where death is to be preferred or, if not preferred, glorified like the cult of hyper-patriotism in war, abortion-on-demand, and euthanasia and examine them closely and the writings of their most vocal proponents. In the various expressions of the cult of death war, abortion, and euthanasia are sacraments almost. Beware of anyone who glorifies death without the resurrection. They will justify it by pragmatism, patriotism, sacrifice, or a matter of human rights. They will wrap it in a flag, the Constitution, humans as mere animals, reason, practicality or any number of justifications. It is Satan who wishes us to focus on death alone. That is the key to controlling our thought processes and affections, our beliefs about everything from science to how we view the end of life.  Here, Abraham wishes only to show respect for Sarah and bury her out of his sight.

1 comment:

S. Murugappan said...


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