|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
23:1-13 The longest life must shortly come to a close. Blessed be God that there is a world where sin, death, vanity, and vexation cannot enter. Blessed be his name, that even death cannot part believers from union with Christ. Those whom we most love, yea, even our own bodies, which we so care for, must soon become loathsome lumps of clays, and be buried out of sight. How loose then should we be to all earthly attachments and adornments! Let us seek rather that our souls be adorned with heavenly graces. Abraham rendered honour and respect to the princes of Heth, although of the ungodly Canaanites. The religion of the Bible enjoins to pay due respect to all in authority, without flattering their persons, or countenancing their crimes if they are unworthy characters. And the noble generosity of these Canaanites shames and condemns the closeness, selfishness, and ill-humour of many that call themselves Israelites. It was not in pride that Abraham refused the gift, because he scorned to be beholden to Ephron; but in justice and in prudence. Abraham was able to pay for the field, and therefore would not take advantage of Ephron's generosity. Honesty, as well as honour, forbids us to take advantage of our neighbour's liberality, and to impose, upon those who give freely.
Verses 12, 13. - And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land. To express his sense of their kindness, and appreciation of Ephron's offer in particular; aider which he courteously but firmly urged forward the contemplated purchase. 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. Literally, if thou, I would that thou wouldst hear me, the two particles אִם and לוּ being conjoined to express the intensity of the speaker's desire. I will give thee money for the field. Literally, money of the field, i.e. the value of the field in money. This seems to indicate that Abraham at least imagined Ephron's offer of the field and cave as a gift to be not wholly formal. Had he regarded Ephron as all the while desirous of a sale, he would not have employed the language of entreaty. Take it of me, and I will bury my dead there.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land. Showing hereby great respect, and giving much honour both to them and Ephron; and signifying that he had something to say, and desired audience of them, and humbly submitted to them what he should say.
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