|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
23:14-20 Prudence, as well as justice, directs us to be fair and open in our dealings; cheating bargains will not bear the light. Abraham, without fraud or delay, pays the money. He pays it at once in full, without keeping any part back; and by weight, current money with the merchant, without deceit. See how anciently money was used for the help of trade, and how honestly it should be paid when it is due. Though all the land of Canaan was Abraham by promise, yet the time of his possessing it not being come, what he had occasion for he bought and paid for. Dominion is not founded in grace. The saints' title to an eternal inheritance does not entitle them to the possessions of this world, nor justify them in doing wrong. Ephron honestly and fairly makes a good title to the land. As that which is bought, must be honestly paid for, so that which is sold, must be honestly delivered and secured. Let us manage our concerns with punctuality and exactness, in order to avoid contention. Abraham buried Sarah in cave. or vault, which was in the purchased field. It would tend to endear the land to his posterity. And it is worth noting, that a burying-place was the only piece of the land which Abraham possessed in Canaan. Those who have least of this earth, find a grave in it. This sepulchre was at the end of the field; whatever our possessions are, there is a burial-place at the end of them. It was a token of his belief and expectation of the resurrection. Abraham is contented to be still a pilgrim while he lives, but secures a place where, when he dies, his flesh may rest in hope. After all, the chief concern is, with whom we shall rise.
Verse 16. - And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron (either as knowing that the price he asked was reasonable, or as being in no humor to bargain with him on the subject); and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, - "Even this is still common; for although coins have now a definite name, size, and value, yet every merchant carries a small apparatus by which he weighs each coin to see that it has not been tampered with by Jewish Clippers" ('Land and Book,' p. 578) - which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth (the stipulation and the payment of the money were both made in the presence of witnesses), four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant - literally, silver passing with the merchant, or goer about, i.e. with merchandise; from sachar, to go about (cf.. ἔμπορος, ἐμπορεύομαι). The Canaanites, of whom the Hittites were a branch, were among the earliest traders of antiquity (cf. Job 40:30; Proverbs 31:24); and the silver bars employed as the medium of exchange in their mercantile transactions were probably stamped in some rude fashion to indicate their weight.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron,.... He agreed at once to give him the sum proposed, judging it to be a moderate price between man and man, and he was satisfied with it, and well content to pay him the money:
and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver: for in those times money had no mark or stamp upon it to show its value, and therefore was not told by pieces, but weighed, by which its full worth was known; and that Ephron might have his whole and just demand, the silver was weighed to him:
which he had named, in the audience of the sons of Heth; who were witnesses of the bargain, of the price set by Ephron, and of the payment of it by Abraham:
four hundred shekels of silver: the sum before mentioned, Genesis 23:15,
current money with the merchant; such as was used by merchants in buying and selling; such as they would receive, who knew the value of it, and were careful not to take any that was bad; wherefore such as would pass, with them would go anywhere, was current money; how all this is consistent with what Stephen says; See Gill on Acts 7:16.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. Abraham weighed … the silver—The money, amounting to £50 was paid in presence of the assembled witnesses; and it was weighed. The practice of weighing money, which is often in lumps or rings, each stamped with their weight, is still common in many parts of the East; and every merchant at the gates or the bazaar has his scales at his girdle.
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