|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 20. - And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a burying-place by the sons of Heth. The palpable discrepancy between the statements of the Hebrew historian in this chapter concerning the patriarchal sepulcher and those of the Christian orator when addressing the Jewish Sanhedrim (Acts 7:16) has been well characterized as praegravis quaedam et perardua, et quorundam judicio inextricabilis quaestio (Pererius). Of course the Gordian knot of difficulty may be very readily cut by boldly asserting that a mistake has been committed somewhere; either by Stephen, the original speaker, under the impulse of emotion confounding the two entirely different stories of Abraham's purchase of Machpelah and Jacob's buying of the field near Shechem (Beds, Clarke, Lange, Kalisch, Alford, and others); or by Luke, the first recorder of the Martyr's Apology, who wrote not the ipsissima verba of the speech, but simply his own recollection of them (Jerome); or by some subsequent transcriber who had tampered with the original text, as, e.g., inserting Αβραὰμ, which Luke and Stephen both had omitted, as the nominative to ὠνήσατο (Beza, Calvin, Bishop Pearce). The Just of these hypotheses would not indeed be fatal to the Inspiration of the record; but the claims of either Luke or Stephen to be authoritative teachers on the subject of religion would be somewhat hard to maintain if it once were admitted that they had blundered on a plain point in their own national history. And yet it is doubtful if any of the proposed solutions of the problem is perfectly satisfactory; such as
(1) that the two purchases of Abraham and Jacob are here intentionally, for the sake of brevity, compressed into one account (Bengel, Pererius, Willet, Hughes); or
(2) that Abraham bought two graves, one at Hebron of Ephron the Hittite, as recorded by Moses, and another at Shechem of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem (Words. worth); or
(3) that the words "which Abraham bought for a sum of money" should be regarded as a parenthesis, and the sentence read as intimating that Jacob and the fathers were carried over into Shechem, and (afterwards) by the sons of Hamor the lather of Shechem interred in Abraham's sepulcher at Hebron (Cajetan). Obvious difficulties attach to each of them; but the facts shine out clear enough in spite of the encompassing obscurity, viz., that Abraham bought a tomb at Hebron, in which first the dust of Sarah was deposited, and to which afterwards the bodies of himself, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Leah were consigned, while Joseph and the twelve patriarchs, who all died in Egypt, were brought over to the promised land and buried in Jacob's field at Shechem.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the field, and the cave that is therein, was made sure to Abraham for a possession of a buryingplace, by the sons of Heth. Who were witnesses of the transaction between Abraham and Ephron; and this was further made sure by Sarah's being buried in it, which was taking possession of it, for the use for which it was bought; and was a pledge and earnest of the future possession of the land of Canaan by the seed of Abraham: this was the first piece of ground in it possessed by Abraham and his seed; and it being called the possession of a buryingplace, shows that there is no contradiction between this and what Stephen says, Acts 7:5; he had a possession to bury in, but not to live upon; not any ground of his own to till and sow, or build upon.
Genesis 23:20 Parallel Commentaries
Genesis 23:20 NIV
Genesis 23:20 NLT
Genesis 23:20 ESV
Genesis 23:20 NASB
Genesis 23:20 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible