Genesis 23:18
Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.The completion of the sale is stated with great formality. No mention is made of any written deed of sale. Yet Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob remained in undisturbed possession of this burial-ground. Undisputed tenure seems to have been acknowledged as a title. The burial of Sarah is then simply noted. The validity of Abraham's title is practically evinced by the actual burial of Sarah, and is recited again on account of the importance of the fact.

This chapter is interesting as containing the first record of mourning for the dead, of burial, of property in land, of purchase of land, of silver as a medium of purchase, and of a standard of weight. Mourning for the dead was, no doubt, natural on the first death. Burial was a matter of necessity, in order, as Abraham says, to remove the body out of sight, as soon as it was learned by experience that it would be devoured by beasts of prey, or become offensive by putrefaction. To bury or cover it with earth was a more easy and natural process than burning, and was therefore earlier and more general. Property in land was introduced where tribes became settled, formed towns, and began to practise tillage. Barter was the early mode of accommodating each party with the articles he needed or valued. This led gradually to the use of the precious metals as a "current" medium of exchange - first by weight, and then by coins of a fixed weight and known stamp.

The burial of Sarah is noted because she was the wife of Abraham and the mother of the promised seed. The purchase of the field is worthy of note, as it is the first property of the chosen race in the promised land. Hence, these two events are interwoven with the sacred narrative of the ways of God with man.

- The Marriage of Isaac

26. קרד qādad, "bow the head." השׁתחוה shâchâh, "bow the body."

29. לבן lābān, "Laban, white."

In this circumstantial account of the marriage of Isaac, we have a beautiful picture of ancient manners in the East, the living original of which the present customs of that cradle of mankind are a striking copy.

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. No text from Poole on this verse.

Unto Abraham for a possession,.... To be enjoyed by him and his for ever, as his own property, being purchased by his money:

in the presence of the children of Heth; they being witnesses of the bargain, and of the payment of the money by Abraham, and of the surrender of the field unto him, for his own use:

before all that went in at the gates of his city; not of Abraham's city, for he had none, but of Ephron's city, which was Hebron, see Genesis 23:10; these are either the same with the children of Heth, and so the clause is added by way of explanation, and including all the inhabitants of the place; or else different from them, they intending the princes of the people that composed the assembly Abraham addressed, and these the common people, the inhabitants of the place. Aben Ezra takes them to be the travellers that passed and repassed through the gates of the city: however, the design of the expression is to show in what a public manner this affair was transacted, and that the field was made as firm and as sure to Abraham as it could well be, no writings on such occasion being used so early.

Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. all that went in at] See note on Genesis 23:10. The necessary witnesses of the transaction. There is no document to be attested.

Genesis 23:18"Thus arose (ויּקם) the field...to Abraham for a possession;" i.e., it was conveyed to him in all due legal form. The expression "the field of Ephron which is at Machpelah" may be explained, according to Genesis 23:9, from the fact that the cave of Machpelah was at the end of the field, the field, therefore, belonged to it. In Genesis 23:19 the shorter form, "cave of Machpelah," occurs; and in Genesis 23:20 the field is distinguished from the cave. The name Machpelah is translated by the lxx as a common noun, τὸ σπήλαιον τὸ διπλοῦν, from מכפּלה doubling; but it had evidently grown into a proper name, since it is sued not only of the cave, but of the adjoining field also (Genesis 49:30; Genesis 50:13), though it undoubtedly originated in the form of the cave. The cave was before, i.e., probably to the east of, the grove of Mamre, which was in the district of Hebron. This description cannot be reconciled with the tradition, which identifies Mamre and the cave with Ramet el Khalil, where the strong foundation-walls of an ancient heathen temple (according to Rosenmller's conjecture, an Idumaean one) are still pointed out as Abraham's house, and where a very old terebinth stood in the early Christian times; for this is an hour's journey to the north of modern Hebron, and even the ancient Hebron cannot have stretched so far over the mountains which separate the modern city from Rameh, but must also, according to Genesis 37:14, have been situated in the valley (see Robinson's later Biblical Researches, pp. 365ff.). There is far greater probability in the Mohammedan tradition, that the Harem, built of colossal blocks with grooved edges, which stands on the western slope of the Beabireh mountain, in the north-western portion of the present town, contains hidden within it the cave of Machpelah with the tomb of the patriarchs (cf. Robinson, Pal. ii. 435ff.); and Rosen. is induced to look for Mamre on the eastern slope of the Rumeidi hill, near to the remarkable well Ain el Jedid.
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