Genesis 23: 1-9…..No desire to be anyone’s debtor.

Sarah lived 127 years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died at Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. And Abraham rose up from before his dead and said to the Hittites, “I am a sojourner and foreigner among you; give me property among you for a burying place, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.” The Hittites answered Abraham, “Hear us, my lord; you are a prince of God among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will withhold from you his tomb to hinder you from burying your dead.” Abraham rose and bowed to the Hittites, the people of the land. And he said to them, “If you are willing that I should bury my dead out of my sight, hear me and entreat for me Ephron the son of Zohar, that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he owns; it is at the end of his field. For the full price let him give it to me in your presence as property for a burying place.”

Comment: 1. Even people at the centre of major Bible stories come to the common end of all human life. (I am not here discussing resurrection). Sarah is such a person, the other human through whom God brought the branch (Isaac) which was to have Jesus some several thousand years later. But she is now dead. Remember the inescapable – death and taxes! 2. Burial customs vary from place to place and time to time. But here we see a deep respect for the now dead, loved one, and a desire to have her remembered. Such honour and respect, where due, seems very good to me. 3. We see here a business transaction worked out. But in the end Abraham doesn’t want the burial spot to be someone else’s, for them to control. He had his eye on a certain cave and we follow here his negotiating technique to get what he wanted to honour his now deceased wife! No gift accepted and a full price offered. From my time in certain lands I think the offered gift by the Hittite was really only a nice way of saying we are prepared to do business!

Prayer: I don’t need to worry about the future, O Lord. I do want to hear what You say about preparing for the after death eternity of time extending beyond the time I experience and know now.

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