A. SARAH DIES:
(1)And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah. (2)And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her. (3) And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying,
(4) I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.
B. THE CHILDREN OF HETH’S RESPECT FOR ABRAHAM:
(5) And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him,
(6) Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead. (7)And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth.
C. ABRAHAM ASKS FOR THE CAVE OF MACHPELAH:
(8)And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, (9)That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you.
D. EPHRON ADDRESSES ABRAHAM:
(10)And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying,(11)Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead.
E. ABRAHAM INSISTS ON PAYING:
(12)And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land. (13)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: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there.
D’. EPHRON ADDRESSES ABRAHAM:
(14)And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him,(15) My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead.
C’. ABRAHAM BUYS THE CAVE:
(16)And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant. (17)And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about,
B’. THE PRESENCE OF THE CHILDREN OF HETH:
were made sure (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.
A’. SARAH IS BURIED:
(19)And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan.(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.
Note: This passage assumes great significance in the light of Acts 7:5 “And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him”. Though Abraham was promised all the land he did not own any of it in his lifetime except the small plot he had to purchase to bury Sarah. The elaborate procedure shows Abraham as a “sojourner and stranger” distancing himself from the offer of the use of a sepulchre and insisting on buying land in front of witnesses. The incident stresses the gap between promise and fulfilment but also signals Abraham’s vision of ownership of the land as promised by God. Abraham died in faith not having received the promises (Heb 11:13) but is awaiting the resurrection (Heb 11:35).