Genesis 23

* The death of Sarah, Abraham applies for a burying-place.

(1-13) Sarah's burying-place. (14-20)

1-13 The longest life must shortly come to a close. Blessed be

God that there is a world where sin, death, vanity, and vexation

cannot enter. Blessed be his name, that even death cannot part

believers from union with Christ. Those whom we most love, yea,

even our own bodies, which we so care for, must soon become

loathsome lumps of clays, and be buried out of sight. How loose

then should we be to all earthly attachments and adornments! Let

us seek rather that our souls be adorned with heavenly graces.

Abraham rendered honour and respect to the princes of Heth,

although of the ungodly Canaanites. The religion of the Bible

enjoins to pay due respect to all in authority, without

flattering their persons, or countenancing their crimes if they

are unworthy characters. And the noble generosity of these

Canaanites shames and condemns the closeness, selfishness, and

ill-humour of many that call themselves Israelites. It was not

in pride that Abraham refused the gift, because he scorned to be

beholden to Ephron; but in justice and in prudence. Abraham was

able to pay for the field, and therefore would not take

advantage of Ephron's generosity. Honesty, as well as honour,

forbids us to take advantage of our neighbour's liberality, and

to impose, upon those who give freely.
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.
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