Genesis 23


וַיִּהְיוּ חַיֵּי שָׂרָה מֵאָה שָׁנָה וְעֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וְשֶׁבַע שָׁנִים שְׁנֵי חַיֵּי שָׂרָה  23:1

Gene. 23:1  And the living years of Sarah were a hundred and twenty-seven years, the years of the life of Sarah,

וַתָּמָת שָׂרָה בְּקִרְיַת אַרְבַּע הִוא חֶבְרוֹן בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן וַיָּבֹא אַבְרָהָם לִסְפֹּד לְשָׂרָה וְלִבְכֹּתָהּ  23:2

Gene. 23:2  when Sarah died in Kiriath-arba -- it is Hebron in the land of Canaan -- and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.

Now here is the piece of information we lacked in the discussion of v. 22:19.  Sarah was not with Abraham when she died.  Because of this fact, we must presume that when Abraham returned to Beer-sheba, she was either not there or she left sometime after.  It is reasonable to assume that Sarah was so angry with Abraham for what he had done, that she left him, maybe even before he got back from Moriah.  Because this was left out of the narrative of chapter 22, we may also assume that Isaac was so shocked that he did not return with his father either.  So although Abraham was praised, and promised great blessings as his posterity, the lives of Isaac and Sarah were henceforth ruined.  As a result, we will learn how, and may understand why, Isaac exhibits little excitement or color throughout his life.  Doesn’t he seem to represent the plight of the Jews from the second temple’s destruction until near the present at this point?

וַיָּקָם אַבְרָהָם מֵעַל פְּנֵי מֵתוֹ וַיְדַבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי חֵת לֵאמֹר  23:3

Gene. 23:3  And Abraham rose from the presence of his dead one and spoke to the children of Heth saying,

גֵּר וְתוֹשָׁב אָנֹכִי עִמָּכֶם תְּנוּ לִי אֲחֻזַּת קֶבֶר עִמָּכֶם וְאֶקְבְּרָה מֵתִי מִלְּפָנָי  23:4

Gene. 23:4  “I am a stranger and a guest with you; give me a burial place with you so that I may bury my dead away from my face.”

This verse contains another non-inverting vav with a first person imperfect verb.  The word is וְאֶקְבְּרָה, translated as “... so that I may bury....”

וַיַּעֲנוּ בְנֵי חֵת אֶת אַבְרָהָם לֵאמֹר לוֹ  23:5

Gene. 23:5  And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying to him,

שְׁמָעֵנוּ אֲדֹנִי נְשִׂיא אֱלֹהִים אַתָּה בְּתוֹכֵנוּ בְּמִבְחַר קְבָרֵינוּ קְבֹר אֶת מֵתֶךָ אִישׁ מִמֶּנּוּ אֶת קִבְרוֹ  23:6

לֹא יִכְלֶה מִמְּךָ מִקְּבֹר מֵתֶךָ

Gene. 23:6  “Hear us, my lord; among us you are a prince of God; in the choicest of our sepulchers bury your dead; not one of us will withhold from you his sepulcher to bury your dead.”

וַיָּקָם אַבְרָהָם וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ לְעַם הָאָרֶץ לִבְנֵי חֵת  23:7

Gene. 23:7  And Abraham rose and bowed down to the people of the land, to the children of Heth.

וַיְדַבֵּר אִתָּם לֵאמֹר אִם יֵשׁ אֶת נַפְשְׁכֶם לִקְבֹּר אֶת מֵתִי מִלְּפָנַי שְׁמָעוּנִי וּפִגְעוּלִי בְּעֶפְרוֹן בֶּן צֹחַר  23:8

Gene. 23:8  And he spoke with them saying, “If your desire is to bury my dead away from my face, hear me and intercede for me with Ephron, son of Zohar,

וְיִתֶּן לִי אֶת מְעָרַת הַמַּכְפֵּלָה אֲשֶׁר לוֹ אֲשֶׁר בִּקְצֵה שָׂדֵהוּ בְּכֶסֶף מָלֵא יִתְּנֶנָּה לִּי בְּתוֹכְכֶם  23:9

 לַאֲחֻזַּת קָבֶר

Gene. 23:9  that he give me the cave of Machpelah that is his, which is at the end of his field; at the full price may he give it to me for possession of a grave in your midst.”

וְעֶפְרוֹן יֹשֵׁב בְּתוֹךְ בְּנֵי חֵת וַיַּעַן עֶפְרוֹן הַחִתִּי אֶת אַבְרָהָם בְּאָזְנֵי בְנֵי חֵת לְכֹל בָּאֵי שַׁעַר עִירוֹ  23:10


Gene. 23:10   Now Ephron was sitting among the children of Heth, and Ephron, the Hittite, answered Abraham in the hearing of the children of Heth, to all entering the gate of his city saying,                                                                                                 [Return to v. 23:18]

לֹא אֲדֹנִי שְׁמָעֵנִי הַשָּׂדֶה נָתַתִּי לָךְ וְהַמְּעָרָה אֲשֶׁר בּוֹ לְךָ נְתַתִּיהָ לְעֵינֵי בְנֵי עַמִּי נְתַתִּיהָ לָּךְ קְבֹר  23:11


Gene. 23:11   “No, my lord, hear me; the field I give to you, and the cave that is in it; to you I give it in the sight of the sons of my people; I give it to you; bury your dead.”

וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ אַבְרָהָם לִפְנֵי עַם הָאָרֶץ  23:12

Gene. 23:12   And Abraham bowed before the people of the land.

וַיְדַבֵּר אֶל עֶפְרוֹן בְּאָזְנֵי עַם הָאָרֶץ לֵאמֹר אַךְ אִם אַתָּה לוּ שְׁמָעֵנִי נָתַתִּי כֶּסֶף הַשָּׂדֶה קַח מִמֶּנִּי  23:13

וְאֶקְבְּרָה אֶת מֵתִי שָׁמָּה

Gene. 23:13   And he spoke to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land saying, “But if you would, hear me; I give the price of the field; take it from me and I will bury my dead there.”

This verse contains another non-inverting vav with a first person imperfect verb.  The word is וְאֶקְבְּרָה, translated as “... and I will bury....”

וַיַּעַן עֶפְרוֹן אֶת אַבְרָהָם לֵאמֹר לוֹ  23:14

Gene. 23:14   And Ephron answered Abraham, saying to him,

אֲדֹנִי שְׁמָעֵנִי אֶרֶץ אַרְבַּע מֵאֹת שֶׁקֶל כֶּסֶף בֵּינִי וּבֵינְךָ מַה הִוא וְאֶת מֵתְךָ קְבֹר  23:15

Gene. 23:15   “My master, listen to me; land, four hundred shekels of silver, between me and you, what is that?  So bury your dead.”

וַיִּשְׁמַע אַבְרָהָם אֶל עֶפְרוֹן וַיִּשְׁקֹל אַבְרָהָם לְעֶפְרֹן אֶת הַכֶּסֶף אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר בְּאָזְנֵי בְנֵי חֵת אַרְבַּע  23:16

מֵאוֹת שֶׁקֶל כֶּסֶף עֹבֵר לַסֹּחֵר

Gene. 23:16   And Abraham listened to Ephron, and Abraham weighed the silver for Ephron which was named in the hearing of the children of Heth, four hundred shekels silver, delivering it for the trade.

וַיָּקָם שְׂדֵה עֶפְרוֹן אֲשֶׁר בַּמַּכְפֵּלָה אֲשֶׁר לִפְנֵי מַמְרֵא הַשָּׂדֶה וְהַמְּעָרָה אֲשֶׁר בּוֹ וְכָל הָעֵץ אֲשֶׁר  23:17

בַּשָּׂדֶה אֲשֶׁר בְּכָל גְּבֻלוֹ סָבִיב

Gene. 23:17   So the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field and the cave that was in it, and all the trees that were in the field, which were in its whole border around, was confirmed

לְאַבְרָהָם לְמִקְנָה לְעֵינֵי בְנֵיחֵת בְּכֹל בָּאֵי שַׁעַר עִירוֹ  23:18

Gene. 23:18   to Abraham for a possession in the eyes of the children of Heth, to all entering the gate of his city.

In the phrase the gate of his city, the pronoun his presumably refers back to Ephron (see v. 23:10).

וְאַחֲרֵי כֵן קָבַר אַבְרָהָם אֶת שָׂרָה אִשְׁתּוֹ אֶל מְעָרַת שְׂדֵה הַמַּכְפֵּלָה עַלפְּנֵי מַמְרֵא הִוא חֶבְרוֹן  23:19

בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן

Gene. 23:19   And after this Abraham buried Sarah, his wife, in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre -- it is Hebron in the land of Canaan.

וַיָּקָם הַשָּׂדֶה וְהַמְּעָרָה אֲשֶׁר בּוֹ לְאַבְרָהָם לַאֲחֻזַּת קָבֶר מֵאֵת בְּנֵי חֵת  23:20

Gene. 23:20   And the field was confirmed, with the cave that was in it, to Abraham as a possession of a grave, from the children of Heth.


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