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Genesis - Chapter 23

Bible Study Notes

Genesis 23:1-4 Abraham needed to purchase land that he could use to bury his dead seeing he owned no land of his own. Abraham’s description of himself emphasizes his immigrant status. Even after 62 years of semi nomadic existence in Canaan, Abraham has no permanent location to call his own. This is all the more noteworthy in light of God’s repeated promises to Abraham that his descendants will possess all the land of Canaan.

Genesis 23:5-6 The Hittites, the owners of the land, granted Abraham’s request. Abraham was highly honored among the people of the land. They recognized that God was with Abraham.

Genesis 23:7-9 Abraham requests to purchase a cave (Machpelah) at the end of a field of land owned by a man named Ephron, for full price, witnessed by everyone there.

Genesis 23:10-11 Ephron offers the field and the cave freely to Abraham. Whether this was his intent or part of an ancient way of bargaining is not clear.

Genesis 23:12-13 Abraham insisted he wanted to purchase the land and not take it freely.

Genesis 23:14-15 Ephron named a high price (four hundred shekels of silver)  to Abraham and again conveyed that the money didn’t matter for  Abraham was worth giving it away for free.

Genesis 23:16 Abraham read between the lines and gave Ephron the exact value he placed on the land.

Genesis 23:17-20 The transaction was complete and again emphasizes is given on the fact that Abraham, witnessed by the Hittites, paid for the land, legally showing that the field and cave belonged to Abraham as a possession in the land forever. This field is located in Hebron.

Notes: By acquiring this plot of land, Abraham not only establishes future rights to it for his family but also puts down a marker that his descendants are to be associated with the land of Canaan, as God had already promised.

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