Genesis 23

Sarah dies and Abraham buries her

1 Sarah lived for 127 years. 2 She died in the land of Canaan, at Kiriath Arba. That place is also called Hebron. Abraham was very sad. He went to her tent and he cried very much, because she was dead.

3 Then Abraham went to the Hittite people and he said to them, 4 ‘I am living as a stranger among you. Please, sell me some land here, so that it belongs to me. Then I can use it to bury my wife properly.’

5 The Hittites replied, 6 ‘Sir, please listen to what we say. We respect you as a great and powerful person. We have good places where we bury our people who have died. Choose the best one that you like. None of us will refuse to give you whichever one you choose. Then you will be able to bury your dead wife there.’

7 Abraham stood up. He turned his face towards the ground to respect the Hittites who lived in that place. 8 He said to them, ‘Since you have agreed to help me, please do this. Speak to Zohar's son, Ephron, for me. 9 Ask him to sell the cave of Machpelah to me. It belongs to Ephron. It is at the edge of his field. You will see that I pay the proper price to him. Then it will belong to me. I can bury my family there when they die.’

10 Ephron was sitting there with his people, at the city gate. He spoke so that all the Hittites could hear him. 11 Ephron said, ‘No sir. Please listen to me. You may take my field as well as the cave. I promise in front of my people that I will give all this to you. Then you can bury your dead wife there.’

12 Abraham again turned his face towards the ground to respect the people who lived in that place. 13 While they were listening, he said to Ephron, ‘Let me say this. I will pay you the price to buy the field. Please accept the money from me. Then I can bury my dead wife there.’

14 Ephron replied to Abraham, 15 ‘Listen to me, sir. The land is worth 400 shekels of silver. But the price is not important, because we are friends. Now bury your dead wife there.’

23:15People used shekels to measure weight. Ephron is telling Abraham how much the land will cost. He knows that Abraham will not accept the field as a gift. This is the way that people would agree to a price.

16 Abraham agreed to the price that Ephron had asked for. He weighed the correct amount of silver to give to Ephron. The Hittites there knew that it had been done properly. The weight of 400 shekels agreed with the weights that people used at that time.

17 In that way, Ephron's field in Machpelah, near Mamre, now belonged to Abraham. This included the field, the cave in the field and all the trees in the field as far as its edge. 18 All the Hittite people who were sitting there at the city gate agreed that Abraham was the new owner.

19 After this, Abraham buried his wife, Sarah in the cave in the field of Machpelah. This field was near Mamre, in the land of Canaan. That place is also called Hebron. 20 That is how Abraham bought the field and the cave that was in it from the Hittite people. He bought it so that he could bury there his family who died.