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The age and death of Sarah. CHAP. XXIII.
Preparations for her burial. A. M. 2145.
ND Sarah, was a hundred and dead, and spake unto the sons of A. M. 2145. B. C. 1859.
B. ('. 1859. seven and twenty years old : Heth, saying, these were the years of the life of Sarah. 4. I am a stranger and a sojourer with
2 And Sarah died in * Kirjath-arba ; 'the you : d give me a possession of a burying same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and place with you, that I may bury my dead out Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to of
my sight. weep for her.
5 And the children of Heth answered Abra3 And Abraham stood up from before his ham, saying unto him, Joshua xiv. 15, Judges i. 10.- -6. Chapter xiii. 18; Chap. xvii. 8; 1 Chron. xxix. 15;. Psa. cx, 12 ; Hebrews xi.
_d Aots vii. 5. NOTES ON CHAP. XXIII.
bear a son in her old age, and by whose miraculous Verse 1. And Sarah was a hundred and seven and interference a virgin conceived, and the man Christ licenty years old] It is worthy of remark that Sarah Jesus was born of her, can by the same power transform is the only woman in the sacred writings whose age, the sinful soul, and cause it to bear the image of the death, and burial are distinctly noted. And she has heavenly as it has borne the image of the earthly. been deemed worthy of higher honour, for St. Paul, Verse 2. Sarah died in Kirjath-arba] Literally in Gal. iv. 22, 23, makes her a type of the Church of the city of the four. Some suppose this place was Chrisl; and her faith in the accomplishment of God's called the city of the four beeause it was the burial promise, that she should have a son, when all natural place of Adam, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; others, probabilities were against it, is particularly celebrated because according to the opinion of the rabbins, Eve in the Epistle to the Hebrews, chap. xi. 11. Sarah was buried, there, with Sarah, Rebekah, and Leah. was about ninety-one years old when Isaac was born, But it seems evidently to have had its name from a and she lived thirty-six years after, and saw him grown Canaanite, one of the Anakim, probably called Arba, up to man's estate. With Sarah the promise of the (for the text, Josh. xiv. 14, does not actually say this incarnation of Christ commenced, though a compara- was his name,) who was the chief of the four brothers tirely obscure prophecy of it had been deliyered to who dwelt there ; the names of the others being Eve,chap. iii. 15; and with Mary it terminated, having Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai. See Judges i. 10. had its exact completion. Thus God put more honour These three were destroyed by the tribe of Judah ; upon these two women than upon all the daughters of probably the other had been previously dead. Eve besides. Sarah's conception of Isaac was super- Abraham came to mourn for Sarah); From verse natural ; she had passed the age and circumstances in 19 of the preceding chapter it appears that Abraham which it was possible, naturally speaking, to have a had settled at Beer-sheba ; and here we find that child; therefore she laughed when the promise was Sarah died at Hebron, which was about twenty-four given, knowing that the thing was impossible, because miles distant from Beer-sheba. For the convenience it had ceased to be with her aster the manner of wo- of feeding his numerous flocks, Abraham had probably men. God allows this natural impossibility, and grants several places of temporary residenoe, and particularly that the thing must be the effect of Divine interposi- one at Beer-sheba, and another at Hebron ; and it is tion; and therefore asks, Is“ any thing too hard for likely that while he sojourned at Beer-sheba, Sarah God? The physical impossibility was increased in the died at Hebron ; and his coming to mourn and weep case of Mary, she having no connection with man; but for her signifies his coming from the former to the the same power interposed as in the case of Sarah: and latter place on the news of her death. we find that when all aptitude for natural procreation Verse 3. Abraham stood up from before his dead) was gone, Sarah received strength to conceive seed, and He had probably sat on the ground some days in token bore a son, from whom, in a direct line, the Messiah, of sorrow, as the custom then was, (see Tobit ii. 12, the Saviour of the world, was to descend ; and through 13 ; Isą. xlvii. 1 ; and Gen, xxxvii. 35.;) and when this same power we find a virgin conceiving and bear this time was finished he arose and began to treat ing a son against all natural impossibilities. Every about a burying place. thing is supernatural in the births both of the type Verse 4. I am a stranger and a sojourner] It apand antitype ; can it be wondered at then, if the spiritual pears from Heb. xi. 13-16 ; 1 Pet. ii. 11, that these offspring of the Messiah must have a supernatural birth words refer more to the state of his mind than of his likewise ? hence the propriety of that saying, Unless body. He felt that he had no certain dwelling place, a nan be born again—born from above-born, not only and was seeking by faith a city that had foundations. of waler, but of the Holy Ghost, he cannot see the king- Give me a "possession of a burying place] It has dom of God. These may appear hard sayings, and been remarked that in different nations it was deemed those who are little in the habit of considering spiritual ignominious to be buried in another's ground; probathings may exclaim," Il is enthusiasm! Who can bear bly this prevailed in early times in the east, and it may it? Such things cannot possibly be." To sạch per- be in reference to a sentiment of this kind that Abrasons I have only to say, God hath spoken. This is ham refuses to accept the offer of the children of sufficient for those who credit his being and his Bible ; Heth to bury in any of their sepulchres, and earnestly nor is there any thing too hard for him. He, by whose requests them to sell him one, that he might bury his almighty power, Sarah had strength to conceive and wife in a place that he could claim as his own.
A. M, 2145.
B. C. 1939.
Abraham buys the cave of.
Machpelah, and buries Sarah. 6 Hear us, my lord : thou art al 13 And he spake unto Ephron in A M. 21 45. B. C. 1859.
mighty prince among us: in the the audience of the people of the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; but that thou mayest bury thy dead. take it of me, and I will bury my dead there.
7 And Abraham stood up, and bowed him- 14 And Ephron answered Abraham, saying self to the people of the land, even to the unto him, children of Heth.
15 My lord, hearken unto me: the land is 8 And he communed with them, saying, If worth four hundred 'shekels of silver; what it be your mind that I should bury my dead is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore out of my sight; hear me, and entreat for me thy dead. to Ephron the son of Zohar,
16 And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron ; 9 That he may give me the cave of Mach- and Abraham m weighed to Ephron the silver, pelah, which he hath, which is in the end of which he had named in the audience of the his field; for $ as much money as it is worth sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, he shall give it me for a possession of a bury- current money with the merchant. ing place amongst you..
17 And n the field of Ephron, which was in 10 And Ephron dwelt among the children Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the of Heth : 'and Ephron the Hittite answered field, and the cave which was therein, and all Abraham in the h audience of the children of the trees that were in the field, that were in Heth, even of all that i went in at the gate of all the borders round about, were made sure his city, saying,
18 Unto Abraham for a possession in the 11 Nay, my lord, hear me : the field give presence of the children of Heth, before all I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it that went in at the gate of his city. thee; in the presence of the sons of my peo- 19 And after this Abraham buried Sarah ple give I it thee : bury thy dead.
his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah 12 And Abraham bowed down himself be- before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the fore the people of the land.
land of Canaan.
e Heb. a prince of God. -Chap. xiii. 2; xiv. 14; xxiv. 35. * See 2 Sam. xxiv. 21-24.—Exod. xxx. 15; Ezek, xlv. 12 & Heb. full money.
· Heb. ears. — Chap. xxxiv. 20, 24; Jer. xxxii. 9. Chap. xxv. 9 ; xlix. 30, 31, 32 ; 1. 13; Acia Ruth iv. 4.
Verse 6. Thou-art a mighty prince) d'obe tuwa: will give thee money for the field ; 993 keseph, silver, nesi Elohim, a prince of God—a person whom we not coined money, for it is not probable that any such know to be Divinely favoured, and whom, in conse- was then in use. quence, we deeply respect and reverence.
Verse 15. The land is worth four hundred shekels Verse 8. Entreal for me to Ephron] Abraham of silver] Though the words is worth are not in the had already seen the cave and field, and finding to text, yet they are necessarily expressed here to adapt whom they belonged, and that they would answer hís the Hebrew to the idiom of our tongue, A shekel, purpose, came to the gate of Hebron, where the elders of according to the general opinion, was equal to two the people sat to administer justice, &c., and where bar- shillings and sixpence; but according to Dr. Prideaux, gains and sales were made and witnessed, and having whose estimate I shall follow, three shillings English, addressed himself to the elders, among whom Ephron four hundred of which are equal to sixty pounds sterwas, though it appears he was not personally known to ling; but it is evident that a certain weight is intended, Abraham, he begged them to use their influence with and not a coin, for in verse 16 it is said, And Abraham the owner of the cave and field to sell it to him, that it weighed Spur raiyishkol; the silver, and hence it apmight serve him and his family for a place of sepulture., pears that this weight itself passed afterwards as a
Verse 10. And Ephron dwelt among the children current coin, for the word Spv is not only used to exof Heth] And Ephron 30 yosheb, was sitting among press a coin'or piece of silver, but also to weigh; sce the children of Heth, but, as was before.conjectured, the note on chap. xx. 16. was personally unknown to Abraham; he therefore Verse 16. Current with the merchant.) anos y answered for himself, making a free tender of the field, ober lassocher, passing to or with the traveller-such &c., to Abraham, in the presence of all the people, as was commonly used by those who travelled about which amounted to a legal conveyance of the whole with merchandise of any sort. The word signifies the property to the patriarch.
same as hawker or pedlar among us. Verse 13. If thou wilt give it] Instead of, If thou Verse 17. All the trees that were in the field] It is wilt give it, we should read, But if thou will sell it, Il possible that all these were specified in the agreement.
Observations on the
preceding chapter. A. M. 2145. 20 And the field, and the cave that Abraham for a possession of a bury- A. M. 2145. B, C. 1859.
B. C. 1859. is therein, " were made sure unto ing place p by ihe sons of Heth. See Ruth iv. 7, 8, 9, 10; Jer. xxxii. 10, 11.
p Chap. 1. 13; 2 Kings xxi. 18. Verse 20. And the field, &c. were made sure] op" first ages of mankind, suspicion, deceit, and guile vaiyakom, were established, caused to stand ; the whole seem to have had a very limited influence.. Happy transaction having been regulated according to all the days of primitive simplicity ! When shall they forms of law then in use.
3. We often hear of the rudeness and barbarity of 1: In this transaction between Abraham and the the primitive ages, but on what evidence ? Every rule sons of Heth concerning the cave and field of Mach- of politeness that could be acted upon in such a case pelah, we have the earliest account on record of the as that mentioned here, is brought into sull practice. purchase of land. The simplicity, openness, and can- Is it possible to read the simple narration in this place dour on both sides cannot be too much admired. without admising the amiable, decent, and polite con
2. Sarah being dead, Abraham - being only a duct displayed on both sides ? Had even Lord Chessojourner in that land, shifting from place to place for terfield read this account, his good sense would have the mere purpose of pasturing his flocks, and having led him to propose it as a model in all transactions beno right to any part of the land, wished to purchase a tween man and his fellows. There is neither awkward, - place in which he might have the continual right of stiff formality on the one hand, nor frippery or affectasepulture. For this purpose, 1. He goes to the gate tion on the other. ., Decent respect, good sense, good of the city, the place where, in all ancient times, jus- nature, and good breeding, are all prominently displaytice was administered, and bargains and sales con- ed. And how highly laudable and useful is all this ! cluded, and where for these purposes the elders of the A pedant or a boor on either side might have destroyed people sat. 2. He there proposes to buy the cave the simplicity of the whole transaction ; the one by known by the name of the Cave of Machpelah, the cave engendering caution and suspicion, and the other by of the turning or the double cave, for a burying place exciting disgust. In all such transactions the beau and for his family. 3. To prevent him from going to any the boor are equally to be avoided. From the first no unnecessary expense, the people with one voice offer sincerity can be expected, and the manners of the latter him the privilege of burying his wife in any of their render him intolerable. The religion of the Bible resepulchres ; this appearing to them to be no more than commends and inculcates orderly behaviour, as well as the common rights of hospitality and humanity required. purity of heart and life. They who, under the sanc 4. Abraham, intent on making a purchase, Ephron, tion of religiơn, trample under foot the decent forms the owner of the field and cave, values them at four of civil respect, supposing that because they are relihundred shekels, but at the same time wishes Abraham gious, they have a right to be rude, totally mistake the to receive the whole as a gift. 5. Abraham refuses spirit of Christianity, for love or charity (the soul and the gift and weighs down the silver specified. 6. The essence of that religion) behaveth not itself unseemly. people who enter in at the gate, i. e,, the inhabitants | Every attentive reader of the thirteenth chapter of St. coming from or going to their ordinary occupations in Paul's first epistle to the-Corinthians, will clearly disthe country, witness the transaction, and thus the con- cern that the description of true religion given in that veyance to Abraham is made sure without the inter- place applies 'as forcibly to good breeding as to inward vention of those puzzlers of civil affairs by whose and outward holiness. What lessons of honesty, detricks and chicanery property often becomes insecure, cent respect, and good manners could a sensible man and right and succession precarious and uncertain. derive from Abraham treating with the sons of Heth But this cénsure does not fall on lawyers properly so for the cave of. Machpelah, and William Penn treating called, who are men of honour, and whose office, in with the American Indians for the tract of land now every well-regulated state, is as useful as it is respect-called Pennsylvania !. I leave others to draw the paable. But the accumulation and complex nature, of rallel, and to show how exactly the conduct and spirit almost all' modern systems of law puzzle even justice of patriarch the first were exemplified in the conduct herself, and often induce decisions by which truth and spirit of patriarch the second. Let the righteous falls in the streets and equity goes backwards In the be had in everlasting remembrance !
Abraham, being solicitous to get his son Isaac properly married, calls his confidential servant, probably Eliezer,
and makes him swear that he will not take a wife for Isaac from among the Canaanites, 1-3, but from among his own kindred, 4. The servant proposes-certain difficulties, 5, which Abraham removes by giving him the strongest assurances of God's direclion in the business, 6, 7, and then specifies the conditions of the oath, 8. The form of the oath itself, 9. The servant makes preparations for his journey, and sets out for Mesopotamia, the residence of Abraham's kindred, 10. Arrives at a well near to the place, 11. His prayer lo God, 12-14. Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel, son of Nahor, Abraham's brother, comes to The well to draw water, 15. She is described, 16. Conversation between her and Abraham's servant, in
Abraham directs his servant
to procure a wife for Isaac. which every thing took place according to his prayer to God, 17-21. He makes her presents, and learns whose daughter she is, 22–24. She invites' him to her father's house, 25. He returns thanks to God for having thus far given him a prosperous journey, 26, 27. Rebekah runs home and informs her family, 28 ; on which her brother Laban comes out, and invites the servant home, 29-31. His reception, 32, 33. Tells his errand, 34, and how he had proceeded in erecuting the trust reposed in him, 35–48. Requests an answer, 49. The family of Rebekah consent that she should become the wife of Isaac, 50, 51. The "servant worships God, 52, and gives presents to Milcah, Laban, and Rebekah, 53. He requests to be dismissed, 54–56. Rebekah, being consulted, consents to go, 57, 58. She is accompanied by her nurse, 59; and having received the blessing of her parents and relatives, 60, she departs with the servant of Abraham, 61. They are met by Isaac, who was on an evening walk for the purpose of meditation, 62–65.
The servant relates to Isaac all that he had done, 66. Isaac and Rebekah are married, 67.
b well stricken in age : and the bring thy son again unto the land LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. from whence thou camest?
2 And Abraham said d unto his eldest servant |. 6 And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou
me from my father's house, and from the land 3 And I will make thee & swear by the LORD, of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that sware unto me, saying, m Unto thy seed that h thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of will I give this land ; " he shall send his angel the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto I dwell :
on from thence. 4 i But thou shalt go unto my country, and 8 And if the woman will not be willing to to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from Isaac:
this my oath : only bring not my son thither 5 And the servant said unto him, Peradven- again. ture the woman will not be willing to follow 9. And the servant put his hand under the
Chap. xvii. 11; xxi. 5.- Heb.gone into days.-€ e Chap. 16; Deut. vii. 3.-i Chap. xxviii. 2. Chapter xi. I. xin. %; ver. 35; Psa. cxii. 3; Prov. x. 22. — Chap. xv, 2. Chap. xii. 1, 7.- Chap. xii. 7; xii. 15; xv. 18; xvu, • Ver. 10; chap. xxxix. 4, 5, 6. — Chap. xlvii. 29.;. 1 Chron. 8; Exod. xxxii. '13; Deut. i. 8; xxxiv. 4; Acts vii. 5. xxix. 24; Lam. v. 6.- --- Chap. xiv. 22; Deut. vi. 13; Josh. Exodus xxiii. 20, 23; xxxiii. 2; Hebrews i. 14.-o
. Josh. ii. 12.- Chap. xxvi. 35; xxvii. 46; xxviii. 2; Exod. xxxiv. ii. 17, 20. NOTES ON CHAP. XXIV.
he has nothing to do in the choice of a wife ; parents Verse 1. And Abraham was old] He was now about employ others to seek wives for their sons. Those one hundred and forty years of age, and consequently who leave their homes in search of employment always Isaac was forty, being born when his father was one marry their children in their own country, and among hundred years old. See chap. xxi. 5 ; xxv. 20. their acquaintance at home ; never among the people
Verse 2. Eldest servant] As this eldest servant is with whom they reside. In Asiatic countries this cusstated to have been the ruler over all that he had, it is tom has prevailed from the infancy of the human race. very likely that Eliezer is meant. See chap. xv. 2, 3. See Ward's Hindoo Customs.
Put, I pray thee, thy hand] "See on ver. 9. Verse 5. Peradventure the woman will not be willing]
Of the Canaanites] Because these had already been of Scripture, Josh. ix. 18, what the sentiments of the
strongest confidence in God, that the great designs for Verse 4. My country] Mesopotamia, called here which he had brought him from his own kindred to proAbraham's country, because it was the place where the pagate the true religion in the earth would be accomfamily of Haran, his brother, had settled ; and where plished ; and that therefore, when earthly instruments himself had remained a considerable time with his fa- failed, heavenly ones should be employed. He shall ther Terah. In this family, as well as in that of Nahor, send his angel, probably meaning the Angel of the the true religion had been in some sort preserved, though, Covenant, of whom see chap. xv. 7. afterwards considerably corrupted ; see chap. xxxi. 19. Verse 9. Put his hand under the thigh of Abraham).
And take a wife unto my son] A young man in This form of swearing has greatly puzzled the comBengal is precisely in the same circumstances as Isaac; mentators ; but it is useless to detail opinions, which
B. C. 1856.
He departs for Mesopotamia. CHAP. XXIV.
His prayer at the well. A. M. 2148. thigh of Abraham his master, and
B. C. 1856. to him concerning that kneel down without the city by a matter.
well of water at the time of the evening, even 10 And the servant took ten camels, of the the time s that women go out to draw water. + camels of his master, and departed; (P for 12 And he said, u O LORD God of my 4 all the goods of his master were in his master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good hand :) and he arose, and went to Mesopota- speed this day, and show kindness unto my mia, unto ' the city of Nahor.
master Abraham. p Ver. 2. -9 Or, and. -- Chap. xxvii. 13. - Heb. that 11.-u Ver. 27; chap. xxvi. 24 ; xxviii. 13; xxxii. 9; Exod, women which draw water go forth. —Exod. ii. 16; 1 Sam. ix. i. 6, 15.— Neh. i. 11 ; Psa. xxxvii. 5. I neither believe myself, nor would wish my readers Verse 10. Took len camels] It appears that Abrato credit. I believe the true sense is given in the ham had left the whole management of this business Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel, and that called the to the discretion of his servant, to take with him what Jerusalem Targum. In the former it is said, Put nou retinue and what dowry he pleased ; for it is added, thy hand unbina stila bigzira!h mehulathi, in sectione All the goods of his master were in his hand ; and in circumcisionis meæ; in the latter pp 77'ninn techoth those times it was customary to give a dowry for a yerech keyami, sub femore fæderis mei. When we put wife, and not to receive one with her. the circumstances mentioned in this and the third verse Verse 11. He made his camels to kneel down] To together, we shall find that they fully express the an- rest themselves, or lie down, as the Septuagint has cient method of binding by oath in such transactions very properly expressed it, Και εκοιμισε τας καμηλους. as had a religious tendency. 1. The rite or ceremony The time that women go out to draw water.) In used on the occasion : the person binding himself put Bengal it is the universal practice for the women to go his hand under the thigh of the person to whom he to pools and rivers to fetch water. Companies of four, was to be bound ; i. e., he put his hand on the part six, ten, or more, may be seen in every town daily that bore the mark of circumcision, the sign of God's going to fetch water, with the pitchers resting upon covenant, which is tantamount to our kissing the book, their sides; and, on their return from bathing, women or laying the hand upon the New Testament or cove- frequently bring water home.-Ward. nant of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2. The form of the Verse 12. And he said, O Lord God, dc.] oath itself: the person swore by Jehovah, the God of conduct of this servant,” says Dr. Dodd, “ appears no heaven and the God of the earth. Three essential at- less pious than rational. By supplicating for a sign, tributes of God are here mentioned: 1. His self-exist- he acknowledges God to be the great superintendent ence and eternity in the name Jehovah. 2. His do- and director of the universe, and of that event in parminion of glory and blessedness in the kingdom of ticular; and at the same time, by asking a natural sign, heaven. 3. His providence and bounty in the earth. such as betokened humanity, condescension, and other The meaning of the oath seems to be this : “ As God qualities which promised a discreet and virtuous wife, is unchangeable in his nature and purposes, so shall I he puts his prayer upon such a discreet, rational footbe in this engagement, under the penalty of forfeiting ing, as to be a proper example for all to imitate who all expectation of temporal prosperity, the benefits of would not tempt the providence of God, by expecting the mystical covenant, and future glory.” An oath of extraordinary signs to be given them for the determithis kind, taken at such a time, and on such an occa- nation of cases which they are capable of deciding by sion, can never be deemed irreligious or profane. Thou a proper use of their rational faculties.” This is all shalt swear by his name—shalt acknowledge and bind very good'; but certainly the case referred to here is thyself unto the true God, as the just Judge of thy such a one as required especial direction from God; motives and actions, is a command of the Most High; a case which no use of the rational faculties, without and such an oath as the above is at once (on such an Divine influence, could be sufficient to determine. It occasion) both proper and rational. The person bind- is easy to run into extremes, and it is very natural so ing himself proposes for a pattern the unchangeable to do. In all things the assistance and blessing of and just God; and as He is the avenger of wrong, God are necessary, even where human strength and and the punisher of falsehood, and has all power in the wisdom have the fullest and freest sphere of action ; heavens and in the earth, so he can punish perjury by but there are numberless cases, of infinite consequence privation of spiritual and temporal blessings, by the to man, where his strength and prudence can be of little loss of life, and by inflicting the perdition due to un- or no avail, and where the God of all grace inust work godly men, among whom liars and perjured persons all things according to the counsel of his own will. occupy the most distinguished rank. Our ideas of To expect the accomplishment of any good end, withdelicacy may revolt from the rite used on this occa- a proper use of the means, is the most reprehension; but when the nature of the covenant is considered, sible enthusiasm ; and to suppose that any good can of which circumcision was the sign, we shall at once be done or procured without the blessing and mercy perceive that this rite could not be used without pro- of God, merely because proper means are used, is not ducing sentiments of reverence and godly fear, as the less reprehensible. Plan, scheme, and labour like contracting party must know that the God of this cove- Eliezer, and then, by earnest faith and prayer, commit nant was a consuming fire.
the whole to the direction and blessing of God. VOL. J. ( 11 )