October 20, 2022
“Abraham bowed down to the people of the land and said to Ephron in the presence of the people of the land, ‘Please listen to me. Let me pay the price of the field. Accept it from me...”
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“Abraham bowed down to the people of the land and said to Ephron in the presence of the people of the land, ‘Please listen to me. Let me pay the price of the field. Accept it from me, and let me bury my dead there.’ Ephron answered Abraham and said to him, ‘My lord, listen to me. Land worth 400 shekels of silver – what is that between you and me? Bury your dead.’ Abraham agreed with Ephron, and Abraham weighed out to Ephron the silver that he had agreed to in the hearing of the Hittites: 400 shekels of silver at the current commercial rate.” Genesis 23:12-16
Once I heard a rabbi say that this was the first recorded real estate deal in Jewish history! The land of Canaan was Abraham’s by promise, but the time to possess it had not yet come. Nevertheless, Abraham had the opportunity to buy a piece of it. This was not land for living on, which could be sold or taken away. It was land for burial…a FINAL resting place. Now, that is faith! Abraham said he believed God’s promises to the extent that he was willing to buy real estate and be buried in a land that would eventually become filled with a nation full of his offspring. Abraham wasn’t the only one to believe God’s promise on that same level.
“So Jacob’s sons did for him what he had commanded them. They carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave at Machpelah in the field near Mamre, which Abraham had purchased as a burial site from Ephron the Hittite.” Genesis 50:12-13
“And Jacob went down to Egypt, and there he and our forefathers died. From there, they were removed to Shechem and laid in the tomb which Abraham had purchased for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.” Acts 7:15-17
“Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, ‘God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones up from here.’” Genesis 50:24-25
“Now they buried the bones of Joseph, which the sons of Israel brought up from Egypt, at Shechem in the piece of ground which Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for one hundred pieces of money; and they became the inheritance of Joseph’s sons.” Joshua 24:32
The writer of Hebrews melds the Patriarchal hope of Canaan with the believers in Jesus’ “hope for eternity” with the Lord in Heaven.
“All these died in faith. They did not receive what had been promised but saw it and greeted it from afar and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth, for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land from which they had come, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better homeland, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:12-16