Genesis 23

Who doesn’t like freebies?

I just confirmed a catering order.  Besides the quality of the food and the reasonable price, one thing that make it stand out among their competitors are the freebies they offered.  I noticed it, aced it and with calculated deduction, decided that they offer a far better deal the others that we are considering.

Who would not accept freebies?

Abraham.

10 Now Ephron dwelt among the sons of Heth; and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the presence of the sons of Heth, all who entered at the gate of his city, saying, 11 “No, my lord, hear me: I give you the field and the cave that is in it; I give it to you in the presence of the sons of my people. I give it to you. Bury your dead!”

12 Then Abraham bowed himself down before the people of the land; 13 and he spoke to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, saying, “If you will give it, please hear me. I will give you money for the field; take it from me and I will bury my dead there.”

Abraham is an upright man in every way.  He may not be perfect, but he came across someone who would do things right.

It would seem that Abraham was well respected and revered by the locals in the land.  He could have accepted the offer as a gift.

Then Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spoke to the sons of Heth, saying, “I am a foreigner and a visitor among you. Give me property for a burial place among you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.”

And the sons of Heth answered Abraham, saying to him, “Hear us, my lord: You are a mighty prince among us; bury your dead in the choicest of our burial places. None of us will withhold from you his burial place, that you may bury your dead.”

I do not have adequate knowledge of ancient burial customs and mindsets in biblical times;   However, it seemed vital to have a family burial property owned by the deceased or their family.  This was to ensure long term ownership for a permanent family tomb.   Abraham was determined to do what was right, and not take the short cut or easy way out.  He paid the price that was accorded – four hundred shekels of silver.

This is a very significant moment.  First, Abraham continued to stand as a testimony and example of godliness among his peers who did not know God.  More importantly, Abraham actually owned his first piece of property (cave of Machpelah) in the land of Canaan.  It became the family burial ground from generations to generations (Genesis 49: 29-33).

Then he charged them and said to them: “I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite as a possession for a burial place. 31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife, there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah. 32 The field and the cave that is there were purchased from the sons of Heth.” 33 And when Jacob had finished commanding his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.

If I take a broad latitude with interpretation, this would be like putting his stake down for his descendants, who was later enslaved in Egypt for 430 years, to return to Canaan and re-possess the promise land again.  The promise land given by the Lord many years ago was taken possession first by a man named Abraham, through a piece of humble burial ground.  This small decision later become a significant beacon for the Israelites to find their way back to God.

I am taking liberty over here.  But drawing closer to home, I do believe in sowing the right seeds for the right harvest.  Righteousness will in turn reap righteousness, and longevity of legacy that may become the cornerstone to bless many.  I know how it can be frustrating at times, to do the right things when our culture advocate the exactly the opposite way.

But friends, I could only say, accordingly to 2 Thessalonians 3:13, taken from the context of not living an idle lifestyle and being an example to others in productive living, just like the apostles:

13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. 14 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.

Never underestimate the little choices that we made.

Lilian

 

 

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