Genesis 23 (NRSV)
Sarah’s Death and Burial
Sarah lived one hundred twenty-seven years; this was the length of Sarah’s life.
Sarah is the only woman in the Bible whose age at death is recorded; it gives us some measure of understanding how great a woman she is in the Bible.
–David Guzik (and all following comments in green)
2And Sarah died at Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan; and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.
Glorified and sanctified be God’s great name throughout the world which He has created according to His will. May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon; and say, Amen.
May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity.
Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen.
May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.
He who creates peace in His celestial heights, may He create peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.
(The Kaddish is one of the most important and central prayers of the Jewish liturgy, and is said at funerals. Note that the prayer does not mention death at all, but instead praises God. This English translation is from the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.)
3Abraham rose up from beside his dead, and said to the Hittites, 4“I am a stranger and an alien residing among you; give me property among you for a burying place, so that I may bury my dead out of my sight.”
5The Hittites answered Abraham, 6“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 any burial ground for burying your dead.”
7Abraham rose and bowed to the Hittites, the people of the land. 8He said to them, “If you are willing that I should bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and entreat for me Ephron son of Zohar, 9so that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he owns; it is at the end of his field. For the full price let him give it to me in your presence as a possession for a burying place.”
10Now Ephron was sitting among the Hittites; and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the Hittites, of all who went in at the gate of his city, 11“No, my lord, hear me; I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it; in the presence of my people I give it to you; bury your dead.”
The Canaanite, Ephron, follows the cultural customs of bargaining. First, the seller offers to give the item. Then, when that is refused, the seller suggests a price, which he claims is modest but is really very high. This is understood to be the starting point, and from there the bargaining begins.
12Then Abraham bowed down before the people of the land. 13He said to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, “If you only will listen to me! I will give the price of the field; accept it from me, so that I may bury my dead there.”
14Ephron answered Abraham, 15“My lord, listen to me; a piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver—what is that between you and me? Bury your dead.”
16Abraham agreed with Ephron; and Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver that he had named in the hearing of the Hittites, four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weights current among the merchants. 17So the field of Ephron in Machpelah, which was to the east of Mamre, the field with the cave that was in it and all the trees that were in the field, throughout its whole area, passed 18to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the Hittites, in the presence of all who went in at the gate of his city. 19After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah facing Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan.
Hebron is a town in the hills approximately nineteen miles south of Jerusalem. This is where Isaac and Ishmael buried Abraham. Isaac and Rebekah were both buried here. Jacob buried Leah here, and Joseph buried Jacob here. And this was the place Joseph told his descendants to bury him, taking his bones with them when they came into the Promised Land.
20The field and the cave that is in it passed from the Hittites into Abraham’s possession as a burying place.
1 Peter 3:1-6 (The Message)
The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. The holy women of old were beautiful before God that way, and were good, loyal wives to their husbands. Sarah, for instance, taking care of Abraham, would address him as “my dear husband.” You’ll be true daughters of Sarah if you do the same, unanxious and unintimidated.
Mark Schultz singing a sweet song about a man’s life-long love for his wife — HERE is “Walking Her Home.”
Or if you want something more cheerful, more 60’s soft rock — HERE is “Every Day with You Girl” by Dennis Yost and the Classics IV.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.