Genesis 23

Study the Inner Meaning

English: Darby Version

← Genesis 22   Genesis 24 →

1 And the life of Sarah was a hundred and twenty-seven years: [these were] the years of the life of Sarah.

2 And Sarah died in Kirjath-Arba: that is Hebron, in the land of Canaan. And Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.

3 And Abraham rose up from before his dead, and spoke to the sons of Heth, saying,

4 I am a stranger and a sojourner with you; give me a possession of a sepulchre with you, that I may bury my dead from before me.

5 And the sons of Heth answered Abraham, saying to him,

6 Hear us, my lord: thou art a prince of God among us: in the choicest of our sepulchres bury thy dead: none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre for burying thy dead.

7 And Abraham rose up, and bowed down to the people of the land, to the sons of Heth,

8 and spoke to them, saying, If it be your will that I should bury my dead from before me, hear me, and entreat for me Ephron the son of Zohar,

9 that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which is his, which is at the end of his field; for the full money let him give it to me amongst you for a possession of a sepulchre.

10 And Ephron was dwelling among the sons of Heth. And Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham, in the ears of the sons of Heth, [even] of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying,

11 No, my lord: hear me. The field give I thee; and the cave that is in it, to thee I give it; before the eyes of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead.

12 And Abraham bowed down before the people of the land;

13 and he spoke to Ephron, in the ears of the people of the land, saying, But if only thou wouldst listen to me, I give the money for the field: take [it] of me, and I will bury my dead there.

14 And Ephron answered Abraham, saying to him,

15 My lord, hearken to me. A field of four hundred shekels of silver, what is that between me and thee? bury therefore thy dead.

16 And Abraham hearkened to Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the money that he had named in the ears of the sons of Heth -- four hundred shekels of silver, current with the merchant.

17 So the field of Ephron, which was at Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave that was in it, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all its borders round about,

18 were assured to Abraham for a possession before the eyes of the sons of Heth, before all who went in at the gate of his city.

19 And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field at Machpelah, opposite to Mamre: that is Hebron, in the land of Canaan.

20 And the field and the cave that was in it were assured to Abraham for a possession of a sepulchre by the sons of Heth.

← Genesis 22   Genesis 24 →
   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 1616, 2470, 2829, 2830, 2831, 2832, 2833, ...


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 659, 750

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


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Word/Phrase Explanations

and the life
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

life
According to Swedenborg, the Lord is life itself, and we are recipients of life. This is true even of the most evil spirits, who loved...

Sarah
'Sarah' denotes truth joined to good. Sarai was called 'Sarah' so she would represent the divine intellectual principle by adding the 'H' from the name...

hundred
It's a landmark for a young child to count to 100; it sort of covers all the "ordinary" numbers. One hundred is obviously significant for...

Twenty
'Twenty,' when referring to a quantity, signifies everything or fullness, because it is ten twice. 'Twenty,' as in Genesis 18:31, like all numbers occurring in...

Seven
The number 'seven' was considered holy, as is well known, because of the six days of creation, and the seventh, which is the celestial self,...

died
'The soul going forth' and 'dying,' as in Genesis 35:18, signifies the extreme of temptation, which is when the old self dies and the new...

Kirjath-arba
Kirjath-arba,' as in Genesis 23:2, signifies the church regarding truth.

Hebron
'Hebron' represents the Lord's spiritual church in the land of Canaan. 'Hebron' represents the church as to good.

Land
Land' in the Word, denotes the church, for the things which signify the church also signify the things relating to the church, for these constitute...

of Canaan
'Sons of Canaan,' as in Genesis 10, are people who kept external worship separate from internal. 'Sons of Canaan,' as in Genesis 10, are people...

Canaan
Canaan signifies a worship in things external without internals, which arose out of the internal church corrupted, called Ham. Thus it is that Ham is...

abraham
Abraham (or Abram, as he is named in the beginning of his story) is one of the major characters in the story of the sacred...

came
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

mourn
In a general sense, mourning in the Bible represents a state of grief over the lack of desires for good and true ideas about life....

weep
'Weeping with a loud voice' signifies the ultimate of grief.

rose
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

dead
Death in the Bible represents spiritual death, or the destruction of everything that is good and all true beliefs in someone. This happens when people...

spoke
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

Heth
The daughters of Heth, as mentioned in Genesis 27:46, signify the affections of truth from a ground that is not genuine. Here they are the...

stranger
'A sojourner' or 'stranger,' as in Matthew 25:32, signifies someone who is willing to be instructed. 'A sojourner' or 'stranger,' as in Matthew 25:32, signifies...

give
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

hear
Thanks to modern science, we now understand that hearing actually happens in the brain, not the ears. The ears collect vibrations in the air and...

Us
Because people are governed by angels and spirits, in Genesis 1:26 it says 'let us make man into our image.' But because the Lord alone...

my lord
Characters in the Bible will often address others using the term “my lord,” and it seems to be no more than an expression of respect....

God
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

none
'No one,' or 'none' denotes the negative side of something.

bowed
To bow in prayer is common in most religious practices, so it's not surprising that “to bow” in the Bible represents humility and worship in...

people
"Man" is a tricky word to discuss, because the Hebrew of the Old Testament uses six different words that are generally translated as "man," with...

entreat
To 'intreat' denotes humiliation.

Ephron
Ephron (Gen. 23:8, 17) signifies those with whom the good and truth of faith, which are the constituents of the church, might be received.

Son
'A son,' as in Genesis 5:28, signifies the rise of a new church. 'Son,' as in Genesis 24:3, signifies the Lord’s rationality regarding good. 'A...

cave of
'The cave of Makkedah,' as in Joshua 10:28, signifies dire falsity originating in evil.

Machpelah
'Macpelah,' as in Genesis 23:17, signifies regeneration by truth, which relates to faith.

field
When we have a desire to be good people and to do good things, the natural first questions are "What does that mean?" "What should...

Full
'To satiate' relates to the extent of a person's will, for good or evil.

Money
'Money' relates to truth.

Hittite
'A Hittite' in a good sense, signifies the spiritual church, or the truth of the church. The Hittites were among the upright Gentiles who were...

gate
"Gates" in ancient times had a significance that does not hold in the modern world. Cities then were enclosed by walls for protection; gates in...

City
In the ancient world cities were very nearly nations unto themselves – they existed within walls, with their own laws and customs, generally centered on...

down
"Down" is used many different ways in natural language, and its spiritual meaning in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Phrases like "bowing down,"...

Hearken
'To hearken to father and mother,' as mentioned in Genesis 28:7, signifies obedience from affection. 'To hearken,' as mentioned in Genesis 30:22, signifies providence. See...

four
The number "four" in the Bible represents things being linked together or joined. This is partly because four is two times two, and two represents...

Four hundred
Four hundred signifies vastation, temptations, and the duration thereof.

Silver
'Silver,' in the internal sense of the Word, signifies truth, but also falsity. 'Silver' means the truth of faith, or the truth acquired from selfhood,...

Trees
'Trees,' in general, signify the perceptions when discussing the celestial self, but when related to the spiritual church, they signify knowledges. A person in the...

Round
Something 'round' relates to good. 'A small round thing,' as in Exodus 16:14, refers to the good of truth in its first formation. This is...

Round about
'Round about' denotes the things most distant from the middle, or from good and truth.

buried
'Being buried' or 'put into monuments' signifies resurrection and continuation of life.

wife
The Hebrew of the Old Testament has six different common words which are generally translated as "wife," which largely overlap but have different nuances. Swedenborg...

Land of Canaan
The land of Canaan' in the Word, means love, and consequently, the will of the celestial self.

land of
'The land of Rameses,' as in Genesis 47:11, signifies the inmost of the spiritual principle in the natural mind.


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