Genesis 23



1 And the life of Sarah is a hundred and twenty and seven years -- years of the life of Sarah;

2 and Sarah dieth in Kirjath-Arba, which [is] Hebron, in the land of Caanan, and Abraham goeth in to mourn for Sarah, and to bewail her.

3 And Abraham riseth up from the presence of his dead, and speaketh unto the sons of Heth, saying,

4 `A sojourner and a settler I [am] with you; give to me a possession of a burying-place with you, and I bury my dead from before me.'

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

6 `Hear us, my lord; a prince of God [art] thou in our midst; in the choice of our burying-places bury thy dead: none of us his burying-place doth withhold from thee, from burying thy dead.'

7 And Abraham riseth and boweth himself to the people of the land, to the sons of Heth,

8 and he speaketh with them, saying, `If it is your desire to bury my dead from before me, hear me, and meet for me with Ephron, son of Zoar;

9 and he giveth to me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which [is] in the extremity of his field; for full money doth he give it to me, in your midst, for a possession of a burying-place.'

10 And Ephron is sitting in the midst of the sons of Heth, and Ephron the Hittite answereth Abraham in the ears of the sons of Heth, of all those entering the gate of his city, saying,

11 `Nay, my lord, hear me: the field I have given to thee, and the cave that [is] in it, to thee I have given it; before the eyes of the sons of my people I have given it to thee -- bury thy dead.'

12 And Abraham boweth himself before the people of the land,

13 and speaketh unto Ephron in the ears of the people of the land, saying, `Only -- if thou wouldst hear me -- I have given the money of the field -- accept from me, and I bury my dead there.'

14 And Ephron answereth Abraham, saying to him,

15 `My lord, hear me: the land -- four hundred shekels of silver; between me and thee, what [is] it? -- thy dead bury.'

16 And Abraham hearkeneth unto Ephron, and Abraham weigheth to Ephron the silver which he hath spoken of in the ears of the sons of Heth, four hundred silver shekels, passing with the merchant.

17 And established are the field of Ephron, which [is] in Machpelah, which [is] before Mamre, the field and the cave which [is] in it, and all the trees which [are] in the field, which [are] in all its border round about,

18 to Abraham by purchase, before the eyes of the sons of Heth, among all entering the gate of his city.

19 And after this hath Abraham buried Sarah his wife at the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre (which [is] Hebron), in the land of Canaan;

20 and established are the field, and the cave which [is] in it, to Abraham for a possession of a burying-place, from the sons of Heth.

Exploring the Meaning of Genesis 23      

By Emanuel Swedenborg

Arcana Coelestia 2901. In the internal sense a New Spiritual Church is here treated of, that was raised up by the Lord after the former church had altogether expired; and also the reception of faith with those who were of the church. "Sarah" here, is the truth Divine which expired; "burial," is raising up again; "Ephron and the sons of Heth," are those with whom the good and truth of the church were received "Machpelah which is before Mamre," is regeneration; Hebron in the land of Canaan," is a new church.

Arcana Coelestia 2902. Truth Divine, that it expired, is treated of (verses 1-3); and that the Lord set up again a new church (verse 4); and was kindly received (verses 5, 6); from which there was joy (verses 7, 12); that their first state was obscure, and they believed the good of charity and the truth of faith to be from themselves (verses 8-11, 14, 15); but they were instructed that good and truth were not from themselves, but from the Lord (verse 13); and thus they were redeemed (verse 16); and regenerated (verses 17, 18); and thus there was a new church (verse 19); from the Gentiles (verse 20).