Shadowland: Beginnings: Week 28
The Death of Sarah
- 23:1 Isaac was 37 years old when his mother died - an upper limit
on his age in Chapter 22. Sarah is the only woman in the Bible
whose age at death is given. Gentlemen, start your numerological
A Model Business Transaction
Whereas in Proverbs we have the theory, here we see practical demonstration of
Godly business ethics.
- 23:6 "a mighty prince among us" Abraham has been a Godly testimony
for some time (unlike the incident in Egypt).
- 23:7 "Abraham bowed himself" Abraham has familiarized himself with and
honors the cultural norms of his business partners. There is no excuse for
needlessly insulting your partners due to lack of preparation.
- 23:9 Abraham asks for the cave.
- 23:10 "in the audience of ... all that went in at the gate". Judges
and government officials sat in the gate chambers to conduct
business. This transaction is duly witnessed and notarized.
- 23:11 "nay my lord, the field give I thee and the cave that is in it."
We know from clay records that the Hittite government exacted
property tax (luzzi, Hittite laws paragraphs 46,47). If a land owner sold only part of a tract as recorded by
the government, the original owner was still responsible for the
entire tax (the government not wanting to track down all owners.)
Ephron did not want to continue paying tax on the field, or
have to collect a contribution from Abraham every year.
- 23:15 "400 shekels of silver" - we know from records that the going price
of desert land was 4 shekels per "acre", and 40 shekels per acre
for fertile farm land. There is much speculation on whether
Ephron was gouging Abraham - but we don't know how big the field was
or whether it was fertile land,
nor are we even sure of the size of an iku (Hittite unit of
- 23:19 Not only Sarah, but Abraham, Isaac,
Jacob, and even Joseph will be buried here.
- 23:20 Abraham nows owns two pieces of property in Caanan.