Thursday, August 26, 2010

Death of Sarah

In Genesis 23, Sarah dies at the age of 127 (yet another example of someone breaking the 120 mark set by God in Genesis 6). I believe this is the first instance of a woman’s death to be given any notice in the Bible. We didn’t even find out how old Eve was when she died, much less Noah’s wife or any of the other nameless womenfolk in the scriptures so far.
But for Sarah we get to learn of the time and place of her death and hear about Abraham mouring her loss and then negotiating with the Hittites for a place to bury her.
These negotiations in and of themselves are quite interesting because it shows the Hittites to be very nice and reasonable people. When Abraham tells them he wants to purchase a place to bury his wife, they immediately offer him a place for free and tell him that he is “a prince” among their people.
But Abraham refuses the multiple offers of free land and insists on paying the asking price. It is unclear why this is, but perhaps it has something to do with the fact that God has been telling him all along that he will eventually overthrow the Hittites and dozens of other clans and tribes and give all their land to him. Perhaps Abraham doesn’t want to feel obligated to people he is secretly plotting to undermine in the future.

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