Reading through the Bible together
In this chapter notice how gracious and courteous Abraham is to the sons of Heth, a Hittite, and how respectfully he speaks to them. In turn, notice how respectful they are to Abraham and how kindly they speak to him. What is the lesson that we can learn from this first part of the chapter? We, like Abraham, need to be courteous and respectful of all people, no matter their race or culture. God loves everyone. And if we serve as missionaries and live in another country, we, as Abraham did, need to remember that we are visitors and guests among them.
Also notice how Abraham bows to the people and asks them to plead with Ephron, who owned the field and cave of Machpelah, to sell his property, so Abraham could bury his wife Sarah there. Ephron must have been sitting among the Hittite leaders for he immediately spoke up and said to Abraham, “No, my lord, I’ll give you the field and cave.” Abraham bowed, thanked Ephron for his kindness, and replied, “If you’re willing to give me the property, let me give you what it’s worth.” Ephron told him how much it was worth, and without hesitation, Abraham paid it.
The third lesson we can learn from this chapter is how much Abraham loved Sarah and that no price was too great to give her a proper burial place. Isaiah speaks of her as the mother of the Israelite nation (Isa. 51:2), Paul calls her the mother of God’s promised child (Rom. 4:19; 9:9), Peter holds her up as the example of a good wife (1 Pet. 3:6), and in the book of Hebrews she is praised for her faith (Heb. 11:11).
Jack J. Blanco
Professor Emeritus, Southern Adventist University