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Genesis 23-25

Supplemental notes for the Daily Bible Study Bible Reading Plan

by Wayne Blank

Genesis Chapter 23

Abraham and Sarah (see Abram and Sarai) both lived very long lives. The first to die was Sarah.

Hebron Map

"Sarah lived a hundred and twenty-seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died at Kiriath-arba, that is, Hebron, in The Land Of Canaan; and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her." (Genesis 23:1-2 RSV)

Upon Sarah's death, Abraham purchased what became a family burial tomb at Hebron (see the Fact Finder question below).

"Abraham rose and bowed to the Hittites, the people of the land. And he said to them, "If you are willing that I should bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and entreat for me Ephron the son of Zohar, that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he owns; it is at the end of his field. For the full price let him give it to me in your presence as a possession for a burying place." (Genesis 23:7-9 RSV)

"So the field of Ephron in Machpelah, which was to the east of Mamre, the field with the cave which was in it and all the trees that were in the field, throughout its whole area, was made over to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the Hittites, before all who went in at the gate of his city.

After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah east of Mamre, that is, Hebron, in the land of Canaan. The field and the cave that is in it were made over to Abraham as a possession for a burying place by the Hittites." (Genesis 23:17-20 RSV)

Genesis Chapter 24

Apparently sensing his own mortality after his wife's death, Abraham attended to another important family matter - a wife for his son Isaac, who would be chosen from his own kin back in Iraq (see Settlers and Invaders From Iraq).


"Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years; and The Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his house, who had charge of all that he had, "Put your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by The Lord, the God of heaven and of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell, but will go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac." (Genesis 24:1-4 RSV)

The Servant's Journey was successful. Upon their return, Isaac and Rebekah were married.

"Now Isaac had come from Beerlahairoi, and was dwelling in the Negeb. And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, there were camels coming. And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she alighted from the camel, and said to the servant, "Who is the man yonder, walking in the field to meet us?"

The servant said, "It is my master." So she took her veil and covered herself.

And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into the tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother's death." (Genesis 24:62-67 RSV)

Genesis Chapter 25

After Sarah's death, Abraham married Keturah. From that marriage came at least six children, including Midian, from whom in later years descended Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses (see The Education Of Moses). Abraham also had other children through Concubines, while maintaining Isaac as his primary heir.


"Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan.
The sons of Dedan were Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim.
The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah.
All these were the children of Keturah.

Abraham gave all he had to Isaac. But to the sons of his concubines Abraham gave gifts, and while he was still living he sent them away from his son Isaac, eastward to the east country." (Genesis 25:1-6 RSV)

When Abraham died, he was buried with Sarah by his sons Isaac and Ishmael.

"These are the days of the years of Abraham's life, a hundred and seventy-five years. Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people. Isaac and Ishmael his sons buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, east of Mamre, the field which Abraham purchased from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried, with Sarah his wife." (Genesis 25:7-10 RSV)

Ishmael's descendants settled through the Middle East from Egypt to Iraq.

"These are the years of the life of Ishmael, a hundred and thirty-seven years; he breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his kindred. They dwelt from Havilah to Shur, which is opposite Egypt in the direction of Assyria; he settled over against all his people." (Genesis 25:17-18 RSV)

The struggle between Jacob (who The Lord renamed as Israel) and Esau, the fraternal twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah, began before they were even born and continued through their lives; even their parents were involved in their conflict i.e. "Isaac loved Esau ... but Rebekah loved Jacob."

"And Isaac prayed to The Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and The Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. The children struggled together within her; and she said, "If it is thus, why do I live?" So she went to inquire of The Lord.

And The Lord said to her, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples, born of you, shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the elder shall serve the younger."

When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. The first came forth red, all his body like a hairy mantle; so they called his name Esau. Afterward his brother came forth, and his hand had taken hold of Esau's heel; so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.

When the boys grew up, Esau was a skilful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. Isaac loved Esau, because he ate of his game; but Rebekah loved Jacob." (Genesis 25:21-28 RSV)

Fact Finder: As explained above, both Abraham and Sarah are buried in the tomb at Hebron that Abraham purchased from the Hittites. Who are the other four people buried in that tomb?
See The Tombs Of Hebron

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