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Thursday, September 6 2018

A Bible Journey, 23: The Hebron Sepulchre

"Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah ... And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan"

"Sepulchre" is an ancient Latin word that is used, by some translations (e.g. the King James Version) to translate an original Hebrew word that meant a chamber cut into solid rock that was used for a burial room, meaning a tomb. In ancient times, when digging into solid rock was no easy task, sepulchres were often made within existing caves, which were relatively common in the land of Israel.

The first sepulchre specifically mentioned in the Holy Scriptures was that purchased in Hebron by Abraham for Sarah. Eventually Abraham himself, as well as Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Leah (see also The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Leah), were all entombed there (see the Fact Finder question to understand why one of the bodies is very different from the others).

Elderly Sarah lived her physical life and died.

"23:1 And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah.

23:2 And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her." (Genesis 23:1-2 KJV)

Abraham was a foreigner in Canaan all of his life ("I am a stranger and a sojourner with you"). When Sarah died, Abraham sought to purchase a grave for her from the people who owned all of the land.

The Tomb Of Sarah

"23:3 And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying,

23:4 I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight." (Genesis 23:3-4 KJV)

Although a foreigner in their land, Abraham was highly-regarded by the Canaanites (so was Jesus Christ centuries later; see What Does The Bible Really Say About Canaanites?). They offered Abraham anywhere that he chose.

"23:5 And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him,

23:6 Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead." (Genesis 23:5-6 KJV)

Abraham then asked to purchase a particular cave of Hebron.

"23:7 And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth.

23:8 And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, 23:9 That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you." (Genesis 23:97-9 KJV)

The owner of the property offered it to Abraham as a gift, but Abraham insisted that he pay the fair and full market value of it.

"23:10 And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying, 23:11 Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead.

23:12 And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land. 23:13 And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there.

23:14 And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him, 23:15 My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead.

23:16 And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant." (Genesis 23:10-16 KJV)


So the cave and the land in which it was located were deeded to Abraham.

"23:17 And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure 23:18 Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city.

23:19 And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan.

23:20 And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a buryingplace by the sons of Heth." (Genesis 23:17-20 KJV)

Abraham was himself eventually buried with Sarah in that cave.

"25:8 Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.

25:9 And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre; 25:10 The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife." (Genesis 25:8-10 KJV)

Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob/Israel and Leah were also eventually buried in what became a family tomb. Jacob's last words, in Egypt, were his will to be buried there.

"49:29 And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 49:30 In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace.

49:31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.

49:32 The purchase of the field and of the cave that is therein was from the children of Heth.

49:33 And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people." (Genesis 49:29-33 KJV)

Fact Finder: Although all together in the same tomb, how is Jacob's body different than that of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah and Leah? Why would the body of Israel be easy to differentiate from all of the others?
See Jacob's Mummy

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This Day In History, September 6

394: Theodosius became the sole ruler of the East and West Roman empires after defeating Eugenius at the Battle of the River Frigidus. After he died however, the Roman empire again divided - as illustrated in the two legs of the great prophetic statue seen in Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Daniel 2:31-25 (see The Prophet Daniel: Nebuchadnezzar's Image; also The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).

The Roman Empire

1492: Christopher Columbus sailed from La Gomera in the Canary Islands, his last stop before crossing the Atlantic for the first time. All of the voyages of Columbus to "America" were actually to the islands of the Caribbean Sea and what is today Mexico and South America (see also Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy). It was actually the Vikings, over 500 years before Columbus was born, who "discovered America."

Voyages of Christopher Columbus


1522: One of the five ships that set out in Ferdinand Magellan's voyage around the world returned to Spain. Only 15 of the original 265 men that set out survived. Magellan was killed by natives in the Philippines.

1620: The "Pilgrims" left Plymouth, England, bound for the New World (see also The Pilgrims).

The Mayflower

1898: Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands was coronated.

1901: U.S. President William McKinley was shot at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. He died a week later.

1914: During the First World War (1914-1918; see also The Assassination That Triggered Two World Wars), the first Battle of the Marne began along a 500 kilometer (300 mile) front when the French launched a counter-offensive against the German advance.

1941: The democratically-elected Nazi government of Adolf Hitler (see What Did A Father Of Democracy Predict About It? and Is Iniquity Liberal Or Conservative? and Why Does Satan Love Liars?) issued an order that all Jews in Germany were to wear a yellow Star of David at all times in public.

Adolf Hitler

1945: Amidst surrendered Japanese forces, Russian forces brought about the proclamation of The Korean People's Republic (North Korea). To avoid a power vacuum in the south, the U.S. ordered the surrendered Japanese military command to maintain authority until U.S. forces arrived, which they did 2 days later (see Why Was Korea Divided Into North And South?).

Sea Of Japan

1948: Princess Juliana became Queen of The Netherlands following her mother's (Queen Wilhelmina) abdication.

1949: Howard Unruh, a former U.S. Army sharpshooter during the Second World War (1939-1945, the U.S. entered in December 1941 when Pearl Harbor was attacked), killed 13 people in Camden, New Jersey. He is regarded as the first U.S. single-episode mass murderer.

1970: "Palestinian" (see Where Is Palestine?) terrorists hijacked four airliners traveling to New York from Europe. One Pan Am Jumbo was blown up the next day in Cairo, and two Boeing 707s which landed at Dawson's field in Jordan were blown up on September 12. The fourth plane landed in London.

1977: Leslie MacFarlane died at age 74. The Canadian author from Whitby, Ontario (near Toronto) wrote the first 20 books of the popular "Hardy Boys" series under the pen name "Franklin W. Dickson."

1977: Highway signs across Canada were converted to metric. As of 2014, the U.S. is the only country that still uses the old system of pounds, miles and fractions (e.g. writing 9/10 instead of .9). While many regard the "miles and Fahrenheit" system to be an entirely-English creation, miles were actually invented by the ancient Romans and the Fahrenheit temperature scale was invented in 1724 by a German physicist, Daniel Fahrenheit. "Miles and Fahrenheit" are just as European in origin as the Metric System. Even the word "mile" uses the same prefix, "mill," meaning thousand, as the Metric System (see also Fahrenheit versus Celsius).


1991: After 67 years as Leningrad, the name St. Petersburg was restored to the Russian city (see also Russia Or Europe - Who Has Been The Invader?).

1997: The funeral of Princess Diana. Great numbers of people lined the streets of London to view the procession, and hundreds of millions of people around the world watched on television. One of the biggest funerals in human history. She was later that day buried on the Spencer family property in the Northamptonshire countryside.


Copyright © Wayne Blank