10 Jun The Page Turns to the Next Generation
Genesis 22:20-23a – Now after these things it was told to Abraham, “Behold, Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor: Uz his firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.” (Bethuel fathered Rebekah)…
At the end of Genesis 22, we discover that Abraham’s brother Nahor (see also 11:26) had a total of 12 sons. Later, they would become the 12 Aramean tribes just as through Abraham’s grandson Jacob would come 12 Hebrew tribes. Moses includes this brief note on Nahor’s family to set the stage for Rebekah’s marriage to Isaac as she will be from the line of Milcah listed in 22:23-24.
Genesis 23 opens with the death of Sarah at the age of 127. To properly bury his wife, Abraham purchased a sizeable piece of land with a large cave for her burial site. In a pretentious show of kindness, Ephron charged Abraham an exorbitant fee, which Abraham paid likely because he did not want to haggle over details while dealing with the loss of his wife. To compare and contrast, Abraham paid 400 shekels for the land, when the site of the Temple years later would only cost 50 shekels (2 Samuel 24:24).
Ephron had offered to give Abraham the land for free, though the genuineness of his offer is suspect. Nonetheless, Abraham rejected the gift as he had the previous gifts from Melchizedek in Genesis 14 in faith that God would provide for him apart from obligating him to other men. The lesson here is clear – it is fine to receive a gift if it is truly grace without strings attached. Otherwise, reject such offers.
This site became the eventual burial site for Sarah and Abraham, Isaac and Rebekah, and Leah and Jacob (Genesis 49:30-32; 50:13). Today, it is believed that this cave is beneath the Mosque of Abraham, which is a Muslim shrine in Hebron.
With the sparing of Isaac’s life and the death of Sarah, Genesis now begins to shift its focus to Isaac and his son Jacob as the generational family study of Genesis moves from one generation to the next.
Looking back, what are the highlights and lowlights in the marriage of Abraham and Sarah?
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