Genesis 23

Genesis 23


SarahA livedB one hundred twentyC-sevenD years; this was the lengthE of Sarah’s life.F 

Notes on verse 1

A “Sarah” = Sarah. From the same as Saray (princess, mistress, noble lady, queen); from sar (chief, ruler, captain, official, prince). This is Sarah, meaning princess.
B “lived” = hayah + chay. Hayah is to be or become, to happen. Chay is from chayah (to live or keep alive literally or figuratively). This is alive, living, lifetime. It can also be used to describe someone’s age. It can refer to animals, plants, water, or a company or congregation of people. It is life in a very broad sense.
C “twenty” = esrim. From the same as eser (ten, tenth). This is twenty or twentieth.
D “seven” = sheba. This is seven or by sevenfold. It can also be used to imply a week or an indefinite number. Symbolically, this is the number of fullness, sacredness, perfection
E “length” = shanah. Literally “years.” Same as “years” in v1.
F “life” = chay. Same as “lived” in v1. See note B above.

And Sarah diedG at Kiriath-arbaH (that is, Hebron)I in the landJ of Canaan;K

Notes on verse 2a

G “died” = mut. This is to die in a literal or figurative sense. It can also refer to being a dead body.
H “Kiriath-arba” = Qiryath Arba. 9x in OT. From qiryah (city, building); from qarah (to happen, meet, bring about)} + arba (four); {from raba (to make square or be four-sided); perhaps from raba (to lie down flat; can be to lie for mating)}. This is Kiriath-arba, meaning “city of the four” or “four-fold city.” See
I “Hebron” = Chebron. From cheber (company, society, enchantment, wide); from chabar (to unite, ally, attach, touch; to join in a literal or figurative sense; also, specially, using magic knots or spells to fascinate or connect). This is Hebron, meaning “seat of association” or “league.”
J “land” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
K “Canaan” = Kna’an. From kana’ (to be humble, subdue; properly, bend the knee). This is Canaan, his descendants, and the land where they settled. This could mean lowlands, describing their land or subjugated in reference to being conquered by Egypt. See

and AbrahamL wentM in to mournN for Sarah and to weepO for her. 

Notes on verse 2b

L “Abraham” = Abraham. From the same as Abiram (exalted father, a high father – lofty) {from ab (father literal or figurative) + rum (rise, bring up, being high, extol, exalt, haughty; to raise in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Abraham, father of many nations or father of a multitude.
M “went” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
N “mourn” = saphad. This is to wail, mourn. Properly, it is lamenting by tearing one’s hair and beating one’s chest. It implies wailing.
O “weep” = bakah. This is to weep, complain, or lament.

Abraham rose upP from besideQ his dead,R and saidS to the Hittites,T 

Notes on verse 3

P “rose up” = qum. To arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide. This is rising as in rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action. It can also be standing in a figurative sense.
Q “beside” = paneh. Literally “from the face of” or “from the presence of.” From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.
R “dead” = mut. Same as “died” in v2. See note G above.
S “said” = dabar. This is generally to speak, answer, declare, or command. It might mean to arrange and so to speak in a figurative sense as arranging words.
T “Hittites” = ben + Chet. Literally “children of Chet.” Ben is from banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense. Chet is 14x in OT. Perhaps from chathath (to be shattered, crack, terrify, discourage, break down; it could be beaten down violently or from confusion or terror); from Hittite chiti (Hittite); perhaps related to Hatti (place in Anatolia where the Hattians lived). This is Heth or Cheth. It may mean “terror” or “fearsome.” It is perhaps the earliest ancestor of the Hittites. See

“I am a strangerU and an alienV residing among you; give me propertyW among you for a burying place,X so that I may buryY my dead out of my sight.”Z 

Notes on verse 4

U “stranger” = ger. From gur (to abide or sojourn; to leave the road to lodge or for any other reason). This is sojourner, guest, stranger, foreigner.
V “alien” = toshab. 14x in OT. From yashab (to sit and so to remain and so to dwell; sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly; can mean settling or marrying; continue, endure, or establish). This is sojourner, settler, tenant. Someone who lives in a foreign land – not native born.
W “property” = achuzzah. From achaz (to grasp, catch, seize, take and hold in possession). This is a possession, particularly used of land.
X “burying place” = qeber. From qabar (to bury). This is a place where one is buried such as a grave or tomb.
Y “bury” = qabar. Related to “burying place” in v4. See note X above.
Z “sight” = paneh. Same as “beside” in v3. See note Q above.

The Hittites answeredAA Abraham, 6 “HearBB us, my lord;CC you are a mightyDD princeEE among us.

Notes on verses 5-6a

AA “answered” = anah. This is answer, respond, announce, sing, shout, or testify. It means to pay attention, which implies responding and, by extension, starting to talk. Used in a specific sense for singing, shouting, testifying, etc.
BB “hear” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
CC “lord” = adon. From a root that means ruling or being sovereign. This is lord, master, or owner.
DD “mighty” = elohim. From eloah (God, a god); from el (God, a god). This is most commonly used as a name for God. Technically, it’s in the plural, i.e. gods. It can also mean great, mighty, judge, or ruler.
EE “prince” = nasi. From nasa (to lift in a broad sense, literally and figuratively; to carry, take, or arise; to bring forth, advance, accept). This is one lifted up or exalter. So, it could be prince, chief, ruler, captain, king, or vapor.

Bury your deadFF in the choicestGG of our burial places; none of us will withholdHH from you any burial ground for burying your dead.” 

Notes on verse 6b

FF {untranslated} = enosh. From anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is human, humankind, another. It is mortal.
GG “choicest” = mibchar. 13x in OT. From bachar (to choose, appoint, try, excellent). This is select, choice, the best, select, the best people.
HH “withhold” = kala. 18x in OT. This is to stop in the sense of holding back or restraining. It could be keep, refuse, forbid, or to prohibit by word.

Abraham rose and bowedII to the Hittites, the peopleJJ of the land. He said to them, “If you are willingKK that I should bury my dead out of my sight, hear me,

Notes on verses 7-8a

II “bowed” = shachah. This is to bow down, make a humble entreaty, to do homage to royalty or to God.
JJ “people” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.
KK “willing” = nephesh. Related to naphash (to refresh or be refreshed). This is soul, self, person, emotion. It is a breathing creature. Can also refer to appetites and desires.

and entreatLL for me EphronMM sonNN of Zohar,OO 

Notes on verse 8b

LL “entreat” = paga. This is to meet or happen, whether unintentionally or of violence. It can also be plead, spare, reach, or intercede.
MM “Ephron” = Ephron. 14x in OT. From the same as opher (stag, fawn, hart); from aphar (to throw dust, be dust); from aphar (dust as powdered, perhaps gray colored; ashes, powder, ground, dry earth, clay mud, or rubbish). This is Ephron, the name a of a person, a place, and a mountain. It may mean “fawn-like,” “place of dust,” “ore,” “malleability,” “dust man,” or “young ones.” See  
NN “son” = ben. Same as “Hittites” in v3. See note T above.
OO “Zohar” = Tsochar. 4x in OT. From the same as tsachar (reddish-gray, white, dry up). This is Zohar or Tsochar. It may mean “whiteness,” “gray,” or “tawny.” See

so that he may give me the cavePP of Machpelah,QQ which he owns; it is at the endRR of his field.SS

Notes on verse 9a

PP “cave” = mearah. Perhaps from ur (to be made naked, exposed, or bare). This is a cave, cavern, den, or hole.
QQ “Machpelah” = Makpelah. 6x in OT. From kaphal (to double, fold, repeat). This is Machpelah or Makpelah, meaning “a fold.”
RR “end” = qatseh. From qatsah (to cut off, cut short; figuratively, to destroy). This is end, brink, border, edge, frontier. It can refer to that which is within set boundaries.
SS “field” = sadeh. This is literally field, ground, soil, or land. It is used to mean wild like a wild animal.

For the fullTT priceUU let him give it to me in your presenceVV as a possession for a burying place.” 

Notes on verse 9b

TT “full” = male. This is fill, satisfy, replenish, accomplish, fulfill, confirm, or consecrate. It is fill in a literal or figurative sense.
UU “price” = keseph. From kasaph (to long for, be greedy; to become pale). This is silver or money.
VV “presence” = tavek. This is among, middle, in the midst, the center. Perhaps, properly, to sever.

10 Now Ephron was sittingWW among the Hittites; and Ephron the HittiteXX answered Abraham in the hearingYY of the Hittites,

Notes on verse 10a

WW “sitting” = yashab. Related to “alien” in v4. See note V above.
XX “Hittite” = Chitti. Related to “Hittites” in v3. From Chet (see note T above). This is Hittite – perhaps meaning terrors or terrible. See
YY “hearing” = ozen. This is ear, hearing, audience, show. Properly, it is broadness – applied to its ear in reference to its shape.

of all who went in at the gateZZ of his city,AAA 11 “No, my lord, hear me; I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it; in the presenceBBB of my peopleCCC I give it to you; bury your dead.” 

Notes on verses 10b-11

ZZ “gate” = shaar. May be related to sha’ar (to calculate or reckon; may come from a root that means to open up or split). This is a gate, door, or other opening like a port.
AAA “city” = iyr. From uwr (to awaken or wake oneself up). This can mean excitement in the sense of wakefulness or city. Properly, this is a place that is guarded. Guards kept schedules according to watches. This sense of the word would include cities as well as encampments or posts that were guarded.
BBB “presence” = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).
CCC “people” = ben + am. Literally “children of my people.” Ben is the same as “Hittites” in v3. See note T above. Am is the same as “people” in v7. See note JJ above.

12 Then Abraham bowed down before the people of the land. 13 He said to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, “If you only will listen to me! I will give the price of the field; acceptDDD it from me, so that I may bury my dead there.” 

14 Ephron answered Abraham, 15 “My lord, listen to me; a piece of land worth fourEEE hundred shekelsFFF of silverGGG what is that between you and me? Bury your dead.” 

Notes on verses 12-15

DDD “accept” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.
EEE “four” = arba. Related to “Kiriath-arba” in v2. See note H above.
FFF “shekels” = sheqel. From shaqal (to weigh, spend, trade). This is shekel or sheqel. It is a unit of weight, generally used in trade.
GGG “silver” = keseph. Same as “price” in v9. Se note UU above.

16 Abraham agreedHHH with Ephron; and Abraham weighed outIII for Ephron the silver that he had namedJJJ in the hearing of the Hittites, four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weights currentKKK among the merchants.LLL

Notes on verse 16

HHH “agreed” = shama. Same as “hear” in v6. See note BB above.
III “weighed out” = shaqal. Same as “shekels” in v15. See note FFF above.
JJJ “named” = dabar. Same as “said” in v10. See note S above.
KKK “weights current” = abar. This is to pass over or cross over. It is used for transitions, whether literal or figurative. It can also mean to escape, alienate, or fail. This is the root verb from which “Hebrew” is drawn.
LLL “merchants” = sachar. To travel, go around. So, it is to travel like a peddler, to trade, to be a merchant. It can also mean to palpitate.

17 So the field of Ephron in Machpelah, which was to the eastMMM of Mamre,NNN the field with the cave that was in it and all the treesOOO that were in the field, throughout its whole area,PPP passedQQQ 

Notes on verse 17

MMM “east” = paneh. Same as “beside” in v3. See note Q above.
NNN “Mamre” = Mamre. 10x in OT. Perhaps from mara (to rebel, flap wings, whip, be filthy). This is Mamre a personal name and a place name. It may mean vigor or lusty.
OOO “trees” = ets. Perhaps from atsah (to shut, fasten, firm up, to close one’s eyes). This is tree or other things related to trees like wood, sticks, or stalks. It can also refer to wood products like a plank or staff or gallows. Additionally, this can refer to a carpenter.
PPP “area” = gebul + sabib. Perhaps from gabal (to border, twist like rope). This is boundary, limit, coast, space. Properly, it is a line that is twisted, which implies a boundary and, by extension, the boundaries of a territory or other enclosed space. Sabib is from sabab (turning around, going around; to surround, cast, walk, fetch; to revolve or border in a literal or figurative sense). This is a circuit or a circle. It could refer to an environment, one’s neighbors, or a circular path round about.
QQQ “passed” = qum. Same as “rose up” in v3. See note P above.

18 to Abraham as a possessionRRR in the presenceSSS of the Hittites, in the presence of all who went in at the gate of his city. 19 After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wifeTTT in the cave of the field of Machpelah facingUUU Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20 The field and the cave that is in it passed from the Hittites into Abraham’s possession as a burying place.

Notes on verses 18-20

RRR “possession” = miqnah. 15x in OT. From qanah (to get, buy, redeem, create, possess). This is buying so it could be the process of buying something, the thing bought (land or object or livestock), or the price of the thing.
SSS “presence” = ayin. Same as “presence” in v11. See note BBB above.
TTT “wife” = ishah. Related to {untranslated} in v6.  From ish (man); perhaps from enosh (see note FF above). This is woman, wife, or female.
UUU “facing” = al + paneh. Paneh is the same as “beside” in v3. See note Q above.

Image credit: “The Grotto of the Prophets” by Antonio Muñoz Degrain, circa 1912.

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