Genesis 23 always fascinates me. It’s a delicate cultural dance that we don’t understand today, the “negotiation” between Abraham and Ephron. That’s not what struck me today, but I’d encourage you to read up on it. It’s a pretty interesting little lesson that you miss when you read through it without knowing the significance behind it. Well, I thought it was interesting. We’ve already established I can be a little… strange.
Genesis 23:4 (GW)–”I’m a stranger with no permanent home. Let me have some of your property for a tomb so that I can bury my dead wife.”
I’ve read over this verse a dozen times and never really thought about it. But when you slow down and lift it out and really let yourself feel the weight of it in the palm of your hand, it’s maybe one of the saddest verses in the Bible. His wife has died. He is grieving her (verse 2 in the GW translation says cried about her death), and he realizes… “I have nowhere to bury her.”
It’s bad enough to wander around without a home. I think it might have been particularly interesting in Abraham’s case because God promised him a land… and then sent him to wandering… and wandering… and wandering… And when Abraham got there, a famine drove him into Egypt. Folks, this was a man who trusted God, because he just kept on moving, kept on going where God led him.
But now, he’s stopped cold. There’s nowhere to bury the woman he loves. Can you imagine that in that moment, the concept of home became kind of tough for him? I wonder if he wished, even for a moment, for a permanent place to lay Sarah to rest. For a place he knew he would be able to come back to. Or I wonder if it was all practical thought?
Interesting… the first land Abraham “owns” in the Promised Land is his wife’s tomb.
More interesting? Jesus didn’t have a tomb either one. They had to borrow one.
Wonder if God’s got a correlation there? I’m not smart enough to think of it, but I wonder if there’s something there, something about the biblical, earthly Promised Land and the earthly father Abraham and then our biblical heavenly Promised Land and our Heavenly Father?
Something to think about.
Y’all be safe today. I’m spending my first Fourth at home… in our earthly Promised Land so to speak. That’s another story about the funny ways God works.
How about you? Any thoughts on home?