Genesis 23:2
She died in Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went out to mourn and to weep for her.
Sermons
A Break in the Home CircleJ. O. Dykes, D. D., J. C. Gray.Genesis 23:1-2
A Burying-PlaceGenesis 23:1-2
Abraham in the House of MourningT. H. Leale.Genesis 23:1-2
LessonsJ. Parker, D. D.Genesis 23:1-2
Mourning for the DepartedJ. P. Lange, D. D.Genesis 23:1-2
Tears Over the DeadF. W. Robertson, M. A.Genesis 23:1-2


In such a history the representative character of Abraham must be remembered. He was tried not only for his own sake, but that in him all the families of the earth might be blessed.

I. The PREPARATION for this great grace God and Abraham recognizing each other; the servant called by name, responding with the profession of readiness for obedience.

II. The COMMANDMENT is itself a secret communication, a covenant. Do this, and I will bless thee; follow me in this journey "as I tell thee," and thou shalt see my salvation.

III. The simple, childlike OBEDIENCE of the patriarch is reflected in the quiet demeanor of Isaac bearing the wood of the burnt offering, type of Jesus bearing his cross, inquiring for the lamb with lamb-like innocence and patience. "They went both of them together" (Vers. 6 and 8) - "together" in the beginning of the journey, "together" in the end, in the trial and in the blessing.

IV. FAITH which accepts the will of God and takes up the Divine mission WILL COMMIT THE FUTURE TO THE GRACIOUS PROVISION ON WHICH IT DEPENDS. "My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering" (Ver. 8). Already Abraham was saying, "The Lord will provide." We say it sometimes with a fearful burden upon our heart; but when we go steadfastly and hopefully forward we say it at last with the remembrance of a great deliverance sending its glory along the way of our future.

V. THE TRIAL OF THE TRUE HEART IS OFTEN STRETCHED OUT TO ITS LAST EXTREMITY, that the revelation which rewards faithfulness may be the more abundant and wonderful (Vers. 9, 10). We must take God at his word, otherwise we shall not experience the promised deliverance. "Take thy son, and offer him there" (Ver. 2). "And Abraham stretched forth his hand and took the knife to slay his son." What else could he do? The commandment must be obeyed. The obedience must be "good and perfect and acceptable" as the will of God.

VI. AT THE POINT OF ENTIRE SURRENDER APPEARS THE ANGEL, is heard the voice of relief, the assurance of acceptance, the change in the method of obedience, the opened eyes, the provided sacrifice, THE RETURNING JOY OF SALVATION (Vers. 11-13). There is a blindness of self-sacrifice which leads to a sight of immeasurable joy. Abraham saw nothing before him but the plain path of obedience; he went on, and at last "lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold' the self-sacrifice changed into peaceful offering of an appointed substitute (Ver. 13) "in the stead of his son."

VII. THE CLIMAX OF OUR EXPERIENCE AND OF DIVINE MERCY BECOMES TO US A NEW NAME OF JEHOVAH. We know him henceforth by that knowledge of fact. "Jehovah-jireh (the Lord will provide): as it is said to this day, in the mount of the Lord it shall be provided" (or seen) (Ver. 14).

1. Not before the mount, but in the mount; therefore go to the summit and wait.

2. What the Lord will provide will be better every way than what we could provide.

3. The offering on the mount is the great provision, the whole burnt offering for the sins of the world, by which the true humanity is redeemed and the true "joy" ("Isaac," laughter) is retained.

4. The last name of Jehovah which Abraham gave him was Jehovah the Everlasting; now he adds to that name that which brings the Everlasting into the sphere of daily life - "Jehovah-jireh, the Lord will provide." We name that name when we reach the mount where the great sacrifice was provided - Mount Moriah, Mount Calvary.

5. The end of the great trial and obedience was a renewal, a solemn republication, of the covenant. "God could swear by no greater; he swore by himself" (Hebrews 6:13). On the foundation of practical faith is built up the kingdom of heaven, which the Lord swears shall include all nations, and be supreme in all the earth. The notes of that kingdom are here in the history of the patriarch -

(1) acceptance of the word of God,

(2) self-sacrifice,

(3) faith instead of sight,

(4) withholding nothing,

(5) perseverance to the end. Beersheba became now a new place to Abraham, for he carried to the well and grove which he had named after the oaths of himself and Abimelech the remembrance of the Divine oath, on which henceforth he rested all his expectations. After this the man in whom all nations shall be blessed looks round and finds the promise being already fulfilled, and his kindred spreading widely in the earth. - R.







Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.
What lessons would such a man as Abraham learn in this house of mourning?

I. THAT IN VIEW OF THE AWFUL FACT OF DEATH THE LITTLENESS OF HUMAN LIFE IS SEEN.

II. TO REALIZE THE FACT OF HIS OWN MORTALITY. "I may be the next to go."

III. TO FEEL THAT THERE IS A LIFE BEYOND.

IV. THE SACREDNESS OF SORROW FOR THE DEAD.

(T. H. Leale.)

The true mourning a sanctified feeling of death.

1. A fellow-feeling of death with the dead.

2. An anticipation of death or a living preparation for one's own death.

3. A believing sense of the end or destination of death to be made useful to the life.

(J. P. Lange, D. D.)

1. On Mount Moriah we find Abraham doing God's will; here we find him suffering it.

2. Look at Abraham buying a grave; the best man of his age here bargains for burial ground. Ponder well this transaction, and consider that in return for four hundred pieces of silver Abraham gets a burying-place.

3. The behaviour of the children of Heth calls for appreciative notice. They treated Abraham with generous pity and helpfulness.

4. Man's final requirement of man is a grave. In the grave there is no repentance; the dead man cannot obliterate the past.

5. Abraham mourned for Sarah. Consecration to God's purpose does not eradicate our deep human love; say, rather, that it heightens, refines, sanctifies it.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Perhaps we who lead briefer and, at the same time, more stirring and varied lives, with rapid change and a multitude of interests to divide attention, cannot fully realize how the members of such a home circle as Abraham's grew into each other, or how one out of such a circle would be missed. Through long unbroken periods they lived constantly together, and were everything to one another. Of society, except that of their own slaves, there was little or none. The round of easy occupations which made up their shepherd life left ample leisure for domestic converse. It was inevitable that their lives should grow together as if welded into one. Husband and wife, parent and child, must have moulded one another's character to an extent hardly possible in other states of society. Stronger natures impressed themselves upon feebler ones. The older generation made that which succeeded it. The experiences and the teaching of the aged father created an unwritten family code, which ruled alike his son and his grandson. Each memorable incident in the family annals crystallized itself, no doubt, through constant repetition, and passed down with hardly any change of form as part of the family tradition. From such a close circle of relations the disappearance of one loved and familiar face would leave a blank never to be filled and scarcely ever to be forgotten. This must have been especially the case when death made its first breach in the family, and, at the ripe age of a hundred and twenty-seven years, Sarah, princess, wife, and mother, fell asleep. Her death made Abraham a lonely man. It broke the final link to his ancestral home. It robbed him of the only one who cherished with him a common memory of his father's house and the happy days of youth. She alone was left of those who, sixty-two years before, had shared his venturous emigration from Haran. He was her senior by ten years; and her removal must have come to him like a warning that before him likewise there lay another emigration, more venturous than the last — one final journey into a land still farther off.

(J. O. Dykes, D. D.)

I. THE DEATH.

1. Of Sarah, princess. Kings and great men die. "Wealth cannot deliver in the day of his power."

2. The wife of a great man. Derives her chief dignity from this connection. Little expected the honour that would befall her from this marriage. The source of Abraham's joy, as well as the occasion of some of his sins.

3. The mother of the free. The ancestress of Jesus, and those who believe in Him.

4. Died at Hebron = alliance. The alliance with Abraham dissolved, and her eternal alliance with Abraham's God, and one who was before Abraham (John 8:58), now inaugurated. Happy are those who compose the bride — the Lamb's wife; the day of death is with them the day of their espousals. The alliances of earth, abandoned for a better and more lasting one.

II. THE GRAVE.

1. A cave. We are of the earth, earthy. Dust, and must return to dust.

2. Purchased. Abraham selected one that would receive his own remains. ("The family meeting-place" is an epitaph at Pere la Chaise.) Men sometimes think more of their sepulchres than of death; and make greater preparation for the temporary repose of the body than the eternal rest of the soul. It was all that Abraham purchased of the promised land. The country was given to the living. The promised land of heaven for the living is a free gift, and there will be no bargaining for graves there. Man sells a place for the dead, God gives a home for the living.

III. THE BURIAL. "That I may bury my dead out of my sight." The object that once most pleased the eye must be put " out of sight," as a loathsome thing. Life, a fountain of beauty and attractiveness. How glorious that world must be where they die no more, and are never put out of sight. Those who die in the Lord, and are put out of sight, will presently be in sight for ever. The aged man before the grave of his wife. The parting is not for long. A few more steps, and he will be at home with his princess for ever. But with all this Christian hope, the loss of dear friends and the sunderings of long companionships is painful. At such times may we be able to say, "Thy will be done." Learn:

1. The great and good and best loved must die.

2. The earthly dissolution may be the beginning of our eternal union.

3. It is little the world can furnish us besides a place to lie down in at the end of the journey.

4. Happy are those who, being saved themselves, have a good hope of meeting those who are "not lost, but gone before."

(J. C. Gray.)

In those tears of Abraham was anguish; but there might have been remorse. Apparently Abraham had nothing to reproach himself with. Quarrels in his married life are recorded, but in all he behaved with tenderness, concession, and dignity. In all things he had supported and cherished his wife, bearing, like a strong man, the burdens of the weak. But oh! let us beware. There are bitter recollections which enhance the sorrow of bereavement and change it into agony — recollections which are repeated to us in words which remorse will not cease to echo for ever and ever. "Oh, if they would but come again, I'd never grieve them more." It is this which makes tears scald. To how many a grown heart have not those childish words of the infant hymn gone home, sharp, with an undying pang!

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

Constantine the Great, in order to reclaim a very worldly man, marked out, with a lance, a piece of ground the size of a human body, and then said, "If you could increase your possessions till you acquired the whole world, in a short time such a spot as this will be all you will have."

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