Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Genesis 23:1-2 Abraham loses Sarah

Genesis 23:1-2: Now Sarah lived one hundred and twenty-seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died in Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan; and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.

A new chapter begins in the life of Abraham when Sarah, at the ripe old age of 127 years, died. In Genesis 17:17 we learned that Sarah was 90 years old when Abraham was 100 years old. We last left off with our timeline study (moving forwards from Genesis 1) as follows:

• 3257 Abraham was 86 when Hagar bore Ishmael to him (Gen. 16:16)
• 3270 Abraham was 99 when God appears to him (Gen. 17:1)
• 3271 Abraham was 100 when Sarah bore Isaac to him (Gen. 21:5)

Now we can add the following date:

• 3271 Sarah was 90 when she bore Issac to Abraham (from Gen. 17:17 & 21:5)
• 3308 Sarah died at age 127 (Gen. 23:1)
• 3308 Isaac was 37 years old when Sarah died (3308 – 3271)

The text says she died in Hebron. We last heard at the end of the previous chapter that Abraham lived in Beersheba. Strong’s Concordance tells us that Hebron is a city in south Judah approximately twenty miles south of Jerusalem and approximately twenty miles (30 kilometres) north of Beersheba. That is quite a distance for that time in history and thus we can only assume that for some reason, Sarah had been visiting or had traveled to Hebron when she died, some twenty miles from home. There is nothing that indicates that Abraham had been with her at the time or whether he had been back in Beersheba.

What we do know is that the scripture says Abraham “went in to mourn” for Sarah and “to weep” for her. The King James Version says, Abraham “came” to mourn for Sarah. In either case, he did mourn for her. Strong’s indicates that the Hebrew word used here implies wailing, lamenting, and beating of the breast. Anyone who has experienced Middle Easterners or even Europeans mourning would know exactly what is meant. Clearly Abraham loved Sarah and this was indeed a great loss for him. Those who have been married a long time and have shared life together, both the good and bad, suffer greatly when one of the partners dies. Those of us who still have our spouses of many years are never really prepared when that time arrives when our loved one is no more. May God give each of us the understanding to be patient with and loving towards those that lose a beloved spouse in their later years. May those of us that are married cherish each day with our spouse for one day we will be left alone.

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