Admittedly, I am one of those Westerners who would not do well in a bartering culture. You tell me that something costs a certain amount, that is the price I will pay you. I don’t haggle and I don’t finagle. Just sell it to me.

The story here in Genesis 23 is a sad one. Abraham mourns the passing of his wife, Sarah, and he has no where to bury her, since he doesn’t technically own any land nearby. He offers to buy a specific plot from a Hittite named Ephron, and they have a brief exchange. Nothing else much happens, but it does give us an interesting insight into Abraham’s status among foreigners, and a glimpse of their customs. The deal is a bit shady, and the price slightly inflated, so maybe Ephron wasn’t as forthright as he should have been in a time of crisis, but apparently Abraham could afford it.

Supposedly, this Cave of Machpelah is where Abraham is also buried, along with his son Isaac and grandson Jacob, as well as their respective wives, Rebekah and Leah. However, there is currently a Muslim mosque sitting on top of it, and the tombs have been inaccessible for some time.