Abraham was a man of integrity. At the age of 127, Sarah died and Abraham inquired of the people in Canaan to purchase a place for her to be buried in the land promised by God. Notice the exchange and Abraham’s response.
1. The request
Gen. 23:3-4 “And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying, I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.”
V9 “give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you.”
2. The offers
V10b-11 “Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying, Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead.”
V15 “My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead.”
3. The response
V16 “And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant.”
V20 “And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a buryingplace by the sons of Heth.”
LESSON - Twice Ephron attempted to give the place to Abraham as an act of goodwill and charity. Abraham, being a man of integrity and not desiring to take advantage of anyone, publicly paid him the actual value of the property. V20 Shows that Abraham handled the matter as a business transaction. Abraham revealed through this exchange the importance of maintaining integrity regarding our business dealings. It is not wrong to receive charity when you are in need, but we should not view our unfortunate circumstances or the emotional response of others as an opportunity to take advantage of the charity of others when it is not merited. To always handle our affairs with integrity even during unfortunate circumstances provides a wonderful testimony to the world. God’s people must remain people of integrity regardless of the circumstances. How else will the world ever see that what we have in Christ is real and transformative? Integrity always matters!!