Genesis 23

Brian Brookins Bible Commentary

Genesis 23

Living as Exiles

At first read you may wonder why so much is made of Sarah’s burial place and the manner in which Abraham purchased it.

Hebrews 11 offers some insight:

Hebrews 11:9 (ESV)

9 By faith he [Abraham] went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.

Hebrews 11:13 (ESV)

13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

The Scripture is accentuating the fact that Abraham lived as an exile in the land promised him.  But he believed; he acted in faith, purchasing the land (even at an exaggerated price), and thus demonstrating his faith in God’s promises.

The Apostle Peter makes direct application to you and me.  Notice in the following how Peter uses this motif to call us to live holy, that is “separate”, lives:

1 Peter 1:13–19 (ESV; emphasis added)

13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.