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1 And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah.

2 And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.

3 And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying,

4 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.

Burial of the Dead

As to the burial of dead bodies, a few words only are necessary. The Bible makes but little account of them or their burial; superstition, much of both. With this, the burial of the dead is a religious institution; and in proportion as the mind is spoiled by it so will it ceremonialize their obsequies.

The Lord Jesus Christ never officiated in burial services, or "funerals," as they are called, and discouraged the practice in his disciples. When he visited dead bodies, it was to raise them, and on those occasions he very unceremoniously put out the performers of funeral decencies. "Follow me!" said he to one of his disciples. "But he said, 'Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.'"

To a stickler for "the decencies of society" this would be regarded as a very reasonable request, and the teacher of religion that would refuse to allow it would be considered, by "the pious" of this "enlightened generation," as an unfeeling and unchristian character. But there is no accord between the thinking of the flesh and the thinking of the spirit. What pietists approve, Jesus refused to allow. "Let the dead bury their dead," said he; "but go thou and preach the kingdom of God."

This reply, however, does not meet Brother Hayes' inquiry. It only commands a disciple of Christ to leave the burying of those who have died in their sins to the attention of the living, who are "dead in trespasses and sins." A Christian of the Bible order is not to concern himself with the burial of sinners-let sinners bury their own dead.

But who shall bury the saints? The saints and their friends. And with what ceremonies? Consider the burial of the King of Saints. Who buried him? and with what formalities? Joseph and Nicodemus, men waiting for the kingdom of God, obtained the body, and wound it in linen, with spices, and laid it in a cave. There was no verbal ceremony, but a quiet and affectionate putting out of sight of the body in the usual way. I should prefer to bury my own, and be buried after this simple and unobtrusive example.


Herald of the kingdom and age to come, Feb 1854


5 And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him,

6 Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty [Elohim] prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead.

The above

is rendered 'very incorrectly'!

'Hear us Adoni, a prince of Elohim art thou amongst us' - 

Phanerosis - Hebrew titles of the Deity

7 And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth.

8 And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar,

9 That he may 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.

10 And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and 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,

11 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.

12 And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land.

13 And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there.

14 And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him,

15 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.

16 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.

17 And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure

18 Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city.

19 And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan.

20 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.