After the death of Sarah Abraham mourned for her. We don’t know how long they had been married, but they had been together for over 60 years since we were first introduced to them in chapter 11 of the book of Genesis.
Seeing as how they were half sister and brother, they knew each other since Sarah’s birth. Thus Abraham was grieving for his sister of 127 years and his wife of over 60 years at the same time. Genesis 23:2 is the first verse in the Bible that specifically mentions someone mourning. It does not mention if Abraham sat shiva or if he held a memorial service for her, but there is an indication of something along that line at the death of Abraham, more on that in a few more paragraphs.
Proper grieving is important. The next chapter in the Bible, Genesis 24:67 mentions that Isaac was still grieving his mother Sarah three years later when it says, “Isaac brought (Rebekah) into his mother Sarah’s tent… and she became his wife, and he loved her. Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.” Sarah’s tent had remained standing for at least those three years. Isaac might not have done things that would have helped him properly grieve his mother, Sarah’s, death. There is no mention of Isaac participating in the burial, no mention of him or his father, Abraham, having a memorial service or sitting shiva. Sitting shiva is not mentioned until Joseph mourning his father Jacob. Isaac seems to have done better with the death of his father, Abraham, again, more on that in a few more paragraphs.
When Sarah died Abraham sought a place to bury her. He choose a field and cave owned by Ephron the Hittite and asked him to “give” it to him and he will “pay” him for it. The two of them go back and forth using these concepts “give” and “price.” Those seem not only opposites but in opposition to each other. In our society you can’t “pay” for a “gift,” and you can’t “charge” for a “gift.” But we see in this story that nothing is free – even gifts. Nothing is free, even our salvation (that is an interesting, in some circles heretical, but Biblical concept – click on the video with this article to understand this truth). In some way shape of form someone, including all of us, pay for everything.
Death of Abraham
Abraham outlived Sarah by about another 40 years. During that time he remarried and had more children. When He died Isaac invited Ismael to come back and participate in the burial. Isaac would be about 75 years old by this time and obviously did not hold a grudge against Ismael. Abraham willed everything to Isaac. It does not seem like Ismael was jealous of that. Both came together to remember their father Abraham. How beautiful.
Twenty seven sermons
This sermon concludes the series on the life of Abraham by Rabbi Jeff Zaremsky. With a total of 27 sermons in this series it very well might be the most comprehensive sermon series on the 15 chapters of Genesis from chapters 11 to 25, which record the life of Abraham and Sarah.
Come along for the Adventure, you will stay for the Shalom – ShalomAdventure.com