Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, July 13th, 2024
the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14
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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 23

The Church Pulpit CommentaryChurch Pulpit Commentary

Verse 19


‘Abraham buried Sarah his wife.’

Genesis 23:19

From this simple and touching story of death in the home we may learn how we should behave in times of bereavement. The true attitude at such times is threefold:—

I. Sorrowing love.—The expression of love in sorrow is as natural as it is inevitable and beautiful. A consciousness of loss cannot fail to produce sorrow, and no one is to be blamed for feeling and expressing a sense of bereavement. It would be utterly unnatural if death were to come without eliciting sorrow.

II. Faithful service.—At the same time in order that the soul may not be swallowed up with over-much sorrow there comes to us all at such occasions the call to and opportunity for definite service. The memory of a loved one is best treasured by doing what that loved one would wish were she here. Service always prevents sorrow from becoming dissipated in idle regrets and mere remembrance.

III. Blessed hope.—Abraham laid Sarah’s body to rest ‘in sure and certain hope’ of a joyful resurrection ( Hebrews 11:14). It was this above all things that upheld and strengthened him as he bade farewell to the wife who had shared his joys and sorrows for so many years. The expectation and anticipation of reunion in Christ on the Day of Resurrection is still the real hope, the blessed comfort, and the strong inspiration of the people of God. It enables them to look upon death without fear and to look forward without dread: ‘In the midst of death they are in life’ through Him Who is the Resurrection and the Life.

Rev. W. H. Griffith-Thomas, d.d.


‘The graves of the great ancestors of any people are always the sacred treasures of coming generations. Mecca, where the dust of Mohammed sleeps, is the goal to which every good Moslem turns with longing thoughts; and even the combatants in the Far East agreed to respect the ancient tombs of the Chinese Imperial Family. In striking contrast to this universal sentiment, how remarkable it is that Christians gather at the mouth of an empty grave, and hear the angels saying: “He is not here, He is risen; come see the place where He lay.” Our affections are set, not on Calvary or the Garden Tomb, but on Heaven. Our minds and thoughts thither ascend and there continually dwell, where the risen Lord is seated at the right hand of God.’

Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Genesis 23". The Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cpc/genesis-23.html. 1876.
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