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Bible Commentaries

Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible

Genesis 23

Verses 1-20

We now see Abraham in the midst of personal sorrow, which reveals his character in a remarkable way.

Sarah, who had ever been to him a princess, was now taken from his side, which meant the loss of the strongest human prop to Abraham's faith. It must be remembered that she had been with him along the whole pathway of obedience from Ur of the Chaldees. She had shared his hours of darkness and his hours of light. Doubtless at times she had been a cause of fear and trembling to him, and his very love for her had brought him to some deflections from faith. But far more often her comradeship had strengthened him.

When she died, Abraham is seen in his action as a man full of the dignity that comes from faith. He was first of all a mourner, shedding the tears which expressed the sorrow and loneliness of his life. Faith never kills affection, and the man was keenly alive to the loss he had sustained.

Yet faith never allows sorrow to overwhelm. He "rose up from before his dead." His next action was definitely one of faith. He did not take Sarah to Ur, but buried her in the land which God had given to him. That faith operated, moreover, in the method he now followed. He was willing to receive the land as a gift from God, but would not receive part of God's gift as a gift from the sons of Heth. Abraham's first actual possession in the land, therefore, was a grave. This in itself is a teaching and a prophecy. God begins where man ends. The sorrows of life reveal a man's true character as perhaps nothing else can. Faith weeps beside the dead and then moves on to fulfillment of duty as it puts a check on sorrow. Faith takes hold of earth's greatest despair, death, and makes it the occasion of a possession which holds within itself all the future.

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Bibliographical Information
Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Genesis 23". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gcm/genesis-23.html. 1857-84.