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Bible Commentaries

Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Genesis 23

Verse 1

Sara. She is the only woman whose age the Scripture specifies; a distinction which her exalted dignity and faith deserved. (Galatians iv. 23; Hebrews xi. 11.) She was a figure of the Christian Church. (Calmet)

Verse 2

City. Hebrew, Cariath arbah, Josue xiv. 15. --- Which is Hebron. Serarius thinks it took its name from the society (cherber) between Abraham and the princes of the city. Hebron the son of Caleb possessed it afterwards. --- Came from Bersabee, (chap. xxii. 19.) or to the place where the corpse lay, at Arbee, which signifies four; as Adam, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with their four wives, reposed there. (Calmet) --- And weep. In the middle of this word, in the printed Hebrew, there is left a small c; whence the Rabbins ridiculously infer, that Abraham wept but a short time. But the retaining of greater, less, suspended and inverted letters in the Hebrew Bible, can be attributed to no other cause than a scrupulous veneration even for the faults of transcribers. (Kennicott)

Verse 3

Obsequies, or solemn mourning, accompanied with prayer. (Acts viii. 2; Matthew xii.) The Jews are still accustomed to say, when they bury their dead, "Ye fathers, who sleep in Hebron, open to him the gates of Eden;" herein agreeing with the Catholic doctrine, as they did in the days of Judas the Machabee. (Haydock)

Verse 6

Prince of God, powerful and holy, and worthy of respect. (Haydock) --- A great prince. See Acts vii. 5, where St. Stephen says, that God did not give Abraham a foot of land, meaning as an inheritance; and that Abraham bought this double cave, for a sepulchre, of the sons of Hemor, the son of Sichem; (Calmet) from which latter he seems to derive the name of the place, which is here called Hebron. (Haydock) --- Nothing is more common, than for men and places to have two names; though some think, the name of Abraham has been inserted in the Acts by a mistake of the copyists, when Jacob was meant. See chap. xxxiii. 19. (Calmet)

Verse 7

Bowed down to the people. Adoravit, literally, adored. But this word here, as well as in many other places in the Latin Scriptures, is used to signify only an inferior honour and reverence paid to men, expressed by a bowing down of the body.

Verse 16

Sicles. About £50. (Haydock) --- It was no simony to buy land for a sepulchre, as it was not blessed. (Menochius) --- Current money, was such as passed among merchants, though probably not yet coined in any part of the world; and therefore we find, that Abraham and others weigh the pieces of silver or gold. In this manner were bargains concluded before witnesses, who in those days supplied the want of writings and lawyers. (Calmet)

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Genesis 23". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hcc/genesis-23.html. 1859.