Parshat Chayey Sarah — Roots in Hebron
Roots in Hebron (Genesis 23-25:18)
This week we read about the death of Abraham’s wife, Sarah, who died at the age of one hundred and twenty-seven, and her burial in the city of Hebron. We also read about Abraham’s family after his death and subsequent burial in Hebron as well as Isaac’s marriage to Rebecca. Thus it seems quite appropriate to ‘visit’ Hebron, the City of the Patriarchs and the Matriarchs, and learn about its importance.
The Jewish tradition says that Sarah died beautiful and sinless in a manner that reminds us of the Christian tradition of Mary, mother of Jesus, who also died beautiful and without sin and was buried in Jerusalem in the Kidron Valley. Abraham searches for a burial plot and the local Chetites offer him their caves for free. However, Abraham knows that “easy come easy go” and knows that the people have no faith in God, despite the divine promise, and concludes that if he wants to keep the land forever he must buy the plot with money. Abraham wants to buy the Cave from a man named Ephron – a very suitable name that means dirt in Hebrew. A typical middle eastern negotiation starts: Ephron says he is willing to give Abraham the land for free for his great honor, but it ends up with a huge sum of four hundred shekels of silver.
Abraham is willing to pay any sum to insure that the purchase is legal and eternal. Indeed, in the book of Genesis we will read how Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, will also be buried in this cave.
Hundreds of years later, Hebron will be the capital of the tribe of Judah, and later the first capital of King David for seven years. Only after King David connected to the roots of his faith is he able to move his capital to Jerusalem. And it is from Jerusalem that he will be able to rule over the tribes of Israel. There are many similarities between King David and Jesus: both were born in Bethlehem, less than half an hour’s drive from Hebron, both started their ministry in a different city- Hebron and Capernaum, and both ended up in Jerusalem- King David ruled 33 years in Jerusalem and Jesus was crucified at the age of 33 in Jerusalem .
The connection between Abraham, King David and Jesus is not only geographical. As written at the beginning of the Gospel by Matthew- Jesus is the descendent of the two, and clearly there is a spiritual connection: “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6) and in the new testament in the epistle to the Galatians 3:
14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
When you come to visit Israel, do not forget to visit the Patriarchs and the Matriarchs who are the foundations of faith.
Itamar Ben David is a professional tour guide and educator. He is one of the most popular Travelujah guides providing valuable biblical, historical and modern day insight on the land of Israel to Jewish and Christian groups and exclusive private tours. He has guided famous media personalities such as Larry King, congressmen and other VIP clients. He and his wife live in Jerusalem.