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“No, my lord, hear me: I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. In the presence of the sons of my people I give it to you. Bury your dead.” Bible

“I give you the field.” It is unclear exactly what Ephron is saying here (and it may have been unclear to Abraham too). It may be that he is going back to the original Hittite position in Genesis 23:6, that Abraham was welcome to use the cave and the field as well, but Ephron was reluctant to sell it; or it may have been that Ephron was using an oriental custom of giving something away in full knowledge that custom would dictate that Abraham then would have to make certain gifts or concessions back to Ephron, and Ephron knew Abraham was rich and powerful. What is clear from oriental custom is that Ephron was not simply giving Abraham the field and cave. Abraham was not deterred by this unclear negotiation, and clearly insisted on paying for the cave, at which point Ephron decided upon what he considered a fair price and Abraham paid it.


Commentary for: Genesis 23:11