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Genesis 23: Abraham suffers his wife's death and the Hittites' puns

File:Burial Cave of Sarah P1030724.JPG
Sarah's burial cave.  (The gate was added later.)




Sarah died at 127 years of age, and it was hard on Abraham.   After mourning a while, he realized that, like a lot of people, he hadn’t given much thought to estate planning.  He asked the Hittites if they could help him out, and one among them said, “Sure, we can provide your wife’s lot.”  Abraham glowered at the one-liner.

“Aren’t you the card?” he said saltily.

“Oh, sorry… too soon?”

Ignoring the matter, Abraham went on with his request.  “I like your cemetery, but really, what I had in mind was more of a cave, specifically the cave owned by Ephron, son of Zohar.  Any chance you guys could help me persuade him to give me that cave?”

It turned out Ehron was there among the Hittites when Abraham asked, and he was only too happy to do it.  “Look, Abraham, the land and the cave retail at around 400 shekels, but you can have it gratis.  Go ahead and salt your wife away in there; I don’t mind.”

Abraham considered this.  “Your pun doesn’t quite scan,” he said.  “The other one made more sense.  It still annoys me, but since I’m getting free land, I can drop it.”

“The plot thickens!” cried one of the Hittites.

“Hey, light a candle for Lot’s wife!” cried another.

Abraham, calm at last that he’d settled the problem of where to bury his wife and, one day, himself, left the Hittites to their awful puns.  “These people are nice enough,” he said to himself, “but I wouldn’t want any of my kids marrying one.”

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