Genesis Chapter 23
The first two verses of chapter 23 we are told Sarah has died. Abraham, a faithful servant of God showed his deep feelings over the loss of his beloved and loyal wife. They had served Jehovah together all their married life. Although he was a brave man, he was not ashamed to express his grief in tears. Yes, Abraham had a strong faith that God could resurrect the dead, still he grieved openly.
Abraham knew this land well. He and Sarah had traveled up and down the land. However, as alien residents, settlers among the sons of Heth, they had no place to bury their dead loved ones. Abraham wanted to bury Sarah in a cave of Machpelah at the far end of the field belonging to Ephron the son of Zohar. Abraham offers to buy the cave for a set amount of silver.- verses 3-9
Ephron and Abraham conducted their business publicly at the gate of the city. There Ephron made a counter offer, not just the cave but also the field. Abraham agreed to this arrangement and weighed out four hundred silver shekels. - verse 10-20. (Compare Genesis 14:23)
To help prevent misunderstandings in business dealings, notice how Abraham bought this piece of land. He "weighed out to Ephron the amount of silver that he had spoke in the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred silver shekels current with the merchants. Thus the field of Ephron that was Machpelah ... became confirmed to Abraham as his purchased property before the eyes of the sons of Heth among those entering the gate of his city." -Gen 23: 16,17,20.
This was no private gentleman's agreement. It was a formal agreement confirmed in front of witnesses. There was no misunderstanding about what had been purchased and the exact price. How does this information benefit us? It is wise for Christians to formalize important transactions. How?
By putting the transaction in writing. The persons involved should write, what is sold, the price, the method of payment, when and how the payment is made, as well as any other condition agreed upon. If it is a service, you should write down the work to be done, when it should be completed, the price and any other factors. This document should be dated and signed and a copy kept by both parties.
This is the wise way to conduct business with any one. Not because of mistrust, but to avoid misunderstandings.
(In case you were wondering: Heth was the second listed son of Canaan and the great-grandson of Noah through Ham. (Ge 10:1, 6, 15) Heth was the ancestral father of the Hittites, who did not worship Abraham's God, Jehovah. Their religion was pagan, undoubtedly being phallic, as were other Canaanite religions.)