New Defender's Study Bible Notes
23:15 shekels of silver. At this time, the shekel was not a coin as such, but rather a specified weight, probably about two-fifths of an ounce.
23:17 Machpelah. There is a seeming discrepancy between this passage and the statement of Stephen (Acts 7:16) that Abraham’s purchased sepulcher was in Shechem. A possible explanation is that he bought the latter for his later family born of Keturah (Genesis 23:1; 25:1). These children then eventually lost it to the Hivites, from whom Jacob repurchased it for an altar eighty-five years after Abraham’s death (Genesis 33:20). It was later given to Joseph, and he and probably his brothers were eventually buried in it (Joshua 24:32; Acts 7:15,16).
23:19 Sarah his wife. Sarah is the only woman in the Bible whose age at death is given (Genesis 23:1). Isaac was thirty-seven when she died. As Abraham is called the father of all believers, so Sarah is considered mother of all believing women (I Peter 3:5,6), and she died in faith (Hebrews 11:13).
23:20 a possession. Although God had promised Abraham a vast nation, the only land he ever owned in Canaan was this burial ground. Later, he, as well as Isaac and Jacob, Leah and Rebekah, would also be buried here (Genesis 25:9; 35:27,29; 49:30,31; 50:13). Today there is a Muslim mosque over the alleged site of this cave.
23:20 sons of Heth. This entire transaction has been illuminated by archaeology, and there is little doubt that it reflects accurately the customs of that period (around 1900 B.C.), especially among the Hittites, an early colony of which had settled in Canaan by then. Ephron, from whom Abraham purchased the cave, was a Hittite (Genesis 23:10), and the Hittites (known on the monuments as Hatti) were “sons of Heth,” who was a son of Canaan (Genesis 10:15). The great Hittite Empire was centered in what is now Turkey, but had colonies in various places. This covenant between Abraham and Ephron contains a number of words and concepts now known to be typical of Hittite documents.