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In Chapter 23 Sarah dies at the age 120 in Hebron and Abraham purchases land from locals, using the sons of Heth as intermediaries. Abraham said, “Hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth.”

The cave changed hands for 400 shekels of silver. This eventually was where Abraham is laid to rest, as well as his son Isaac and wife Rebecca, and his grandson Jacob and wife Leah. The site is shown in the picture above, and it is the second holiest site in Judaism after the Temple Mount.

Today Jews refer to Genesis 23 as “evidence” that they have a claim on the West Bank, but obviously if Abraham bought the land from locals, then the only claim he had was the land that he bought, and Jews cannot say they are the sole heir of Abraham. Even Christians and Muslims revere the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, and in fact Arabs have joint custody of what is called the “Cave of the Patriarchs”. Abraham, after all, is their exalted father too.

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Strangers In Paradise