You are your mother’s daughter (Ezek 16:44-16:45)



Who uses proverbs

Will use this proverb

About you.

‘Like mother,

Like daughter.’

You are the daughter

Of your mother.

She loathed

Her husband.

She loathed

Her children.

You are the sister

Of your sisters.

They loathed

Their husbands,

They loathed

Their children.

Your mother was

A Hittite.

Your father was

An Amorite.”

Everyone who used proverbs would say of Jerusalem that she was ‘like mother, like daughter.’ It was and still is common to say that a daughter was like her mother. Thus Jerusalem was like her mother who disliked her husband and her children. On top of that, she was like her sisters, who also despised their husbands and their children. After all, her mother was a Hittite, while her father was an Amorite, both distinct Canaanites tribes, not Israelites.

Isaac sends Jacob to Laban (Gen 27:46-28:5)

“Then Rebekah said to Isaac, ‘I am weary of my life because of the Hittite women. If Jacob marries one of the Hittite women such as these, one of the women of the land, what good will my life be to me?’  Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him, and charged him, ‘You shall not marry one of the Canaanite women.  Go at once to Paddan-aram to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father.  Take as a wife from there one of the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother.  May El Shaddai, the Almighty one, bless you and make you fruitful and numerous, that you may become a company of peoples. May he give to you the blessing of Abraham, and to you and your offspring with you, so that you may take possession of the land where you now live as an alien, the land that God gave to Abraham.’  Thus Isaac sent Jacob away.  He went to Paddan-aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob’s and Esau’s mother.”

Rebekah did not like the Hittite women and did not want Jacob to marry any of them.  Isaac also said not to marry any Canaanite women.  Isaac decided to send Jacob to Rebekah’s brother in order to marry one of his daughters, one of his first cousins.  Once again Isaac gave him the blessing of Abraham as Jacob went to Haran to visit Laban.  Now this story contradicts the Yahweh story ahead of it.   There Rebekah sent Jacob away without the advice of Isaac, but here it is a joint action and in fact it is mostly Isaac who favors him leaving.  Paddan-aram is the same as Haran.   Notice Isaac thinks it better to marry your first cousin than any of the local women.  This has God El Shaddai, the almighty one, bless him rather than Yahweh.

The Hittite wives of Esau (Gen 26:34-26:35)

“When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite.  They made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah.”

When Esau was 40 years old he married Judith, the daughter of Beeri, and Basemath, the daughter of Elon, both were Hittites.  Judith was also the name of the Book of Judith, found in the Septuagint only. There is no further mention of this Judith when the list of wives of Esau appears later.  Beeri was also the name of the father of Hosea the prophet. Basemath is mentioned more often than Judith.  Elon was a common name and the name of a place.  These two wives made life ‘bitter’ for Isaac and Rebekah, with no mention of why.  Perhaps the Hittites apparently were not too friendly.

The death of Abraham (Gen 25:7- 25:11)

“This is the length of Abraham’s life, one hundred seventy-five years.  Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people. His sons, Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, east of Mamre, the field that Abraham purchased from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried, with his wife Sarah.  After the death of Abraham, God blessed his son Isaac.  Isaac dwelt at Beer-lahai-roi.”

Abraham lived to be a 175 years so that he ‘died in a good old age, an old man and full of years and was gathered to his people.’  That is a beautiful phrase, ‘full of years.’  His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him with Sarah in the cave of Machpelah that he had purchased for her.   Isaac settled in Beer-lahai-roi.  There is no mention of Keturah and her 6 sons.  It is quite possible that she could have been his wife for the last thirty years of his life.  Apparently, they and Ishmael are out of luck, as Isaac got everything.

The tomb of the patriarchs (Gen 23:1-23:20)

 “Sarah lived a hundred twenty-seven years.  This was the length of Sarah’s life.  Sarah died at Kiriath-arba, that is, Hebron, in the land of Canaan.  Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.  Abraham rose up from beside his dead wife, and said to the Hittites,  ‘I am a stranger and an alien resident among you. Give me property among you for a burying place, so that I may bury my dead out of my sight.’  The Hittites answered Abraham,  ‘Hear us, my lord.  You are a mighty prince among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our burial places.  None of us will withhold from you burial ground for burying your dead.’  Abraham rose and bowed to the Hittites, the people of the land.  He said to them, ‘If you are willing that I should bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and entreat for me Ephron son of Zohar, so that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he owns.  It is at the end of his field.  For the full price let him give it to me in your presence as a possession for a burying place.’  Now Ephron was sitting among the Hittites.  Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the Hittites, of all who went in at the gate of his city, ‘No, my lord, hear me.  I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it.  In the presence of my people I give it to you.  Bury your dead.’  Then Abraham bowed down before the people of the land.   He said to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, ‘If you only will listen to me!  I will give the price of the field.  Accept it from me, so that I may bury my dead there.’  Ephron answered Abraham, ‘My lord, listen to me.  This piece of land is worth four hundred shekels of silver, what is that between you and me? Bury your dead.’  Abraham agreed with Ephron.  Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver which he had named in the hearing of the Hittites, four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weights current among the merchants.”

Sarah died at Kiriath-arba, which is Hebron, when she was 127 years old so that her son Isaac would be 37 when she died.  Abraham mourned for her and asked the Hittites for a burial place.  They told him to bury her where ever he pleased.  However, he wanted the cave and the land at Machpelah, east of Mamre, which belonged to Ephron, the son of Zohar. Ephron said take it, but Abraham offered 400 shekels of silver which Ephron took.  This was the first purchase of land that is recorded since the others seemed like gifts.  So Sarah and the descendants of Abraham had a burial place.

 “So the field of Ephron in Machpelah, which was to the east of Mamre, the field with the cave that was in it and all the trees that were in the field, throughout its whole area, passed to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the Hittites, in the presence of who went in at the gate of his city.  After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah facing Mamre, that is, Hebron, in the land of Canaan.  The field and the cave that is in it passed from the Hittites into Abraham’s possession as a burying place.”

Were other patriarchs buried here?  Hebron will become an important place for the biblical writers.  The Hittites seem very friendly here but they will be one of the seven nations conquered in the invasion of Canaan by Joshua.  There is a city and a mountain named after Ephron.  This was an official transaction that took place at the gate to the town where all the legal actions took place.