15 My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead. 16 And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant. 17 And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure 18 Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city. 19 And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan.
Here we have the conclusion of this gentlemanly negotiation. At Abraham’s insistence, Ephron names the price for the cave and accompanying field. Ephron follows it up with “what is that betwixt me and thee?” which I take to mean, “four hundred shekels is unimportant to me, you really don’t need to pay for this.” But Abraham keeps to his word and measures out the full amount.
And there are two details to note here. Abraham is paying in full right up front. There is no loan, no interest, he covers the whole thing at once. The second detail is that Abraham is paying with “current money” that was still good “with the merchant.” Nothing outdated, nothing counterfeit, nothing left to be paid off. It was a full transaction and the matter is completely resolved.
Then verse seventeen and eighteen speak again to that reason that Abraham paid for this land so quickly and carefully: so that the ownership would be “made sure.” The entire transaction had been done “in the presence of the children of Heth,” so that there were many witnesses to it.
Only now, when Abraham has done absolutely everything within his power to make Sarah’s resting place permanent and sure, does he lay her down to her burial. He has made as much certainty as any mortal ever could that she will never be disturbed in her slumber.
There are some wonderful lessons to be gleaned from this chapter about how to treat friends and family with honor and dignity. Abraham is the epitome of a gentleman in these passages, treating everyone with graciousness and also fulfilling his every duty.