Genesis 23:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 23:11, NIV: "No, my lord,' he said. 'Listen to me; I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. I give it to you in the presence of my people. Bury your dead.'"

Genesis 23:11, ESV: "“No, my lord, hear me: I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. In the sight of the sons of my people I give it to you. Bury your dead.”"

Genesis 23:11, KJV: "Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead."

Genesis 23:11, NASB: "'No, my lord, listen to me; I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. In the presence of the sons of my people I give it to you; bury your dead.'"

Genesis 23:11, NLT: "'No, my lord,' he said to Abraham, 'please listen to me. I will give you the field and the cave. Here in the presence of my people, I give it to you. Go and bury your dead.'"

Genesis 23:11, CSB: ""No, my lord. Listen to me. I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. I give it to you in the sight of my people. Bury your dead.""

What does Genesis 23:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Before a group of Hittite elders and landowners, Abraham has publicly offered to buy a cave from a man named Ephron. It is located at the end of a field in Machpelah. Now Ephron responds, also publicly, that he wishes to give both the cave and the field to Abraham as a gift. He encourages Abraham to bury his dead there.

It is unlikely that Ephron intended to actually "gift" the field and cave to Abraham without payment. Most likely, this was simply the customary pattern of Middle Eastern bargaining at this time in history. This partly explains why Ephron includes the field as well as the cave; he is countering Abraham's request by increasing the size of the transaction. Perhaps Ephron did not want to sell the cave without the field, so he offered to "give" them both to Abraham, knowing Abraham would then offer to pay for them.

The other possibility is that Ephron did not want to give up permanent ownership of the cave. Perhaps by "giving" it to Abraham, his people would retain ultimate ownership of the cave and the field in the long run, creating a long-term loan of sorts. His offer to "give" the property, then, might have been intended as just that, though it would have come with obligations.

In any case, the next verses will reveal that Abraham is not interested in receiving this property as a gift. He wants to have full, legal rights to the property.