Genesis 23:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 23:4, NIV: "I am a foreigner and stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead.'"

Genesis 23:4, ESV: "“I am a sojourner and foreigner among you; give me property among you for a burying place, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.”"

Genesis 23:4, KJV: "I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight."

Genesis 23:4, NASB: "'I am a stranger and a foreign resident among you; give me a burial site among you so that I may bury my dead out of my sight.'"

Genesis 23:4, NLT: "'Here I am, a stranger and a foreigner among you. Please sell me a piece of land so I can give my wife a proper burial.'"

Genesis 23:4, CSB: ""I am an alien residing among you. Give me burial property among you so that I can bury my dead.""

What does Genesis 23:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Abraham wants to secure the permanent ownership of a burying place in the land of Canaan. He approaches the Hittites, the rightful owners of the place he wishes to buy. He describes his situation clearly and simply.

Abraham is a sojourner, a traveler, someone who is not a permanent resident in a place. He is also a foreigner. This is not his country—yet. God has promised Him that it will be the possession of his offspring. Though he will pay for it, Abraham is asking to be given place to permanently bury his dead. This is part of the eventual possession of the land by Israel; burying one's dead in a specific place is a sign of ownership.

It is possible that Abraham stood before these Hittite men still dressed in his torn garments, with unkempt hair and covered in ashes, having just come from mourning his wife according to the custom of the day. If so, the reason for his request would have been apparent, and the Hittites seem to receive it in a spirit of goodwill and openness, as described in the following verses.