The Meaning of Genesis 23:3 Explained

Genesis 23:3

KJV: And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying,

YLT: And Abraham riseth up from the presence of his dead, and speaketh unto the sons of Heth, saying,

Darby: And Abraham rose up from before his dead, and spoke to the sons of Heth, saying,

ASV: And Abraham rose up from before his dead, and spake unto the children of Heth, saying,

What does Genesis 23:3 Mean?

Context Summary

Genesis 23:1-20 - Abraham Buys A Burial Place
Death is an ever-constant monitor that this world is not our home. We rise up from before our dead to confess that we are only strangers and sojourners on the earth. Though the whole country, by God's deed and gift, belonged to Abraham, it had not as yet been made over; hence the necessity for this deliberate purchase with all the stately formalities of the leisured East. Abraham's insistence on buying this grave, and the care with which the negotiations were pursued, show that he realized that his descendants would come again into that land and possess it. It was as though he felt that he and Sarah should lie there awaiting the return of their children and children's children. See also Genesis 49:29-30. So the graves of the martyrs and of missionaries who have fallen at the post of duty are the silent outposts that hold those lands for Christ, as the graves of the saints await the Second Advent. [source]

Chapter Summary: Genesis 23

1  The age and death of Sarah
3  The purchase of the field and cave of Machpelah;
19  where Sarah is buried

What do the individual words in Genesis 23:3 mean?

And stood up Abraham from before his dead wife and spoke to the sons of Heth saying
וַיָּ֙קָם֙ אַבְרָהָ֔ם מֵעַ֖ל פְּנֵ֣י מֵת֑וֹ וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר אֶל־ בְּנֵי־ חֵ֖ת לֵאמֹֽר

וַיָּ֙קָם֙  And  stood  up 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Consecutive imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: קוּם 
Sense: to rise, arise, stand, rise up, stand up.
אַבְרָהָ֔ם  Abraham 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: אַבְרָהָם  
Sense: friend of God and founder of Hebrew nation via God’s elective covenant.
פְּנֵ֣י  before 
Parse: Noun, common plural construct
Root: לִפְנֵי 
Sense: face.
מֵת֑וֹ  his  dead  wife 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Participle, masculine singular construct, third person masculine singular
Root: מוּת  
Sense: to die, kill, have one executed.
וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר  and  spoke 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Piel, Consecutive imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: דָּבַר 
Sense: to speak, declare, converse, command, promise, warn, threaten, sing.
בְּנֵי־  the  sons 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural construct
Root: בֵּן 
Sense: son, grandson, child, member of a group.
חֵ֖ת  of  Heth 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: חֵת  
Sense: a son of Canaan and the progenitor of the Hittites.
לֵאמֹֽר  saying 
Parse: Preposition-l, Verb, Qal, Infinitive construct
Root: אָמַר 
Sense: to say, speak, utter.