And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah.…
Perhaps we who lead briefer and, at the same time, more stirring and varied lives, with rapid change and a multitude of interests to divide attention, cannot fully realize how the members of such a home circle as Abraham's grew into each other, or how one out of such a circle would be missed. Through long unbroken periods they lived constantly together, and were everything to one another. Of society, except that of their own slaves, there was little or none. The round of easy occupations which made up their shepherd life left ample leisure for domestic converse. It was inevitable that their lives should grow together as if welded into one. Husband and wife, parent and child, must have moulded one another's character to an extent hardly possible in other states of society. Stronger natures impressed themselves upon feebler ones. The older generation made that which succeeded it. The experiences and the teaching of the aged father created an unwritten family code, which ruled alike his son and his grandson. Each memorable incident in the family annals crystallized itself, no doubt, through constant repetition, and passed down with hardly any change of form as part of the family tradition. From such a close circle of relations the disappearance of one loved and familiar face would leave a blank never to be filled and scarcely ever to be forgotten. This must have been especially the case when death made its first breach in the family, and, at the ripe age of a hundred and twenty-seven years, Sarah, princess, wife, and mother, fell asleep. Her death made Abraham a lonely man. It broke the final link to his ancestral home. It robbed him of the only one who cherished with him a common memory of his father's house and the happy days of youth. She alone was left of those who, sixty-two years before, had shared his venturous emigration from Haran. He was her senior by ten years; and her removal must have come to him like a warning that before him likewise there lay another emigration, more venturous than the last — one final journey into a land still farther off.
(J. O. Dykes, D. D.)
I. THE DEATH.
1. Of Sarah, princess. Kings and great men die. "Wealth cannot deliver in the day of his power."
2. The wife of a great man. Derives her chief dignity from this connection. Little expected the honour that would befall her from this marriage. The source of Abraham's joy, as well as the occasion of some of his sins.
3. The mother of the free. The ancestress of Jesus, and those who believe in Him.
4. Died at Hebron = alliance. The alliance with Abraham dissolved, and her eternal alliance with Abraham's God, and one who was before Abraham (John 8:58), now inaugurated. Happy are those who compose the bride — the Lamb's wife; the day of death is with them the day of their espousals. The alliances of earth, abandoned for a better and more lasting one.
II. THE GRAVE.
1. A cave. We are of the earth, earthy. Dust, and must return to dust.
2. Purchased. Abraham selected one that would receive his own remains. ("The family meeting-place" is an epitaph at Pere la Chaise.) Men sometimes think more of their sepulchres than of death; and make greater preparation for the temporary repose of the body than the eternal rest of the soul. It was all that Abraham purchased of the promised land. The country was given to the living. The promised land of heaven for the living is a free gift, and there will be no bargaining for graves there. Man sells a place for the dead, God gives a home for the living.
III. THE BURIAL. "That I may bury my dead out of my sight." The object that once most pleased the eye must be put " out of sight," as a loathsome thing. Life, a fountain of beauty and attractiveness. How glorious that world must be where they die no more, and are never put out of sight. Those who die in the Lord, and are put out of sight, will presently be in sight for ever. The aged man before the grave of his wife. The parting is not for long. A few more steps, and he will be at home with his princess for ever. But with all this Christian hope, the loss of dear friends and the sunderings of long companionships is painful. At such times may we be able to say, "Thy will be done." Learn:
1. The great and good and best loved must die.
2. The earthly dissolution may be the beginning of our eternal union.
3. It is little the world can furnish us besides a place to lie down in at the end of the journey.
4. Happy are those who, being saved themselves, have a good hope of meeting those who are "not lost, but gone before."
(J. C. Gray.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah.