He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
He who kisses the joy as it flies,
Lives in eternity’s sunrise.

–William Blake

Genesis, Chapter 23

Funeral Procession

The servants led Abraham and Ishmael home, while they carried Sarah’s body the entire way, silent.

Abraham and Isaac wept over Sarah and healed the distance between them by remembering her strength and courage in hard times. A few days passed of telling stories.

Ishmael told his father: “I won’t be a further burden on you. Allow me to go find my mother, and I’ll trouble you no more.”

Abraham collapsed in tears: “I’m the one whose been trouble, and it cost Sarah her life. Forgive me, my boy, for not seeing that you are as much of a child of God as anyone. Perhaps more. How easily you laughed in the face of my desperate madness!”

Ishmael said nothing at first, just placing a hand on his father’s head. Then he said: “Then call me Isaac, because I laughed.”

Homecoming to Mamre

Abraham brought Sarah’s body to be buried in Mamre, the lands of their oldest camp. Reaching the town of Hebron, Abraham called for Ephron, the local leader, and asked to purchase land in Mamre that could become their family’s burial ground.

Ephron said: “Your family has been kind to all of us here over the years. We were all strangers here, escaping the madness of the Empires that surround us, and Sarah made Canaan a home to us all. You can have any place you would like as a gift.”

Abraham bowed and said: “That is very kind of you, Ephron, but we are a wealthy family, and such precious gifts might do not look well when we already have so much. Please, name a price.”

Ephron smiled and said: “Fine, fine. But I am also wealthy, what concern do I have with money? The value of the land cannot be much more than two kilograms of silver.”

Abraham bowed in thanks and weighed out twenty-two kilograms of silver. “Here is some for the land, and the rest can be put towards the community who does not have as much. Let us build granaries and schools for those who lack our wealth.”

Tears came to Ephron’s eyes, for the people had suffered greatly during the famine. He bowed low and kissed her feet. “You are too kind, my friend. May your descendants remember you as God’s Chosen.”

With the land under his name, Abraham buried his wife, and said words over her with Isaac before returning home.

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