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THE BURIAL OF SARAH.

SARAH died at the age of a hundred and twenty-seven years, when Abraham, anxious to show in death a respect equal to the attachment which he had felt for her in life, purchased from "Ephron the son of Zoar" of the children of Heth, a field in which was a cave, where he deposited the remains of his beloved Sarah. It was a custom of that time for families to have their sepulchres without the walls of their cities, and this practice prevailed up to a much later period of the Jewish history, as will appear from the funeral of the widow of Nain's son, which our Saviour met as the procession was on its way from the city to the place of interment. It is manifest also from the raising of Lazarus, whose grave, as is evident from the context, was without the town of Bethany; and we find further that the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, in which the Redeemer was laid, was in a garden beyond the walls of Jerusalem: Abraham purchased the cave and field of Machpelah for a hundred shekels of silver. "And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan. And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a burying place by the sons of Heth." The artist has imagined the sepulchre in which the remains of this distinguished woman were entombed, to have been a natural cave. The field might have formed part of a hill in the side of which a cavern had been produced by some convulsion of the earth. It is clear that Abraham refused to appropriate to Sarah's burial the sepulchres of the children of Heth, and no mention is made of his preparing a place of sepulture. The picture represents the body deposited in a natural cave, and surrounded by persons bearing funeral torches; the chief mourners of the family prostrating themselves before the dead.

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