I have spent the last two days at two different cemeteries. We laid to rest a member of my Bible study class and the husband of another. What they had in common was that they were buried with their wives. Today Abraham’s remaining family members are buried with him.
Isaac dies (Genesis 35:28-29, 49:30-31)
And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years. 29 And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.
In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a burying place. 31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.
Jacob dies (Genesis 49:29-30)
And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a burying place.
Three generations of family members are now buried at the cave of Machpelah. This was the norm at the time.
Church’s used to have cemeteries on their property. Generations upon generation of church members were buried in these church cemeteries. Then came the train, car, and airplane and changed everything. These modern modes of transportation caused men and women to leave their homes and never return. Families were separated and when death came, they chose to be buried in their new communities. Church’s built buildings for worship, schooling, recreation, but no longer for cemeteries to remember the dead. Although there is a gravestone, many are never visited.
Let us not forget our loved ones who are no longer with us. Visit the gravesites of your families. Cherish the memories.
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001