Summer Sunday School– Week Six–“Four Hundred Shekels of Silver”

“The span of Sarah’s life was one hundred and twenty-seven years.” Genesis 23:1

“She died in Kiriath-arba—now Hebron—in the land of Canaan, and Abraham proceeded to mourn and weep for her.”

This Week’s Prayer

Prayer
“Lord, help me trust you as Abraham did.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
Amen.

Source: Catholic Book of Bible Stories, Page 23

 

For Parents to Share with Their Children

We Continue to Learn Our Creed, Stanza by Stanza

“I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.”

Source: SaintCharlesBorromeo.org

Our Readings

An Excerpt from the USCCB.org

“Purchase of a Burial Plot”
Source: USCCB.org “Genesis”, chapter 23
1
“The span of Sarah’s life was one hundred and twenty-seven years.
2
She died in Kiriath-arba—now Hebron—in the land of Canaan, and Abraham proceeded to mourn and weep for her.
3
Then he left the side of his deceased wife and addressed the Hittites:*
4
“Although I am a resident alien* among you, sell me from your holdings a burial place, that I may bury my deceased wife.”a
5
The Hittites answered Abraham: ‘Please,
6
sir, listen to us! You are a mighty leader among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our burial sites. None of us would deny you his burial ground for the burial of your dead.’
7
Abraham, however, proceeded to bow low before the people of the land, the Hittites,
8
and said to them: ‘If you will allow me room for burial of my dead, listen to me! Intercede for me with Ephron, son of Zohar,
9
so that he will sell me the cave of Machpelah that he owns; it is at the edge of his field. Let him sell it to me in your presence at its full price for a burial place.’

10
Now Ephron was sitting with the Hittites. So Ephron the Hittite replied to Abraham in the hearing of the Hittites, all who entered the gate of his city:
11
‘Please, sir, listen to me! I give you both the field and the cave in it; in the presence of my people I give it to you. Bury your dead!’
12
But Abraham, after bowing low before the people of the land,
13
addressed Ephron in the hearing of these men: ‘If only you would please listen to me! I will pay you the price of the field. Accept it from me, that I may bury my dead there.’
14
Ephron replied to Abraham, ‘Please,
15
sir, listen to me! A piece of land worth four hundred shekels* of silver—what is that between you and me? Bury your dead!’
16
b Abraham accepted Ephron’s terms; he weighed out to him the silver that Ephron had stipulated in the hearing of the Hittites, four hundred shekels of silver at the current market value.*

17
c Thus Ephron’s field in Machpelah, facing Mamre, together with its cave and all the trees anywhere within its limits, was conveyed
18
to Abraham by purchase in the presence of the Hittites, all who entered the gate of Ephron’s city.
19
After this, Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave of the field of Machpelah, facing Mamre—now Hebron—in the land of Canaan.
20
Thus the field with its cave was transferred from the Hittites to Abraham as a burial place.”

Note* The symbols and letters are related to the commentary on the USCCB.org webpage that has this reading, Genesis, chapter 23. All of the Bible readings have this notation for readers.

The Significance of the Purchase of Machpelah Cave

The story about Abraham buying a burial ground for Sarah for 400 “shekels” (pieces) of silver from the Hittites is a remembered and retold historical event of great significance. Abraham negotiated a real estate transaction that has been the center of great conflict for centuries–Abraham and his descendants became the rightful owners of this land called Machpelah Cave and “the field, the cave which was in it, and all the trees in the field up to the edge of the property .”  The descendants of Abraham, the people who became the Israelites, and then later, the Jews, have told this story for generations. It was a transaction that would cause conflict that still lasts today among the people of Israel– Jews and Muslims.

An Excerpt for Children

“Understand It!”

“God told Abram always to do what was right. Then God made Abram wonderful promises. God said that people, kings, and nations would come from Abram. God even renamed him Abraham, which means ‘father of many nations.’ God also promised Abraham, the land of Canaan. God kept his promises. Old Abraham and his wife, Sara, had a son. This son had two sons and many grandchildren. After hundreds of years, a special child was born into Abraham’s family. His name was Jesus.”

Source: The Catholic Children’s Bible, Page17:1, 3-8, Genesis chapter 17 Page 45

An Excerpt for Young Children

“Understand It!”

“Your mom might say, ‘Clean your room, and I’ll take you to a movie.’ If you say yes, you’ve made an agreement. You promise something. In this Bible story, God made an agreement, or covenant, like this with Abram.”

Many years later, Abraham made an agreement with the Hittites, an ancient empire of people who owned land in Caanan. Abraham wanted to bury his wife, Sarah, in a cave on a large area of land owned by Hittites. This may sound strange to us, but caves were a large part of the landscape and were protection for the inhabitants. People lived in them for many generations. Jesus was born in a cave that sheltered baby Jesus and his mother, Mary. People were also buried in caves when they died. Caves are part of the landscape in the region and Bethlehem, today.

Source: The Catholic Children’s Bible, Page17:1, 3-8, Genesis chapter 17 Page 45

A Song About the God of Abraham

Source: Hymnary.org

Click to Play the Tune Written by Daniel ben Judah

“The God of Abraham Praise”

“1 The God of Abraham praise,
who reigns enthroned above;
Ancient of Everlasting Days,
and God of Love;
Jehovah, great I AM!
by earth and heaven confessed;
I bow and bless the sacred name
forever blest.

2 The great I AM has sworn;
I on this oath depend.
I shall, on eagle wings upborne,
to heaven ascend.
I shall behold God’s face;
I shall God’s power adore,
and sing the wonders of God’s grace
forevermore.

3 The heavenly land I see,
with peace and plenty blest;
a land of sacred liberty,
and endless rest.
There milk and honey flow,
and oil and wine abound,
and trees of life forever grow
with mercy crowned.

4 The God who reigns on high
the great archangels sing,
and ‘Holy, holy, holy!’ cry
‘Almighty King!
Who was, and is, the same,
and evermore shall be:
Jehovah, Lord, the great I AM,
we worship thee!'”

United Methodist Hymnal, 1989

Video of Song with Text

 

Writing Project–ABC POEMS

Take the first letter of the names, “Abraham,” “Abram,” “Sarai,” “Sara,” “Sarah,” or of a few other related words. “Covenant,” “promise,”  “ancestors,” “descendants,” and  “ancestors” are several words related to the story of Abraham and Sarah. Then, write a word or begin a sentence with the capital letter. Young children will probably need help. If you are stuck for good adjectives about people, there are lists of words on the Internet. If you are very ambitious, you can invite your child to do a complete alphabet poem about this story from A-Z.

Connie’s ABC “Poem” Samples

Words that Start with a Letter in the Name

A B R A M

A–ABLE

B–BRAVE

R–RESOURCEFUL

A–ADVENTUROUS

M–MANLY

Sentences that Start with a Letter in the Name

S A R A I

SARAI HAD NO SON.

ABRAM AND SHE WERE VERY OLD.

RIGHTLY, SARAI LAUGHED WHEN TOLD SHE’D HAVE A BABY.

ANGELS VISITED ABRAM AND SARAI.

I WILL KEEP MY PROMISE TO YOU.”

 

Art Projects

Invite your child to make a watercolor painting of coins using circle sponges on sticks, which are available on Amazon.com. This art project is to reinforce the concept of the use of money, shekels, in silver, to buy land to bury Sarah. Children may also like to paint a cave, as well. I started both paintings by painting the orange background with a brush, and letting it dry before using the sponge tools.

Our Materials

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