The Promise Has No Owners
The first time that the word “market” appears in Genesis is in the selling and buying of a tomb, the down payment for the Promised Land. The first part of the land of Canaan to become Abraham’s property is a field he buys to bury his wife Sarah. God had promised him property of the promised land, but the only land he manages to make his “property” is a tomb. It happens often to those who follow a voice and set out on a journey in good faith – and the promised land appears, they live on it, they even love it but it does not become their property. Sarah dies in the land of Canaan, but she dies as a stranger and guest in that land. This first sepulchral property is telling us a lot about Abraham’s call, but also about the adventures of those who try to follow a voice, a call in their lives: being strangers, walking the lands of others, the mobile tent of the wandering Aramean are all essential parts of the condition of those who respond to a call or try to do so. It is very interesting and revealing about the entire ancient Middle Eastern culture and about its contractual practice (the signs of which are completely lost in the suq of Damascus or Teheran) to see the process of closing a contract between Abraham and the owner of the field.