To read Genesis 23 without my comments click HERE.
Genesis 23 records the death of Sarah, Abraham's wife. Sarah is the only woman in the bible who's age is recorded at the time of her death which is 127. She gave birth to a child (Isaac) at age 90 and is nothing short of a miracle that was performed by God himself.
In this chapter Abraham's primary residence was in Hebron, which is just west of the Dead Sea. This land was occupied by Hittites, (a Canaanite tribe). Abraham purchased the cave from Ephron the Hittite for a final resting place for Sarah because it just so happen to be on Ephron's land.
Although it can be readily proven that Abraham was an extremely rich man, Ephron offered the land to Abraham for any price he was willing to pay for it. My guess on this is so Ephron could remain on Abraham's good side because he had the resources to maintain a standing military of his own and lived within a short distance to this cave
The land was offered to Abraham for whatever price he wanted to pay for it, however, he insisted on paying the full value of 400 Shekels of silver for the land. Another reason for this is so the Hittites could never say that he stole it or swindled it away from them and would remain forever untouched, even though the Hittite nation was destroyed around 1,200 B.C.
As far as the actual cave itself.....
According to the 1965 edition of Halley's Bible Handbook pg.101 “The Cave of Machpelah, where Sarah was buried, is on the west slope of Hebron, in a mosque, under Mohammedan control, who permit no Christian to enter. In 1862 the Prince of Wales, by special permit of Sultan, entered. He saw stone tombs of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebekah, and Leah; and a circular opening into a cavern below, which was supposed to be the real Cave of Machpeolah, and which was said to have been un-entered for 600 years.”
This cave now houses the remains of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their wives (except Rachel who was buried in Bethlehem). Father Yahweh has protected the cave against vandalism throughout the centuries, even though tombs of other important people from that time such as the Egyptian Pharaohs and others have been broken into and vandalized.
The Messiah stated in Matt 8:11 that “many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Referring to his second coming, of course. Praise the Lord for his word!