“…and he was called a friend of God.”
Abraham had a very unique relationship with God. It was through Abraham that God made a covenant to provide land and descendants forever. God made Abraham the Father of the Jews, and it was through Abraham and his descendants that the entire world would be blessed with salvation.
Genesis 23 tells us that when Abraham’s wife, Sarah, died, he purchased a field with a cave, as a burial site for his family. Years later, upon Abraham’s death, he was buried there as well (Genesis 25:1-11). (Isaac and Jacob and their wives are buried there as well.) Verses 2 and 19 of Genesis 23 give us precise information about where that burial place is: Hebron.
Today, though thought to be the oldest Jewish community in the world, Hebron is one of the largest cities in the West Bank, and is inhabited primarily by Palestinians. (Roughly 250,000 Palestinians and 700 Jews, with about 6,000 more Jews occupying the suburb of Kiryat Arba.)
Now for the cool part! Do you know what “Hebron” means? It is derived from the Hebrew word haver, meaning “friend.” However, Abraham was also the father of Ishmael. The Arabic name of Hebron is Al-Khalil, which means “the friend!” (Apparently, Jews and Arabs can agree on that!) Indeed, Abraham was a friend of God, and Hebron (his burial place) memorializes that fact.
What is Hebron like today? Well, it isn’t exactly as “friendly” as one would hope. Here is a glimpse into Hebron of today: