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EPHRON (Heb. עֶפְרוֹן ,עֶפְרֹן), son of Zohar, from whom *Abraham purchased the cave of *Machpelah and the field east of Mamre (Gen. 23; 25:9; 49:29–30; 50:13). Abraham sought a burial site for Sarah, but as he was a "resident alien," he did not own land. He therefore sought to purchase the cave belonging to Ephron, who, after much bargaining, agreed to accept 400 shekels of silver. Ephron is described as a "Hittite," though the form of his name and that of his father is West Semitic. While "Hittite" in the Bible may sometimes refer to Canaan's pre-Israelite inhabitants (cf. Gen. 26:34 with Gen 27:46), and not to the Hittites of Anatolia in the second millennium b.c.e., the first millennium Arameo-Hittites were within the orbit of the biblical writers. Some scholars interpret the name Ephron as being related to ʿofer ("gazelle"); S. Yeivin's explanation that Ephron is not a personal name but an indication that the man was an ʿApiru (see *Habiru) of Hittite origin is ingenious but unlikely.


S. Yeivin, in: Beth Mikra, 7 (1963), 44–45 and note 281; E.A. Speiser, Genesis (The Anchor Bible, 1964), 172; N. Sarna, Understanding Genesis (1967), 168ff. add. bibliography: J. van Seters, in: vt, 22 (1972), 64–81; N. Sarna, Genesis (jps; 1989), 396.