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When Avram wanted to buy the field that belonged to Efron, Efron said I want to give it to you for free, then after Avram said that I wanted to pay for it Efron charged him a ridiculous price for it.

Why did Efron make such an extreme change?

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Do you mean "loser", not "looser"? –  Andrew Grimm May 16 '11 at 23:03
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3 Answers 3

One possibility is Efron really wanted lots of money for it, but said "BEFORE THE EYES OF MY PEOPLE it's a gift"; he felt that with everyone watching, to look good, he was obligated to offer it as a gift.

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According to the plain reading of the text Efron never officially "charged" for it. Efron merely stated "what's 400 shekel between me and you? Take it to bury your dead." He was giving it for free to Avraham. Avraham however did not want to take it for free. However, he picked up on the value which Efron had thrown out there. Avraham made sure to pay with the most liquid and valuable currency as well.
Perhaps he wanted it absolutely clear that he payed for the land and all partied involved accepted the deal. It is beneficial to listen to the verbal and non-verbal cues when negotiating.

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The Muslims claim that Mearas HaMachpela belongs to them and this is after Avraham paid an astronomical sum for it. Imagine if he got it for free!

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The Moslems claim they descend from Avraham Avinu and that they are his rightful heirs, so what is your point? –  Yahu Nov 22 '10 at 3:16
    
@Yahu. Islam being, unlike Judaism, an evangelical religion out to win converts, they can't really claim to be descended from anyone. There are Muslims of all sorts of ethnicities. (However, they would claim that Mohammad and his immediate family were descended from Abraham.) –  TRiG Aug 5 '11 at 20:56
    
And I used the word evangelical quite wrongly. What I meant was proselytizing. –  TRiG Aug 7 '11 at 19:34
    
TRiG, and similarly to Judaism, they claim that all who convert can claim descent from Yishmael and Avraham Avinu. See this article: ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/17_1_PDFs/Ishmael_Promise.pdf –  Yahu Aug 11 '11 at 23:37
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