(Mach·peʹlah) [doubling, possibly indicating that the cave had a double entrance or two recesses or receptacles].
The name used with reference to a field and a cave in the vicinity of Hebron, purchased by Abraham from Ephron the Hittite for 400 silver shekels (about $190 in modern values). The cave served as a burial place for Abraham’s wife Sarah and at least five others: Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Leah. (Gen. 23:14-19; 25:9; 49:30, 31; 50:13) The designation “Machpelah” evidently also applied to the surrounding area.—Gen. 23:17.
It is generally accepted that the burial cave is located in modern Hebron beneath a Moslem mosque within an enclosure called Haram el-Khalil (“sacred precinct of the friend of the merciful one, God”).
At Genesis 23:17 the Hebrew-language term indicating the position of the cave of Machpelah in relation to Mamre has been variously rendered “east of” (RS), “before” (AS), “near” (The Bible in Basic English), “opposite” (JB) and “in front of Mamre.” (NW) If the traditional location of Mamre (Ramet el-Khalil) is correct, the rendering “east of Mamre” would not be appropriate, as this site lies about one and two-thirds miles (2.7 kilometers) N of modern Hebron. The phrase “Mamre, that is to say, Hebron” (Gen. 23:19), may mean that Mamre was in the district of Hebron.