1 “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said
unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.” And it cams to pass - the
alleged mythical character of the present narrative (De Wette, Bohlen) is discredited
not more by express Scripture statement (Hebrews 11:17-19) than by its own inherent
difficulties - after - how long after may be conjectured from the circumstance that
Isaac was now a grown lad, capable of undertaking a three days journey of upwards
of sixty miles - these things (literally, words, of benediction, promise, trial that had
gone before - that God - literally, the Elohim, i.e. neither Satan, as in I Chronicles
21:1, compared with II Samuel 24:1 (Schelling, Stanley), nor Abraham himself,
in the sense that a subjective impulse on the part of the patriarch supplied the
formal basis of the subsequent transaction (Kurtz, Oehler); but the El-Olam
of ch. 21:33, the term Elohim being employed by the historian not because
vs. 1-13 are Elohistic (Tuch, Bleek, Davidson,) - a hypothesis inconsistent
with the internal unity of the chapter, "which is joined together like cast-iron"
(Oehler), and in particular with the use of Moriah in v. 2 (Hengstenberg), -
but to indicate the true origin of the after-mentioned trial, which proceeded
neither from Satanic instigation nor from subjective impulse, but from God (Keil) –
did tempt - not solicit to sin (James 1:13), but test or prove (Exodus 16:4;
Deuteronomy 8:2; 13:3; II Chronicles 32:31; Psalm 26:2) - Abraham, and said unto
him, - in a dream-vision of the night (Eichhorn, Lunge), but certainly in an audible
voice which previous experience enabled him to recognize - Abraham: and he said,
Behold, here I am. "These brief introductions of the conversation express the great
tension and application of the human mind in those moments in a striking way, and
serve at the same time to prepare us for the importance of the conversation" (Lange).
2 “And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and
get thee into the
one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” And he said, Take now - "the נַא
modifies the command, and seems to express that Elohim wished to receive the
sacrifice as a free-will offering" (Lange) - thy son (not a lamb, but thy child),
thine only son - not ἁγαπητὸν – agapaeton - beloved (Septuagint), but unigenitum
(Vulgate), meaning the only son of Sarah, the only legitimate offspring he
possessed, the only heir of the promise, the only child that remained to him
after Ishmael's departure (compare ὁ μονογενὴς – ho monogenaes – the only
begotten, John 1:18) - Isaac, whom thou lovest, - or, whom thou lovest, Isaac;
the order and accumulation of the terms being calculated to excite the parental
affection of the patriarch to the highest pitch, and to render compliance with the
Divine demand a trial of the utmost severity - and get thee - literally, go for
thyself (compare ch. 12:1; 21:16) - into the
(Vulgate, Symmachus, Samaritan), worship (Onkelos, Jonathan), high (Septuagint),
rebellious (Murphy); but rather a compound of יה and מֹרִי, meaning God is my
instructor, alluding to the temple from which the law should afterwards proceed
(Kalisch), or, better, of יה and ראה, and signifying "the shown of Jehovah," i.e.
the revelation or manifestation of Jehovah (Hengstenberg, Kurtz, Keil, &e.);
or "the chosen, i.e. "pointed out of God," with reference to its selection as the
site of the Divine sanctuary (Gesenius), or rather because there God provided
and pointed out the sacrifice which he elected to accept (Lange). And offer
him there for a burnt offering - not make a spiritual surrender of him in and
through a burnt offering (Hengstenberg, Lange), but actually present him as
a holocaust. That Abraham did not stagger on receiving this astounding injunction
may be accounted for by remembering that the practice of offering human
sacrifices prevailed among the early Chaldaeans and Canaanites, and that as
yet no formal prohibition, like that of the Mosaic code, had been issued against
them - upon one of the mountains - not Moreh in Sicbem (Tuch, Michaelis,
Stanley, Grove, et alii),
which was too distant, but Moriah at
(Hengstenberg, Kurtz, Keil, Kalisch), where subsequently God appeared
to David (II Samuel 24:16), and the
(II Chronicles 3:1) - which I will tell thee of - i.e. point out (probably by
secret inspiration) as thou proceedest.
3 “And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and
took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood
for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God
had told him.” And Abraham rose up early in the morning, - a habit of the
patriarch's after receiving a Divine communication (compare ch. 19:27; 20:8;
21:14) - and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him (the ass
for the wood, and the young men for the ass), and Isaac his son (explaining
to him as yet only his intention to offer sacrifice upon a distant mountain),
and clave the wood for the burnt offering (obviously with his own hands),
and rose up (expressive of resolute determination), and went unto (or towards)
the place of which God had told him - literally, the Elohim had spoken to him.
The accumulation of brief, sententious clauses in this verse admirably represents
the calm deliberation and unflinching heroism with which the patriarch proceeded
to execute the Divine command!
4 “Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.”
Then on the third day -
a half hours' journey according to Robinson, could easily; be within sight on the
third day - Abraham lifted up his eyes, - not implying that the object of vision
was above him (compare ch. 13:10) - and saw the place (which Calvin conjectures
he had previously beheld in vision)
by the traveler from
5 “And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and
I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.”
And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye (for similar forms of expression
compare v.2; ch. 12:1; 21:6); here with the ass; - partly because the beast required
watching, though chiefly because the contemplated sacrifice was too solemn for
any eyes but God's to witness - and I and the lad will go yonder and worship,
and come again to you. An act of dissimulation on the part of Abraham
(Knobel, Kalisch, Murphy); an unconscious prophecy (Lyra, Junius, Rashi);
the expression of a hopeful wish (Lange); a somewhat confused utterance
(Calvin, Keil); the voice of his all-conquering faith (Augustine, Calvin,
Wordsworth, Bush, 'Speaker's Commentary,' Inglis), which last seems the
teaching of Hebrews 11:19.
6 “And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac
his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of
them together.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid
it upon Isaac his son; - instinctively the mind reverts to THE CROSS-BEARING
of Abraham's GREATER SON (John 19:17) - and he took the fire in his hand,
and a knife (to him terribly suggestive weapons); and they went both of them
together. (As God went with Jesus until all our sins was placed upon Christ!
Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34 - CY – 2019) Doubtless in silence on Abraham's
part and wonder on Isaac's, since as yet no declaration had been made of the
true purpose of their journey.
7 “And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said,
Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the
lamb for a burnt offering?” And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father, - during the
progress of the journey, after leaving the young men, solitude inviting him to give
expression to thoughts which had been rising in his bosom, but which the presence
of companions had constrained him to suppress - and said, My father: - a term of
filial reverence and endearment that must have lacerated Abraham's heart. As used
by Isaac it signified a desire to interrogate his parent - and he said, Here am I,
my son (literally, Behold me, my son - Well, my son, what is it? in colloquial
English). And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb
for a burnt offering. Another hint that the sacrificial system did not originate
8 “And Abraham said, My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a
burnt offering: so they went both of them together. And Abraham said,
My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering: - the utterance
of heroic faith rather than the language of pious dissimulation (see on v. 5) –
so they went both of them together. To see in this twice-repeated expression
a type of the concurrence of the Father and the Son in the work of redemption
(Wordsworth) is not exegesis.
9 “And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham
built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son,
and laid him on the altar upon the wood.” And they came to the place which
God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, - i.e. upon the mountain
summit or slope (v. 2) - and laid the wood in order (it is scarcely likely that Isaac
was permitted to assist in these affecting preparations), and bound Isaac his son,
who must have acquiesced in his father's purpose, and thereby evinced his faith
in the Divine commandment. The term "bound," though seeming to convey the
idea of violence, derives its significance from the binding of the sacrificial victim –
and laid him on the altar on the wood. The feelings of the patriarch throughout
this transaction are simply inconceivable.
10 “And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.”
Isaac, who even in the last moment offers no resistance, but behaves like a type of
HIM WHO WAS LED LIKE A LAMB TO THE SLAUGHTER!”(Isaiah 53:7).
11 “And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said,
Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.” And the angel of the Lord –
Maleach Jehovah (see ch. 16:7); introduced into the narrative at this point not
as a Jehovistic alteration (Bleek, Kalisch, et alii), but because the God of
Redemption now interposes for the deliverance of both Isaac and Abraham
(Hengetenberg) - called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham
(the repetition denotes urgency, as contrasted with v. 1): and he said, Here am I.
12 “And He said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing
unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld
thy son, thine only son from me.” And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad,
neither do thou any thing unto him. Abraham's surrender of the son of his affections
having been complete, there was no need to push the trial further. The voice from
heaven has been accepted as evidence of God's rejection of human sacrifices
(Lange, Murphy), only that is not assigned as the reason for Isaac's deliverance.
For now I know - literally, have known; not caused thee to know (Augustine),
but caused others to know (Lange); or the words are used anthropomorphically
(Calvin) - that thou fearest God, - Elohim; the Divine intention being to
characterize the patriarch as a God-fearing man, and not simply as a worshipper
of Jehovah (compare Quarry 'on Genesis,' p. 460) - seeing - literally, and
(in proof thereof) - thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
Καὶ οὐκ ἐφείσω τοῦ ὑιοῦ σοῦ ἁγαπητοῦ δε ἐμέ - Kai ouk epheiso tou huiou sou
agapaetou de eme - since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me
(Septuagint). Compare ὅς γε τοῦ ἰδιοῦ ὑιοῦ οὐκ ἐφείσατο – hos ge tou diiou huiou
ouk epheisato – He that spared not His own Son (Romans 8:32), as applied to the
sacrifice of Christ. In this verse the angel of Jehovah identifies Himself with
Abraham’s Perfect Faith (v. 12)
“Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son,
thine only son from me.” “The word of God,” says Coleridge, “speaks to
man, and therefore it speaks the language of the children of men. This has
to be kept in mind in studying the remarkable incident recorded in this
chapter. When God is represented as “tempting” Abraham, it only means
that he tried or tested him.
and type of the justified, therefore it was essential he should be tested.
Entire obedience is the test of perfect faith. Abraham had shown his faith
when he left his own land, and when he waited patiently for a son; now he
has to show it in a different way. In the two former testings he had a
promise to rest on; now he must go far without any promise to buoy him
up in the perplexing sea of trial. “Take now thy son,” &c. Surely there is
some mistake! Must Abraham offer a human sacrifice? This event has
perplexed many, and they have only escaped from the difficulties presented
by regarding the event:
Ø As exceptional for the purpose of securing a unique type of the future
sacrifice of Christ.
Ø As never intended to be actually carried out,
God having forseen the faith of His servant, and having determined at the right
` moment to interfere and prevent any disaster. There is also a miraculous element in
the narrative, both in the special voice and the ram caught in the thicket. Some
have thought that the impulse was from Abraham’s own mind — that,
seeing human sacrifices around, he wished to rise above all others in
devotion to the one God. Had this been the case, the Scriptures would not
have represented the testing as from God. In that age a father’s right to do
as he would with his son was as unquestioned as his right to do what he
would with his slave. The command of God was not out of harmony with
this idea, but it helped to correct the mistake. A single act of such self-sacrifice
becomes of the highest value; it is even a means of education to
the world. God elicited the highest exercise of faith, but not the blood of
Isaac. What it must have cost the patriarch to submit to the Divine
command! With one blow he must slay his boy and his own ardent hopes.
The only gleam of light was in the thought that God who first gave Isaac
could also restore him from death. This is indicated in the words he uttered
to the young man, “We will come again to you.” Tradition says that the
mount was the same on which Adam, Abel, and Noah had offered sacrifice.
Here possibly Abraham found an altar to repair or rebuild. Isaac helps in
rebuilding the altar and in arranging the wood. Silent prayers ascend from
father and son. Isaac wonders where the lamb is to come from. He finds
out when his father has bound him and laid him on the altar. The knife
gleams aloft, and, but for the arresting voice, would have been plunged in
Isaac. The test was satisfactory.
AND PERFECT OBEDIENCE.
Ø It was by a voice from heaven.
Ø 2. It was manifested also by the way in which God took away any pain
consequent on obedience to His command. It is remarkable how those
who appear to have little faith can become, when trial falls, perfectly
submissive to the Divine will.
Ø The approval was seen also in the way in which God provided a sacrifice.
Ø And God repeated His promise of blessing, confirming it by a solemn
covenant. “By myself have I sworn,” &c. No such voice comes to us,
and no such promise is audibly given; still we can have, in the inner
calm of the soul, an evidence of the Divine approval. When our faith
is strongest, after passing through some trial, we get a clearer view of
the glory of God’s working, both in our lives and in the world. (“Known
unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.”
(Acts 15:18) What approval have we won? Does not Abraham put us to
shame? Too many will laud the obedience of Abraham who will never
try to emulate it. Abraham was glad to have his Isaac spared; so would
the Father have been, but He gave up His “onlybegotten, well-beloved
Son” FOR US! Our readiness to accept and follow the Savior given is
only another way of showing how we bear the testing of faith. “Thy will
be done” should be the utterance of each believer. Perfect faith in the
heart should be exhibited by perfect obedience in life.
13 “And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram
caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and
offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.” And Abraham lifted
up his eyes (in the direction of the voice), and looked, and behold behind him –
either at his back (Furst, Keil, Lange, Murphy), or in the background of the altar,
i.e. in front of him (Gesenius, Kalisch). The Septuagint, Samaritan, Syriac,
mistaking אַחַר for אֶחַר, read "one," which adds nothing to the sense or
picturesqueness of the composition - a ram - אַיִל; in the component letters
of which cabalistic writers find the initial letters of ךאלהִים יִרְאֶהאּלּו,
God will provide for Himself (v. 8; see Glass, 'Philippians Tract.,' p. 196).
In the animal itself the Fathers (Augustine, Tertullian, Origen, Chrysostom,
Theodoret, Ambrose) rightly discerned a type of Christ, though it is fanciful
to detect a shadow of the Crown of thorns in the words that follow - caught in
a thicket by his horns (the sebach being the intertwined branches of trees or
brushwood): and Abraham went and took the ram, and (though not directed
what to do, yet with a fine spiritual instinct discerning the Divine purpose)
offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son - whom he thus
received from the dead as in a figure (Hebrews 11:19).
14 “And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to
this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.” And Abraham called
the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: - i.e. the Lord will provide (Jonathan,
Calvin, Rosenmüller, Keil, &c.), rather than the Lord selects, or looks out,
i.e.. the sacrifices to be afterwards offered in the temple worship on Moriah
(Kalisch); or, the Lord shall appear (Oort, Kuenen), which overlooks the
manifest allusion to v. 8 - as it is said to this day, - or, so that it is said;
compare ch. 13:16 (Keil) - In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen - or
"it shall be provided" (Gesenius, Rosenmüller, Dathe, 'Speaker's Commentary'),
though by competent authorities it has been otherwise rendered. "In the mount
the Lord shall appear, or be seen" (Septuagint); "in the mount the Lord will see,
or provide" (Vulgate, Syriac, Samaritan); "in the mount of the Lord He will be
seen" (Murphy); "in the mount of the Lord one shall be seen," or "people appear,"
i.e. the people of God shall gather on this mountain for worship (Kalisch);
"on the mountain where Jehovah appears" (Keil). Amidst such a conflict of
interpretations absolute certainty is perhaps unattainable; but the sense of
the proverb will probably be expressed by understanding it to mean that
on the mount of Abraham's sacrifice Jehovah would afterwards reveal Himself
for the salvation of His people, as He then interposed for the help of Abraham –
a prophecy which was afterwards fulfilled in the manifestations of the
Divine glory given:
· in the Solomonic temple and
· in the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
(I highly recommend Genesis 22 – Names of God – Jehovah-Jireh – by
Nathan Stone – this website - # 324 – CY – 2019)
The Lamb of God (v. 14)
“And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh.” The key to this
narrative is John 1:29. It sets forth in type the way of salvation.
Whether Abraham understood this we need not inquire. The lesson is for
us. Isaac, i.e. laughter (compare Luke 2:10), the child of promise
(Romans 9:7), type of “the children of the kingdom,” is yet condemned
die ibid. ch.
5:12). So in
God’s gift to them was a way of escape. What is that way? (compare Micah 6:6).
Every age of the world has asked this question. A sense of separation
from God has led to many efforts for its removal. Hence sacrifices,
offerings, austerities, &c., but all in vain (Hebrews 10:4). Still the soul
asked, “Where is the Lamb?” the effectual sacrifice for sin. The answer of
prophecy, i.e. God’s answer, “God will provide himself a lamb” (compare
John 1:29; 8:56). Man has no claim upon God, yet his need is a plea
(compare Exodus 34:6-7). We know not what was in Abraham’s mind;
perhaps he was escaping from the direct answer, unable to utter it; perhaps
there was a hope that God would in some way preserve or restore his son
(see Hebrews 11:19). There are many instances of prophecy
unconsciously uttered (compare John 11:50). Isaac was bound — a type of
man’s helplessness to escape from the curse (compare Luke 4:18), or from
the law of sin in the members. The law of God of itself can only condemn.
It can only be fulfilled by one who loves God; but he who is not at peace
with God cannot love Him. The sacrifice was now complete as far as
Abraham could offer it. He had cast down self-will (compare Matthew
26:39); he had sacrificed himself (Romans 12:1). This is the state of
mind of all others most prepared to receive blessings (cf. II Kings 4:3-6).
“Lay not thine hand upon the lad.” GOD’S PURPOSE is our deliverance
(Romans 8:1). The work of the law, bringing home the conviction of
sin, is the prelude to the knowledge of life (compare Romans 7:10-13) — life
through death. It is God’s way of deliverance (Isaiah 53:6). The type, the
ram caught in the thicket; the antitype, Christ fulfilling the Father’s will
(Matthew 26:54; Mark 15:31). The practical application of this is
shown in the brazen brazen serpent (John 3:14). (I highly recommend
Spurgeon Sermon – NUMBER 1500, OR LIFTING UP THE BRAZEN SERPENT - # 6 – this website –
CY – 2019) Marvelous love of God (Romans 5:8). We had no claim on Him,
yet He would not that we should perish (Ezekiel 33:11). He wanted, for the
fullness of His blessedness, that we should partake of it, and therefore Christ
came that He might die in our stead; and now in Him we are dead (II Corinthians
5:4). Do not dilute the truth by saying He died for believers only. This is to miss
the constraining power of His love. If there is any doubt of His death being
for each and all, the gospel is no longer felt to be “whosoever will”
(Revelation 22:17). Behold the Lamb. We need not now to say, “God
will provide; “HE HAS PROVIDED! (I John 2:2). The universe could not
purchase THAT PROPITIATION! No efforts could make thee worthy of it,
yet it is freely offered TO THEE TODAY! And mark what that gift includes
(Romans 8:32) — the help of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), wisdom (James 1:5),
help in trials (I Corinthians 10:13), peace (Romans 8:33), needs of this life
(Luke 12:30). Bring all thy sins, thy wants, thy hindrances TO THE
MERCY SEAT! (Hebrews 4:16). The Lord will see, will look upon thy need;
and ere thy prayer is offered He has provided what that need requires.
15 "And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second
time, 16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast
done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: 17 That in blessing
I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the
heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess
the gate of his enemies; 18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be
blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice." And the angel of the Lord called
unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, - the object of the first call having
been to arrest the consummation of the fatal deed which threatened Isaac's life, and
to declare the Divine satisfaction with the patriarch's complete spiritual surrender
of his son, the purpose of the second was to renew the promise in reward for his
fidelity and obedience - and said, By myself have I sworn, - by my word (Onkelos);
by my name (Arabic); equivalent to by Himself, by His soul (Jeremiah 51:14),
or by His holiness (Amos 4:2) - an anthropomorphism by which God in the most
solemn manner pledges the perfection of His Divine personality for the fulfillment
of His promise; an act which He never again repeats in His communications with
the patriarchs. The oath here given to Abraham (frequently referred to in later
Scripture: ch. 24:7; 26:3; 50:24; Exodus 13:5,11; 32:13; 33:1; Isaiah 45:23;
Hebrews 6:13-14) is confirmed by the addition of - saith the Lord, - literally, the
utterance of Jehovah; like the Latin ait, inquit Dominus, the usual prophetic phrase
accompanying Divine oracles (compare Isaiah 3:15; Ezekiel 5:11; Amos 6:8),
though occurring in the Pentateuch only here and in Numbers 14:28 - for because
thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son (v. 12;
from which the Septuagint, Syriac, and Samaritan insert here the words "from me"):
that in blessing I will bless thee, and, multiplying, I will multiply thy seed as the
stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; - literally, upon
the lip of the sea; a repetition and accumulation of the promises previously made
to the patriarch concerning his seed (ch. 12:2-3; 13:14-16; 15:5-6; 17:1-8), with the
special amplification following - and thy seed shall possess (i.e. occupy by force)
the gate of his enemies; shall conquer their armies and capture their cities (Keil,
Murphy); though that the spiritual sense of entering in through the doorway of
their susceptibilities in conversion (Lange) is not to be overlooked may be
inferred from the appended prediction - and in thy seed shall all the nations
of the earth be blessed (see ch. 12:3, where "families of the ground" occur as
the equivalent of "nations of the earth"); because thou hast obeyed my voice.
Originally unconditional in its grant, the promise is here distinctly declared to
be renewed to him as one who, besides being justified and taken into covenant
with Jehovah, had through trial and obedience attained to the spiritual patriarchate
of a numerous posterity.
19 "So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went
Ø Divine in its origin. However explained, the appalling ordeal through
which the patriarch at this time passed was expressly created for him by
Elohim. Only He who made the human heart can adequately search it; and
He alone who has a perfect understanding of the standard of moral
excellence can pronounce upon the intrinsic worth of His creatures.
Ø Unexpected in its coming. After all that had preceded, it might have
been anticipated that not only were the patriarch’s trials over, but that the
need for such discipline in his case no longer existed. It shows that neither
length of years nor ripeness of grace, neither conscious enjoyment of
Divine favor nor previous experience of suffering, can exempt from trial or
place beyond the need of testing; and that mostly “temptations” come at
unexpected times, and in unlooked for ways.
Ø Severe in its form. Trials to be efficient must be graduated to the
strength of those they design to test. Only a temptation of great force could
be of service in the case of moral heroism like Abraham’s. The intensity of
the strain put upon his soul by the astounding order to make a holocaust of
Isaac simply baffles description. Even on the supposition that Abraham was
not unfamiliar with the practice of offering human victims, as it prevailed
among the Canaanites and early Chaldeans, painful doubt must have
insinuated itself into his mind
o as to the character of Jehovah, who in making such a barbarous and
inhuman demand might seem little superior to the heathen deities
o as to his own enjoyment of the Divine favor, which could scarcely fail
to be staggered by such an excruciating stab to his natural affection;
o and chiefly, as to the stability of the promise, which reason could not
but pronounce impossible of fulfillment if Isaac must be put to death.
Yet, overwhelming as the trial was, it was;
Ø Needful in its design. The great covenant blessing was still- conditioned
on the exercise by the patriarch of full-hearted trust in the naked word of
God. Not until that standpoint had been reached by Abraham in his
spiritual development was he able to become the parent of Isaac; and now
that Isaac was born there was still the danger lest Isaac, and not the naked
word of God, should be the ground of the patriarch’s confidence. Hence
the necessity arose for testing whether Abraham could resign Isaac and yet
cling to the promise of God!
Ø The splendor of it. The tremendous act of self-immolation was
performed not without pain, else Abraham must have been either more or
less than human, but:
o with unhesitating promptitude — “Abraham rose up early in the
morning,” and “went unto the place of which God had told him;”
o with literal exactness — “Abraham laid the wood in order, and bound
Isaac his son, and laid him upon the altar on the wood;”
o in perfect sincerity — “Abraham stretched forth his hand to slay his
o without ostentation — Abraham went alone with his son to the mount
Ø The secret of it. This was faith. He accounted that, though Isaac should
be slain, God was able to raise him up again from the dead. Hence, though
prepared to plunge the knife into his son’s breast, and to reduce his
beloved form to ashes, he “staggered not at the promise.” (Romans 4:20)
Ø The deliverance of Isaac.
o The time of it. At the moment when the sacrifice was about to be
consummated, neither too soon for evincing the completeness of
Abraham’s obedience, nor too late for effecting Isaac’s preservation.
o The reason of it. Because the piety and faith of the patriarch were
sufficiently demonstrated. God often accepts the will for the deed.
o The manner of it. By the substitution of a ram, a type of the
Lord Jesus Christ, through whose atoning death the Isaac of the
Church is delivered from condemnation.
o The teaching of it. If Abraham’s surrender of Isaac was a shadow of the
sacrificing love of the eternal Father in sparing not His only Son, and the
bound Isaac typical of the Church’s condemned condition before the
sacrifice of Christ on
of Him who, though He knew no sin, was made a sin offering for us, the
deliverance of Isaac was symbolic both of the resurrection life of Christ
and of the new life of His redeemed people.
Ø The confirmation of the blessing.
o A renewal of the promises — of a numerically great, territorially
prosperous, and spiritually influential posterity, and more particularly
of that distinguished seed in whom all the families of the earth should
o a specification of the ground on which they were held, viz., the
patriarch’s believing obedience to the Divine commandment; and
o a solemn oath in guarantee of their fulfillment.
Ø The certainty of trial.
Ø The omnipotence of faith.
Ø The blessedness of obedience.
The Great Trial and the Great Revelation (vs. 15-19)
In such a history the representative character of Abraham must be
remembered. He was tried not only for his own sake, but that in him all the
families of the earth might be blessed.
each other; the servant called by name, responding with the profession of
readiness for obedience.
Do this, and I will bless thee; follow me in this journey “as I tell thee,” and
thou shalt see MY SALVATION!
quiet demeanor of Isaac bearing the wood of the burnt offering, type of
Jesus bearing His cross, inquiring for the lamb with lamb-like innocence and
patience. “They went both of them together” (vs. 6 and 8) — “together”
in the beginning of the journey, “together” in the end, in the trial and in the
WILL COMMIT THE FUTURE TO THE GRACIOUS PROVISION ON
WHICH IT DEPENDS. “My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a
burnt offering” (v. 8). Already Abraham was saying, “The Lord will
provide.” We say it sometimes with a fearful burden upon our heart; but
when we go steadfastly and hopefully forward we say it at last with the
remembrance of A GREAT DELIIVERANCE sending its glory along the way
of our future.
TO ITS LAST EXTREMITY, that the revelation which rewards
faithfulness may be the more abundant and wonderful (Vers. 9, 10). We
must take God at his word, otherwise we shall not experience the promised
deliverance. “Take thy son, and offer him there” (Ver. 2). “And Abraham
stretched forth his hand and took the knife to slay his son.” What else
could he do? The commandment must be obeyed. The obedience must be
“good and perfect and acceptable” as the will of God.
ANGEL, is heard the voice of relief, the assurance of acceptance, the
change in the method of obedience, the opened eyes, the provided
sacrifice, THE RETURNING JOY OF SALVATION (vs. 11-13). There
is a blindness of self-sacrifice which leads to a sight of immeasurable joy.
Abraham saw nothing before him but the plain path of obedience; HE
WENT ON and at last “lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold’ the
self-sacrifice changed into peaceful offering of AN APPOINTED
SUBSTITUTE (v. 13) “in the stead of his son.” (God did not have
this luxury and in the process of giving His Only Begotten Son to
die for us, shows THE UNFATHOMABLE DEPTH OF HIS LOVE!
CY – 2019)
MERCY BECOMES TO US A NEW NAME OF JEHOVAH. We know
Him henceforth by that knowledge of fact. “Jehovah-jireh (the Lord will
provide): as it is said to this day, in the mount of the Lord it shall be
provided” (or seen) (v. 14). (As above, I highly recommend
Genesis 22 – Names of God – Jehovah-Jireh – by Nathan Stone – this
website - # 324 – CY – 2019)
1. Not before the mount, but in the mount; therefore go to the summit and
2. What the Lord will provide will be better every way than what we could
3. The offering on the mount is the great provision, the whole burnt
offering for the sins of the world, by which the true humanity is redeemed
and the true “joy” (“Isaac,” laughter) is retained.
4. The last name of Jehovah which Abraham gave Him was Jehovah the
Everlasting; now he adds to that name that which brings the Everlasting
into the sphere of daily life — “Jehovah-jireh, the Lord will provide.” We
name that name when we reach the mount where the great sacrifice was
5. The end of the great trial and obedience was a renewal, a solemn
republication, of the covenant. “God could swear by no greater; He swore
by Himself” (Hebrews 6:13). On the foundation of practical faith is
built up the kingdom of heaven, which the Lord swears shall include all
nations, and be supreme in all the earth. The notes of that kingdom are here
in the history of the patriarch:
and grove which he had named after the oaths of himself and Abimelech
the remembrance of the Divine oath, on which henceforth he rested all his
expectations. After this the man in whom all nations shall be blessed looks
round and finds the promise being already fulfilled, and his kindred
spreading widely in the earth.
20 And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying,
Behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor;"
And it came to pass after these things (probably not long after his return to
also born children unto thy brother Nahor - as Sarah has born a son to thee.
From this it would almost seem as if Milcah had not begun to have her family
at the time Abram left
table of Nahor's descendants is introduced for the sake of showing the descent
of Rebekah, who is soon to become Isaac's wife.
21 "Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram,"
Huz his firstborn, - (see ch. 10:23, where Uz appears as a son of Aram; and ch. 36:28,
where he recurs as a descendant of Esau. That he was a progenitor of Job (Jerome)
has no better foundation than Job 1:1 - and Buz his brother, - mentioned along
with Dedan and Tema as an Arabian tribe (Jeremiah 25:23), and may have been
an ancestor of Elihu
(Job 32:2) - and Kemuel the father of
of the Arameans, but the forefather of the family of Ram, to which the Buzite
Elihu belonged; Aram being written for Ram, like Arammim, in II Kings 8:29,
for Rammim, in II Chronicles 22:5" (Keil).
22 "And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel."
And Chesed, - according to Jerome the father of the Chasdim or Chaldees
(ch. 11:28); but more generally regarded as the head of a younger branch or
offshoot of that race (Keil, Murphy, Lange; compare Job 1:17) - and Hazo,
and Pildash, and Jidlaph (concerning whom nothing is known), and Bethuel -
"man of God" (Gesenius); dwelling of God (Furst); an indication probably of his
piety. (What will our account look like? CY - 2019)
23 "And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham's
brother." And Bethuel begat Rebekah - Ribkah; captivating, ensnaring (Furst); "
a rope with a noose," not unfit as the name of a girl who ensnares men by her
beauty (Gesenius). Rebekah was the child of Isaac's cousin, and being the daughter
of Nahor's youngest son, was probably about the same age as her future husband.
These eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham's brother.
24 "And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, she bare also Tebah, and
Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah." And his concubine (see on ch. 16:3),
whose name was Reumah, - raised, elevated (Gesenius); pearl or coral (Furst) -
she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah - whence probably
the Maachathites (Deuteronomy 3:14; Joshua 42:5). That three of Terah's descendants
(Nahor, Ishmael, and Jacob) should each have twelve sons has been pronounced"
a contrived symmetry, the intentional character of which cannot be mistaken"
(Bohlen); but "what intention the narrator should have connected with it
remains inconceivable, unless it was to state the fact as it was, or (on the
supposition that some of them had more than twelve sons) to supply a
round number easily retainable by the memory" (Havernick).
Good News from a Far Country (vs. 20-24)
Ø Tidings from home. For nearly half a century Abraham had been a
on receiving letters from the old country would the patriarch listen to
the message come from
Ø News concerning Nahor. It demands no violent exercise of fancy to
believe that Abraham regarded his distant brother with intense fraternal
affection, and that the unexpected report of that distant brother’s
prosperity struck a chord of joy within his aged bosom.
Ø A message about Milcah. When the two brothers parted it would seem
that neither of their spouses had begun to have a family. Now information
reaches the patriarchal tent that the union of Nahor and Milcah, like that
of himself and Sarai, has been blessed with offspring; and, in particular,
that the second generation had begun to appear in Nahor’s house, the
queenly grace of Milcah being reproduced in her captivating grandchild
Ø His unknown name. One is curious to know who it was that brought the
tidings from the old home. Some spirited adventurer who at the distance
of half a century sought to emulate the Chaldaean chieftain who left the
valley of the Euphrates for the bleak hills of
dispatched upon a mission of inquiry after his long-lost brother;
or some chance traveler who had come across the patriarch’s tent.
Ø His timely arrival. Whoever he was, his appearance at this particular
juncture was exceedingly opportune, when, the great trial having
passed, Isaac’s marriage must have loomed in the prospect as a near
possibility. To Abraham it must have seemed not an accidental
occurrence, but a providential arrangement.
1. That no passage of Scripture can be said to be entirely useless.
2. That joy and sorrow mostly lie in close contiguity in human life.
3. That it becomes good men and women to be interested in each other’s
4. That in God’s government of the world there are no such things as
5. That it becomes good men to keep an outlook upon the leadings of
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