Sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22) Commentary


Some time later God tested Abraham. Some translations may read tempted instead of tested but the words mean the same in this context. This was not a temptation to sin, as James tells us God tempts no one to evil. This was a test of Abraham’s obedience. Strong faith endures strong trials.  He said to him, “Abraham!”  Be prepared when God calls you.

“Here I am,” he replied. Abraham answers willingly.

Then God said, “Take your  son , your only son, whom you love A parallel to Jesus is evident here; God’s only Son, who was sacrificed for us; Isaac, is called the only son, as Ishmael was not the promised son   —Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you. ” This is an offering killed and then burnt. God denounces the sacrifice of children, and by no means would have permitted Abraham to do so. This is not deception. To deceive is to lie, and God did not lie.

Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.  On the third day  Take a look at these verses also mentioning the third day:  Genesis 42:18, Exodus 19:11, 2 Kings 20:5, Hosea 6:2; on the third day Christ rose.  He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. He did not want any hindrance to his obedience. We will worship and then we will come back to you. ”  Abraham says we, which indicates he did believe that they both would return.

Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, Jesus would carry his cross; and he himself carried the fire and the knife.  “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Probably not asking out of suspicion but curiosity.

Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So true! Jesus, the lamb sacrificed for us, provided by God.

Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. We do not know what Issac’s reaction to this was. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. As God had commanded. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”  With the urgency at which Abraham was called, we must believe he was prepared to sacrifice Isaac. Not once does Abraham ask “Why?” or change his mind.  Why did he not intercede for Isaac the way he did for Sodom? Strangely enough, for the same reason. Abraham’s intecession for Sodom was from faith, believing in the goodness of God. Abraham’s non-intercession was from faith, believing, although maybe not understanding, that God would fulfill his promise toward Isaac.

“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son. ”  God did not require the sacrifice of Abraham’s son, or anyone’s son, but gave forth His own only Son for us.

Abraham took the ram and sacrificed it instead of his son– An exchange occurs, just as Jesus was ransomed for us.   So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”;  Always.

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