Genesis 22:1-10

1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”

Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.

Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off.

And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”

So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together.

But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the]lamb for a burnt offering?”

And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.

Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood.

10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

The first mention of love in the Bible is here found in the second verse. … As in the prior chapter, so here, there is prompt obedience. Abraham rises early in the morning. There was also faith; he can say to the question of his dearly-loved child, “God will Himself provide Himself the lamb,” and the Holy Spirit says in Hebrews 11:17-19 that the patriarch fully believed that God would raise him up from the dead; “from whence also he received him in a figure.” … The word “Moriah” is a Hebrew word, and means “foreseen by Jehovah.” Here was the threshing floor that David bought, and here Solomon built the temple. — Williams, page 26. 

Since Genesis 21:34 mentions “many days” and Genesis 22:1 is introduced by the phrase “after these things,” the inference at least is that the narrative of Genesis 22 took place many years after the birth of Isaac. Isaac was no longer a little child, but was certainly at least in his teens, and quite possibly twenty-five or thirty years old. He was thirty-seven when his mother died. While it is true that he is called a “lad” (vs. 5, 12), the Hebrew word (naar) is very flexible in meaning. Most frequently it is translated either as “servant” or as “young man.” In fact, the same word is used here in Genesis 22:5 in connection with the “young men” that went with Abraham and Isaac. — Morris, pages 372-373.

This is the first occurrence in the Bible of the word translated “tempt.” It does not, of course, mean “tempt to do evil” (note James 1:13). It means “test” or “try” and, in fact, most of the time is translated “prove.” Jesus, for example, was “tempted,” but this does not mean He could have sinned. Rather, He was “proved,” or “approved,” so everyone could see that, in spite of the greatest tests to which He could conceivably be subjected, He would stand spotless and blameless. The engineer may know full well that his design will stand the stress and strain to which it is subjected, because he knows it has been designed properly. Nevertheless, the construction specifications will require that it be tested—not to assure the engineer, but to assure the public, that it will stand. 

So it was with Abraham. God knew what Abraham would do; but Abraham and Sarah, and all around them must know, that the Lord Himself meant more to Abraham than even Isaac did. — Morris, page 374.

When an important word or concept occurs for the first time in the Bible, usually in the book of Genesis, the context in which it occurs sets the pattern for its primary usage and development all through the rest of Scripture. … “Love” is first mentioned … of the love of a father for his son. “Thy son, whom thou lovest.” Furthermore, it is used in connection with the sacrificial offering of that only, and beloved, son. The deep love of a father for his only son (yet a father who is willing to slay him) is thus inferred to be representative of the most complete and meaningful concept of the very word “love” itself. …

The first occurrence of “love”in the New Testament is in the clearest possible expression of the love of God the Father for His Son. it is found in Matthew 3:17: “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” — Morris, pages 375-376.

Abraham rode on an ass. … Isaac and the other two young men walked. The journey took them two full days and part of the third. Moriah was near Jerusalem (that is, where Jerusalem would be) and Abraham’s home was in the south, evidently not too far from Beersheba. The total distance was thus about thirty miles. Why would God tell Abraham to go so far, and to just this spot? There is no explanation in the text; but there must have been a reason, since God is not capricious. The answer can only be that God knew this would be the place where later His temple would be built (2 Chronicles 3:1). Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac was to foreshadow all the sacrifices that would later be offered in this place, which in turn were types and shadows of the one great Sacrifice that would be offered one day nearby, when the Father would offer the Son as the Savior of the world. — Morris, page 377.

In a figure (or “type”— Hebrews 11:19) Abraham’s only-begotten son was raised from the dead. The antitype can, of course, be nothing else that the resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God, from the dead, after He offered Himself up to the Father as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. — Morris, page 378.

In response to God’s call Abraham states simply “Here I am,” which indicates not simply that he is present, but, more importantly, that he is available—i.e., ready and willing to undertake whatever the task to which God might call him. This commences, in fact, a series of biblical examples in which individuals characterized by strong and growing faith respond to God’s call—whatever it might be—with an affirmation of ready and unconditional obedience—in each case expressed by the same simple statement, “Here I am!” (thus Jacob [Genesis 46:2], Moses [Exodus 3:4], Samuel [1 Samuel 3:4], and Isaiah [Isaiah 6:8]). And in every one of these instances, notably, the specific content of God’s call or commission is revealed only after the individual has expressed his readiness (and so committed himself) to serve. — Wechsler, page 209-210.

Abraham arrived at the place of sacrifice on the third day, the Christological significance of which is centered in the fact that this was not only the day on which he prepared to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, but also the day on which “he received him back as a type” (Hebrews 11:19)—i.e., as a type of Him who was likewise received back “on the third day” as the “first fruits of those who are asleep” (Acts 10:40; 1 Corinthians 15:20). Abraham’s strong faith—and the basis for the statement in Hebrews that “he considered that God is able to raise (Isaac) from the dead”—is represented by his statement to his young men (i.e., servants) that he and Isaac would go up the mountain to worship and then return (both verbs in Hebrew are plural). For this to happen, clearly, God must be able not only to resurrect Isaac from the dead, but also to reconstitute him from the ashes of being offered as a burnt offering (which shows, incidentally, that the manner of interment is inconsequential for the believer, the resurrection of whom is also characterized by recreation; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:50-54). The basis for Abraham’s faith, in turn, is God’s unconditional promise in the immediately preceding chapter that “through Isaac your descendants shall be named” (Genesis 21:12; cf. Hebrews 11:18), which, since Isaac was not yet married, could not happen if he remained dead. — Wechsler, pages 211-212.

In response to Isaac’s question Abraham finally reveals all—though gently and in words imbued with confident faith. However, the typical translation of his response—to wit, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son”—leaves something to be desired, since it logically contradicts the expectation that God would resurrect Isaac … Abraham’s answer may be literally rendered “God is providing the lamb …”—which translation thus resolves any contradiction, for it is therefore to Isaac that Abraham is referring. … This understanding of Abraham’s response further underscores the intense typological significance of this event by presenting yet another titular linkage between Isaac and Jesus—namely, the description of both as a “lamb” specifically provided by God (cf. John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7). In this respect it is also significant that Isaac, like Jesus, is not forced to be a sacrifice, but in fact willingly undertakes this role as placed upon him by his father (cf. Mark 10:45; John 10:18). … Finally, concerning the nature of God’s provision in both cases, it may be noted that the verb translated “provide” in verses 8 and 14 is, literally, the same verb meaning “to see” used throughout chapter one (as in Genesis 16:13, etc.) that typically denotes God’s assessment and/or provision of that which though it may not be “good” for man, is always best. — Wechsler, pages 212-213.

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