God commands Abraham to offer up Isaac. (Verse 1,2.)
Abraham’s faith and obedience to the Divine command. (Verse 3-10.)
Another sacrifice is provided instead of Isaac. (Verse 11-14.)
The covenant with Abraham renewed. (Verse 15-19.)
The family of Nahor. (Verse 20-24.)
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.
“tempt” – this verse provides an interesting illustration in solving apparent “contradictions” in the Bible. The verse says that God “tempted” Abraham – what does James 1:13 say however? At first glance this appears to be a contradiction, but this is where comparing scripture with scripture and READING the Bible for what it says is important. The context of the verse in James is about tempting and being tempted “with evil” – the passage in Genesis 22 says nothing about God tempting Abraham to do evil. Read Hebrews 11:17 – concerning this same situation, what word does the Holy Spirit use in Hebrews instead of “tempted”? Thus we see, by comparing scripture with scripture, that the word “tempt” has more than one meaning. It can refer to enticement to do evil or to testing! There are no errors in God’s word (note Psalm 19:7) and anything that appears to be a contradiction can eventually be solved if we pray about the matter, seek an answer from God and study!
2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
[John 3:16, 2nd Chron 3:1]
[thee – the second person, singular pronoun, ‘you’;includes Thine, Thou, Thy”]
“only son Isaac” – Isaac was the only son of Abraham as far as God’s covenant with Abraham was concerned (see 21:12)
This chapter above all other is the chapter which best shows God’s plan of redemption for mankind. Notice first of all that God refers to Isaac as Abraham’s only son.
Ishmael Abraham have another Son? Yes, named Ishmael, but he is gone by this time with his mother, Hagar the bondwoman. Ishmael is the child of the flesh not the child of the promise.
Ishmael was conceived from an unlawful union with the Egyptian handmaiden that Sarai picked up down in Egypt while Abraham was out of the will of God.
Notice were Abraham, a type of God the Father, is to sacrifice his Son, a type of Christ, on one of the mountains that God will tell him of in the land of Moriah.
Jesus Christ God’s Son was sacrificed on Mount Moriah which just so happens to be 777 meters above Sea Level. Just another coincidence. I don’t think so.
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.
God asks quite a thing of Abraham – he responds with immediate obedience; all too often we question God’s commands rather than obeying! Obedience is only true obedience when it is immediate and complete.
4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.
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.
Abraham’s faith was so strong that he fully intended to return to his servants with his son – the same son he was offering as a sacrifice! Compare Hebrews 11:17-18.
These servants were believers in the God of Abraham by faith and they were all Gentiles that had been circumcised. These were not justified by the law for the Law was still hundreds of years in the future under Moses.
Abraham said that they would both go up on Moriah to worship and come again. Abraham believed that God would raise his Son up again because he knew his Son Isaac was the Son of the Promise.
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.
God’s own Son had wood placed upon his back in the form of a cross and he also had to walk up this very same hill to be sacrificed. Imagine the faith of Abraham to take his son up this hill.
Notice also that it says that they both went up together because in just a few verses we find out that only one person (Abraham) comes down.
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?
8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
[Isa 53:7, John 1:29, John 19:14, 1st Cor 5:7, 1st Pet 1:19, Rev 5:6]
Notice that it says that God would provide himself a lamb, the blood of lambs could not ever wash away Abraham’s sins but they did provide a covering until the true lamb of God would offer his sinless body as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. Daniel 9 says the Messiah would be cut off (killed) but not for his own sin.
Daniel 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself:
The time frame mentioned here leads us to only one person who could have fulfilled this prophecy because the time mentioned passed two thousand years ago in the person of Jesus of Bethlehem.
“God will provide himself a lamb” – this statement obviously had its immediate fulfilment in the fact that God provided a sheep for the offering – but this is also a prophetic statement as God did provide himself to be the Lamb who died for the sins of the world – The New KJV destroys this cross-reference by saying, “God will provide for himself a lamb.” Such are the ways in which the new “bibles” tamper with God’s words.
What is Jesus called in John 1:29?
What is Abraham called in 20:7?
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.
10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: 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.
[Gen 26:5, James 2:21]
the angel of the Lord is again a manifestation of Christ; note how this “angel of the Lord” talks about God in verse 12 and then in the same verse talks about not keeping “thine only son from ME.” When the angel speaks in verse 15 he is identified as the Lord!
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.
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.
“Jehovah-jireh” means “the Lord will provide, HVH will see.]
Jehovah will see (to it); Jehovah-Jireh, a symbolic name for Mt. Moriah.
Notice that God calls Isaac Abraham’s only Son. Isaac is the Son of Promise and the only son that God uses here. Is God a respecter of persons?
Does he condemn the descendants of Ishmael to Hell just because he likes one family or people more than the other? No! God simply chooses a line through which to bless the nations with the Messiah and it is through Isaac not Ishmael.
Ishmael’s descendants are no worse than the Jews or Gentiles. The Jews are no better than any of the others because they are the children of promise.
They are responsible as the children of promise to share God’s word with the world and instead often times they push many of Ishmael’s descendants away from God’s word by their own self-righteousness.
The descendants of Ishmael refused to come to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob because of their pride and have fallen for a lie that makes them feel special as they preach that it was Ishmael who is the son of promise.
Notice that it said that God now knew that Abraham feared God and would not hold back even his only Son from him. This is not the same Abram who said on two occasions that Sarai was his sister because he did not think that God would preserve him alive to keep his promises. Abraham has learned his lessons with age.
Jehovah-Jireh means the LORD (Jehovah) shall be seen. Yes Jehovah was seen on that very Mountain 2000 years later as the lamb of God which took away the sin of the world.
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:
[Luke 1:73, Heb 6:13]
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;
[Heb 6:14, Gen 24:60]
18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
[Gen 12:3, Gen 18:18]
In Genesis 24:60 Laban told his sister to be the mother of thousands of millions and let her seed possess the gates of her enemies, just like God prophesied. How did Laban know what God told Abraham on Mount Moriah? Lucky guess? Naaah
19 So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.
Isaac is a type of the Messiah (the Lamb of God) who dies as an atonement for the sins of the world. Isaac does not die but he is intentionally not mentioned as coming back down with Abraham to fulfill the type of the Messiah not being seen again until later. (He is not mentioned again in Genesis until he sees his bride coming as he goes to meet her at the end of chapter Genesis 24.
Verse eighteen is a promise that the Messiah shall come from Abrahams seed and bless the whole world with salvation if they will but call upon his name. Today Jew and Muslim alike are stiff-necked with pride and will not trust in the Messiah and be blessed.
Remember that I said that both Abraham and Isaac went up to the mountain together but if you notice here only Abraham is mentioned as coming down and we do not hear of Isaac again until the end of chapter twenty-four when Abraham (A Type of God the Father) sends his unnamed servant (a Type of the Holy Spirit) to get a bride for his Son (A Type of the Messiah).
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;
21 Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram,
22 And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel.
23 And Bethuel begat Rebekah: 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.
Genealogies should never be ignored, there is always one or two nuggets in them. Here Rebekah is listed which of course later becomes Isaac’s wife. Rebekah of course fulfills a major type or picture in scripture.
Isaac a type of Christ gets a Bride from his own family. Rebekah was Abraham’s brother’s granddaughter. Shemites not Canaan’s or Japeth’s descendants.
Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.
Verse 1,2 – We never are secure from trials In Hebrew, to tempt, and to try, or to prove, are expressed by the same word. Every trial is indeed a temptation, and tends to show the dispositions of the heart, whether holy or unholy. But God proved Abraham, not to draw him to sin, as Satan tempts. Strong faith is often exercised with strong trials, and put upon hard services. The command to offer up his son, is given in such language as makes the trial more grievous; every word here is a sword. Observe,
1. The person to be offered: Take thy son; not thy bullocks and thy lambs. How willingly would Abraham have parted with them all to redeem Isaac! Thy son; not thy servant. Thine only son; thine only son by Sarah. Take Isaac, that son whom thou lovest.
2. The place: three days’ journey off; so that Abraham might have time to consider, and might deliberately obey.
3. The manner: Offer him fro a burnt-offering; not only kill his son, his Isaac, but kill him as a sacrifice; kill him with all that solemn pomp and ceremony, with which he used to offer his burnt-offerings.
Verse 3-10 – Never was any gold tried in so hot a fire. Who but Abraham would not have argued with God? Such would have been the thought of a weak heart; but Abraham knew that he had to do with a God, even Jehovah. Faith had taught him not to argue, but to obey. He is sure that what God commands is good; that what he promises cannot be broken. In matters of God, whoever consults with flesh and blood, will never offer up his Isaac to God. The good patriarch rises early, and begins his sad journey. And now he travels three days, and Isaac still is in his sight! Misery is made worse when long continued. The expression, We will come again to you, shows that Abraham expected that Isaac, being raised from the dead, would return with him. It was a very affecting question that Isaac asked him, as they were going together: “My father,” said Isaac; it was a melting word, which, one would think, should strike deeper in the heart of Abraham, than his knife could in the heart of Isaac. Yet he waits for his son’s question. Then Abraham, where he meant not, prophesies: “My son, God will provide a lamb for a burnt-offering.” The Holy Spirit, by his mouth, seems to predict the Lamb of God, which he has provided, and which taketh away the sin of the world. Abraham lays the wood in order for his Isaac’s funeral pile, and now tells him the amazing news: Isaac, thou art the lamb which God has provided! Abraham, no doubt, comforting him with the same hopes with which he himself by faith was comforted. Yet it is necessary that the sacrifice be bound. The great Sacrifice, which, in the fulness of time, was to be offered up, must be bound, and so must Isaac. This being done, Abraham takes the knife, and stretches out his hand to give the fatal blow. Here is an act of faith and obedience, which deserves to be a spectacle to God, angels, and men. God, by his providence, calls us to part with an Isaac sometimes, and we must do it with cheerful submission to his holy will, 1st Samuel 3:18.
Verse 11-14 – It was not God’s intention that Isaac should actually be sacrificed, yet nobler blood than that of animals, in due time, was to be shed for sin, even the blood of the only begotten Son of God. But in the mean while God would not in any case have human sacrifices used. Another sacrifice is provided. Reference must be had to the promised Messiah, the blessed Seed. Christ was sacrificed in our stead, as this ram instead of Isaac, and his death was our discharge. And observe, that the temple, the place of sacrifice, was afterwards built upon this same mount Moriah; and Calvary, where Christ was crucified, was near. A new name was given to that place, for the encouragement of all believers, to the end of the world, cheerfully to trust in God, and obey him. Jehovah-jireh, the Lord will provide; probably alluding to what Abraham had said, God will provide himself a lamb. The Lord will always have his eye upon his people, in their straits and distresses, that he may give them seasonable help.
Verse 15-19 – There are high declarations of God’s favour to Abraham in this confirmation of the covenant with him, exceeding any he had yet been blessed with. Those that are willing to part with any thing for God, shall have it made up to them with unspeakable advantage. The promise, ver.18, doubtless points at the Messiah, and the grace of the gospel. Hereby we know the loving-kindness of God our Saviour towards sinful man, in that he hath not withheld his Son, his only Son, from us. Hereby we perceive the love of Christ, in that he gave himself a sacrifice for our sins. Yet he lives, and calls to sinners to come to him, and partake of his blood-bought salvation. He calls to his redeemed people to rejoice in him, and to glorify him. What then shall we render for all his benefits? Let his love constrain us to live not to ourselves, but to Him who died for us, and rose again. Admiring and adoring His grace, let us devote our all to his service, who laid down his life for our salvation. Whatever is dearest to us upon earth is our Isaac. And the only way for us to find comfort in an earthly thing, is to give it by faith into the hands of God. Yet remember that Abraham was not justified by his readiness to obey, but by the infinitely more noble obedience of Jesus Christ; his faith receiving this, relying on this, rejoicing in this, disposed and made him able for such wonderful self-denial and duty.
Verse 20-24 – This chapter ends with some account of Nahor’s family, who had settled at Haran. This seems to be given for the connexion which it had with the church of God. From thence Isaac and Jacob took wives; and before the account of those events this list is recorded. It shows that though Abraham saw his own family highly honoured with privileges, admitted into covenant, and blessed with the assurance of the promise, yet he did not look with disdain upon his relations, but was glad to hear of the increase and welfare of their families.