Old Testament
New Testament
Bible Studies

Genesis 22

Table of Content

The sacrifice of lssak in Gn22 occupies an important place within the Christian tradition as a foreshadowing of (pointing to)the sacrifice of Christ. Yet it is surprising to note that the New Testament makes no reference to this section of text. The only text that seems to refer to this passage is Rm 8 :32 "How will He, who did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, not also with Him give us all things?"

At the time, the well-known philosopher Kiekegaard had a very hard time with this. He thought it was "illogical". But in fact, God's whole plan of salvation is 'illogical' for us but divine.

Verse 1. And it happened after these things that God put Abraham to the test. He said to him, Abraham! He said, Behold, here I am.

To test is the Hebrew word Nasah and is "to put to the test" and "to test.

One checks from certain expectations to see if a person meets them. Often followed by 'to know'. See verse 12 "now I know". In Ex. 20:20 it says both 'testing and 'fearing God'. So here the link with testing and fearing.

Abraham stood his ground; what would the people do? James makes it clear that God tests but does not tempt (James 1:13). Abaham had confidence in the Lord God. The Greek word 'pistis' means 'believe' but also 'trust' and the two go hand in hand.

There is a certain word connection by which it may be coupled with 'miracle'! A trial that comes from YHWH offers the possibility of a miracle on earth.

God is going to see how far His faith will go. But, of course, God knows how it is going to end because His 'plan of salvation' is going to work and it is going to succeed. Either way. Failure is not an option. For Abraham it will have been a special challenge. Read Jae. 2: 23 : 'and the scripture is fulfilled which says, And Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness, and he was called a friend of God'.

This 'here I am' is in Hebrew 'present'!

Verse 2. He said, Take yet your son, your only one, whom you love, Isaac, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will name you.

The only, beloved son is, of course, Isaac, and is, of course, strongly reminiscent of Jesus, the beloved Son of God. When Jesus is baptized by John. Matt. 3: 17 "And behold, a voice from heaven said, This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased!"

The Hebrew word "jehidecha" (from "jagid') is translated "your only one," but also has the meaning of "your precious, your beloved

The land Moriah has been equated by Jewish tradition with the to Mount Moriah on which the temple was to be built. Because ofverse 14 'the mountain of Yahweh shall be provided for' and that therefore Isaac is sacrificed at the later Golgotha. But unlike the temple mount, the place God designates is in fact visible from afar. See verse 4. And Ps 125 : 2 'Round about Jerusalem are mountains, so is the Lord round about His people, from henceforth to everlasting'.P

Verse 3. Then Abraham got up early in the morning, saddled his donkey, took two of his servants with him, and Isaac his son. He split wood for the burnt offering, got up and went to the place God had called him.

Verse 4. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and he saw that place in the distance.

Verse 5. Abraham said to his servants: Stay here with the donkey, and and the boy will go there. When wehave bowed down, we will return to you.

Verse 6. Then Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and put it on his son Isaac. He himself took the fireand the knife in his hand. Thus they both went together.

Abraham's feelings are not described here. We can only guess at them. Only his actions are described here. Abraham does exactly what is asked of him.

The "when we bowed down" is a typical designation. It actually means bowing down to God during the sacrifice. Actually, 'when we have worshipped' or 'when we have worshipped' here is the Hebrew verb 'sachah' to worship, It is the Hitpael root formation givingit the meaning 'to bow down before God in worship'. The Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee lexicon explains as follows: 'in worshipping a deity, hence to honor God with prayers' with specific reference to Gen. 22 : 5.

So here we see the typological foreshadowing seen to God the Father and God the Son who went out together to the altar of Calvary.

Look at verse 6 : As Isaac carried the wood. so Jesus carried the cross. Great parallel!

Verse 7. Then Isaac spoke to his father Abraham, saying, My father! He said, Behold, here I am, my son. Hesaid, Behold, here is the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?

Verse 8. Abraham said, God will provide Himself with the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.

So they both went together.

Verse 9. And they came to the place which God had named for him. Abraham built the altar there, arranged the wood on it, bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.

Verse 10. Then Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.

Verse 11. But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, Abraham, Abraham! He said, Behold, here I am.

Verse 12. Then He said, Do not put out your hand to the boy or do anything to him, for now I

know that you are God-fearing and have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.

So in these verses a listing of actions. So Abraham is willing to "give back" his beloved son to God. To compare with Hanna, who was also barren just like Sarah, and gave her son Samuel back to God by letting him grow up in the temple. We may also give back to God our relationships received from God, as well as our talents!

To Isaac's question, Abraham gives a special answer: God will provide Himself with the lamb for the burnt offering. Three approaches:

God will seek a lamb for Himself - God will seek Himself as a lamb for burnt offering - God will provide a lamb namely Isaac. Eitherway, Isaac was confused, but accepts the vague explanation.

Isaac is bound on the woodpile, the Hebrew verb for bind is used only here 'aqad. Hence the Jewish name of this history" the 'binding' (Aqeda) of Isaac. It is commemorated by the Jews annually on the New Year's feast (Rosh Hashannah). The Jewish explanation suggests that Isaac may have been 37 years old (in the year of Sara's death - Gn 23: 1). At that age, there is more emphasis on one's own surrender than when Isaac had still been a small boy. It cannot be otherwise than that Isaac voluntarily bound himself and agreed to the divine demand. This says a lot about his faith. Own of both Abraham and Isaac.

Reading Hb 11: 17 -19:

By faith Abraham, when put to the test by God, sacrificed Isaac. And he, who had received the promises, offered his only begotten. It had been said to him, That of Isaac shall be called thy offspring. He considered with himself that God was able to raise him even from the dead. And he got him back, as it were, from there also.

In a commentary I read the following: Abraham did not think about God saying "it is not necessary," but believed in a resurrection of his son. That could well be.

The Angel speaks to Abraham just at the right time. It is striking that the Angel says: Abraham, Abraham. So twice! This rarely happens in the Bible. When it happens it is always at a crucial moment! Jacob when he wants to go to Egypt to see Joseph; Moses at the burning bush, Samuel during his vocation, Martha when she is extremely preoccupied with serving, Simon when the Lord Jesus reveals to him that Satan has urgently demanded to be allowed to sift the apostles like wheat (Lk 22:31) and Saulwhen the glorified Lord confronts him with the fact that he is persecuting Him. Then once more at the place of Jerusalem when theLord Jesus points out to the city that He tried several times to gather the city together, but the city itself would not (Mt 23:37). 

Verse 13. Then Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked back, and behold, behind him was a ram with his horns entangled in the thicket. Abraham went there, took that ram and offered it as a burnt offering in the place of his son.

Verse 14. And Abraham gave that place the name, The LORD will provide for it. Therefore it is said today, In the mountain of the LORD it shall be provided for.

Regarding verse 1 3: Abraham lifted up his eyes... read Jh 8 :56 "Abraham your father greatly rejoiced that he should see My day, and he saw it, and rejoiced."

At the altar of his son, Abraham saw the day of the Lord Jesus. He saw in particular when he saw the ram, whose horns were tangled in the bush.

Judaism states that the people later used one horn of this ram when receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai and that the other horn will be used to announce the coming of the Messiah (Pirkei d'Rabbi Eliezer. Scherman, 2009:405).

The Angel of the Lord is a Christophany. A revelation of Christ Himself. For this Angel spoke from heaven!

Verse 15. Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham for the second time from heaven.

Verse 16. He said, I swear by Myself, saith the LORD: Because you have done this and have not withheld from me your son, your only one,

Verse 17. I will surely bless you richly and make your descendants very numerous, like the stars in the sky and like the sand that is on the shore of the sea. Your progeny shall possess the gate of his enemies.

Verse 18. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth will be blessed, because you have been obedientto My voice.

Here the very familiar blessing to Abraham. God's plan of salvation unfolds here more and more. By the way, only here is thecomparison made between Abraham's posterity and the stars and the sand. In Genesis 32: 12 there is a repetition of this: "Yousaid, I will certainly do you good and I will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted because of the multitude"!

The Midrash Rabbah writes of this rich posterity "which in the days of Messiah Israel will be compared to the sand of the sea"( MidrashRabbah - Genesis 2). The Talmud compares the dust to humiliation and the stars to the elevation of the people through theirobedience to faith: 'If they sink down, they sink to the dust of the earth; if, however, they rise up, they rise to the stars'((BabylonianTalmud, tractate Megillah 16a).

It is also a repetition of Genesis 12 : 3. The Lord God is thus showing that He will be faithful like Abraham. (>N. Brueggemann, Genesis, 1982, 194).

Verse 19. Then Abraham returned to his servants. They got up and went together to Berseba. And Abrahamcontinued to live in Berseba.

Progeny of Nahor
Verse 20 And it came to pass after these things that Abraham was brought the message, Behold, Milka also has borne Nahor, your brother, sons:

Verse 21 Uz, his firstborn, Buz, his brother, and Kemuel, the father of Aram, Verse 22 Chesed, Hazo, Pildas, Jidlaf, and Bethuel.

Verse 23 Bethuel begot Rebekah. These eight bore Milka to Nahor, Abraham's brother.

Verse 24 Also his concubine, whose name was Reubah, bore sons: Tebah, Gaham, Tahas and Maacha.

The name Chesed is probably related to the Chaldeans.