Genesis 22 - Outline of Genesis (Book Notes menu page)
22:1 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].
22:2 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.
{cp. Gen 12:1}
God did tempt Abraham...- God was testing (ie., proving) His servant.
The word 'tempt' can refer to temptation (to sin), or to testing (proving). God does not tempt to sin.
Abraham's faith was tested to see whether his heart was occupied by God alone or by some other object. God does not need to 'prove' everyone: eg., Lot required no testing because his life demonstrated that his heart was occupied by Sodom. cp. Prov 23:26; Jam 1:12-14; 1Pet 1:7,8
Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest...-
An object, which might detract from Abraham's love for God, is here identified:
  • ''Yes, Isaac, the child of promise, -- Isaac the object of long-deferred hope, the object of parental love, and the one in whom all the kindreds of the earth were to be blessed -- this Isaac must be offered as a burnt offering.'' [CHM]
  • Isaac was Abraham's 'only' son because Ishmael had been disinherited, and because God had specified that ''in Isaac shall thy seed be called'' (21:12).
         Isaac was Abraham's 'laughter' in his old age, his joy of living, his reward for waiting, and his hope for the future. It was only right that he loved him intensely.
  • whom thou lovest- This is the first occurrence of the word 'love' in the Bible.
    It's usage here is definitive of what God means when He speaks of love.
    Abraham's love for Isaac pictures the love of another Father. cp. Mat 3:17; 17:5; Joh 3:16; 1Joh 4:10
offer him there for a burnt offering.- Abraham could not understand God's command.
But there was no mistaking His voice. Was He not El 'Olam, the God of secret things? 21:33
Abraham had walked with Him long enough to know that those who trust Him are not disappointed.
But this? Should he cling to Isaac and the promises bound up in his life?
Or, could he surrender them to the ashes, leaving himself nothing but God alone?
Would you pass this test? Your 'Isaac' is that person or thing which is your heart's desire.
Can you say: ''I will hold fast my Isaac, until I have found my all in God.'' [CHM] - Heb 11:17-19
22:3 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.
22:4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.
22:5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass;
and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and
{we will} come again to you.
22:6 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.
22:7 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?
22:8 And Abraham said, My son,
God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering:
so they went both of them together.
22:9 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.
22:10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
Abraham rose up early in the morning...- he did not delay his obedience (cp. 21:14).
cp. Psa 119:60; Gal 1:15,16; cf. Lot's delay (19:15,16)
His actions of obedience were not delegated, but determined at his own hand.
on the third day Abraham... saw the place afar off.-
  • The place: Mount 'Moriah' (v.2, meaning: 'seen of Jehovah'). God, who sees the 'afar off' future, knew that upon this ridge, the Temple would be built (2Chr 3:1), and Jesus would be crucified.
  • The third day: On the day Abraham began to obey, Isaac was as good as dead.
    On the third day, his son was effectively raised from the dead. Heb 11:17-19, cp. Mat 16:21
I and the lad will go... and worship...- This is the first occurrence of the word 'worship' in the Bible.
God is giving us a picture of what true worship is. Worship involves more than music and praise on our lips. Abraham ascribed worth to the Lord, by giving his all to Him. His worship involved hearing God's Word, and responding from his innermost being with complete obedience, and with all that he possessed. He had nothing with which to worship God except what he had received from His hand. cp. Joh 4:23,24; Rev 4:10,11
Note that Abraham was not the only worshipper on Moriah. v.5
  • Father and son went together. cp. 2Cor 5:19
  • Father and son went privately (hidden from the view of others). cp. Mat 27:45,46
Abraham took the wood... and laid it upon Isaac his son...-
Isaac was a young man, at least in his mid-teens (old enough to carry a substantial load), and no more than 37 years of age (figured from Sarah's age, cp. 17:17; 23:1,2).
Isaac pictures another Son who carried the wood of His sacrifice (Joh 19:17).
my father... where is the lamb?-
Father & son communed prior to the sacrifice. cp. Joh 12:27,28
God will provide Himself a lamb.- Abraham's words are prophetic,
looking beyond the ram (not a lamb) that substituted for Isaac, to the Lamb of God (Joh 1:29).
Abraham... bound Isaac... and laid him on the altar...- Isaac yielded to his father.
This strong young man could certainly have overpowered an aged man.
Isaac's role was different from that of his father. But he also worshipped, surrendering his own life and future, in obedience to God's Word.
In this also, Isaac pictures another Son. Psa 40:7,8; Luke 22:42; Php 2:8; Heb 5:7,8
Abraham stretched forth his hand... to slay his son.-
There on the altar, all of his hopes and dreams would soon be turned to smoke and ashes.
''Isaac without God was nothing: God without Isaac was everything.'' [CHM] - Heb 11:17-19
22:11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven,
and said, Abraham, Abraham:
and he said, Here [am] I.
22:12 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.
22:13 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.
22:14 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.
Lay not thine hand upon the lad... for now I know that thou fearest God...-
''Faith is always proved by action, and the fear of God by the fruits that flow from it.'' [CHM]
Faith and works of obedience are not contradictory, but complementary:
Romans 4:2-5
Justification is by faith-
James 2:14,18,21-24
Faith is known by works-
- an inward principle.- an outward development of that inner principle.
- in the hidden life.- in the manifested life.
- as a man is known to God.- as a man is known to men.
thou hast not withheld... thine only son from me.-
''God spared that father's heart a pang which He would not spare His own.'' [F.W.Grant]
(In the LXX of v.12, the word for 'withheld' is GK= epheiso. That word is translated 'spared' in Rom 8:32.)
Abraham looked... took the ram... offered him... in the stead of his son.-
Note that Abraham did not accomplish the work which God had commanded of him.
Rather, on account of his obedience by faith, God provided a substitute.
As the ram was a substitute for Isaac, the Lamb of God became the substitute for me. cp. Joh 1:29; 3:16
Abraham called... that place 'Jehovah-jireh' {lit., 'the LORD sees,' or 'the LORD will provide'}-
...In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen {or, 'provided'}.-
The word (HB= ra'ah) is translated 'see' (v.4, 14) and 'provide' (v.8).
22:15 And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,
22:16 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]:
22:17 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;
22:18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
because thou hast obeyed my voice.
22:19 So Abraham returned unto his young men,
and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.
The angel of the Lord called unto Abraham... the second time-
  • The first time (v.11-13) - was to stop his hand and to direct his gaze to the substitute provided (the ram).
  • The second time (v.15-18) - was to provide revelation concerning God & His purposes.
because thou hast done this (v.16)... because thou hast obeyed my voice (v.18)...-
In the sight of God, who sees the heart, Abraham was previously 'justified by faith' (15:6).
In the sight of all creation, God was just to bless Abraham whose faith had now been proven, by his obedience to God's Word. The word for 'obeyed' (in v.18) is HB=shama, to hear, to regard, to obey.
Faith and obedience are inseparable from each other, and from God's Word. Rom 10:16; 16:25,26
By myself I have sworn, saith the LORD...- cp. 15:7-17; Heb 6:13,14
Abraham had surrendered everything to God, to find everything in God.
The world had no sway over him, because of faith in the One who has all authority. cp. 1Joh 5:4,5
that in blessing I will bless thee...-
The points of the Abrahamic Covenant relating to his seed are confirmed & amplified-
  1. thy seed to be multiplied (v.17a)
  2. thy Seed to possess the gate of his enemies (v.17 b)
    This looks forward to the King: first, David's Kingdom; finally, the Messiah's Kingdom.
  3. thy Seed to bless all nations of the earth (v.18). (He did not say 'seeds' but 'Seed'.)
    This looks forward to the Lamb of God, whose one substitutionary Sacrifice for sins forever, is the source of blessing to believers now (Eph 1:3), and to all nations when He comes again as King of righteousness and peace (Jer 23:5,6).
         Because of his obedience to God's Word, Abraham was given a glimpse of the means by which God would provide the way of salvation (in the Gospel of Christ). Gal 3:8,13-16; Joh 8:56
22:20 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;
{cp. Gen 11:27-30}
22:21 Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram,
22:22 And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel.
22:23 And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham's brother.
22:24 And his concubine, whose name [was] Reumah,
she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah.
This brief genealogy provides background for the marriage of Isaac to Rebekah, in ch.24.

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