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Genesis 22

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The Testing of Abraham.#The divine demand that Abraham sacrifice to God the son of promise is the greatest of his trials; after the successful completion of the test, he has only to buy a burial site for Sarah and find a wife for Isaac. The story is widely recognized as a literary masterpiece, depicting in a few lines God as the absolute Lord, inscrutable yet ultimately gracious, and Abraham, acting in moral grandeur as the great ancestor of Israel. Abraham speaks simply, with none of the wordy evasions of chaps. 13 and 21. The style is laconic; motivations and thoughts are not explained, and the reader cannot but wonder at the scene. In vv. 15–18, the angel repeats the seventh and climactic promise. Moriah: the mountain is not given a precise geographical location here, though 2 Chr 3:1 identifies Moriah as the mountain of Jerusalem where Solomon built the Temple; Abraham is thus the first to worship there. The word “Moriah” is a play on the verb “to see” (Heb. ra’ah); the wordplay is continued in v. 8, “God will provide (lit., “see”)” and in v. 14, Yahweh-yireh, meaning “the Lord will see/provide.” 1Some time afterward, God put Abraham to the test and said to him: Abraham! “Here I am!” he replied.#Sir 44:20. 2Then God said: Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There offer him up as a burnt offering on one of the heights that I will point out to you.#2 Chr 3:1; 1 Mc 2:52; Heb 11:17. 3Early the next morning Abraham saddled his donkey, took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac, and after cutting the wood for the burnt offering, set out for the place of which God had told him.
4On the third day Abraham caught sight of the place from a distance. 5Abraham said to his servants: “Stay here with the donkey, while the boy and I go on over there. We will worship and then come back to you.” 6So Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two walked on together, 7Isaac spoke to his father Abraham. “Father!” he said. “Here I am,” he replied. Isaac continued, “Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” 8“My son,” Abraham answered, “God will provide the sheep for the burnt offering.” Then the two walked on together.
9When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. Next he bound#Bound: the Hebrew verb is ‘aqad, from which is derived the noun Akedah, “the binding (of Isaac),” the traditional Jewish name for this incident. his son Isaac, and put him on top of the wood on the altar.#Jas 2:21. 10Then Abraham reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.#Wis 10:5. 11But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham, Abraham!” “Here I am,” he answered. 12“Do not lay your hand on the boy,” said the angel. “Do not do the least thing to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you did not withhold from me your son, your only one.”#Rom 8:32; 1 Jn 4:9. 13Abraham looked up and saw a single ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering in place of his son.#While the Bible recognizes that firstborn males belong to God (Ex 13:11–16; 34:19–20), and provides an alternate sacrifice to redeem firstborn sons, the focus here is on Abraham’s being tested by God (v. 1). But the widely attested practice of child sacrifice underscores, for all its horror today, the realism of the test. 14Abraham named that place Yahweh-yireh;#Yahweh-yireh: a Hebrew expression meaning “the Lord will see/provide.” See note on vv. 1–19. hence people today say, “On the mountain the Lord will provide.”
15#The seventh and climactic statement of the blessings to Abraham. Unlike the other statements, which were purely promissory, this one is presented as a reward for Abraham’s extraordinary trust. A second time the angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven 16#Gn 15:5; Ex 32:13; Lk 1:73; Rom 4:13; Heb 6:13–14; 11:12. and said: “I swear by my very self—oracle of the Lord—that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your son, your only one, 17I will bless you and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants will take possession of the gates of their enemies,#Gn 24:60. 18and in your descendants all the nations of the earth will find blessing, because you obeyed my command.”#Gn 12:3; 18:18; 26:4; Sir 44:21; Acts 3:25; Gal 3:16.
19Abraham then returned to his servants, and they set out together for Beer-sheba, where Abraham lived.
Nahor’s Descendants.#The descendants to the second generation of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, who married Milcah. Of Terah’s three sons (11:27), the oldest, Abraham, fathered Isaac (21:1–7), and the youngest, Haran (who died in Ur), fathered Lot. Abraham is now told that Nahor had eight children by Milcah and four by his concubine Reumah. Apart from the notice about the children born to Abraham by his second wife, Keturah (25:1–6), all the information about Terah’s family to the second generation is now complete. It is noteworthy that Jacob will, like Nahor, have eight children by his wives and four by his concubines. 20Some time afterward, the news came to Abraham: “Milcah too has borne sons to your brother Nahor: 21Uz, his firstborn, his brother Buz, Kemuel the father of Aram, 22Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.” 23Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. 24His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore children: Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.
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The Offering of Isaac
1Now after these things, God tested [the faith and commitment of] Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he answered, “Here I am.” 2God said, “Take now your son, your only son [of #Abraham also fathered Ishmael by Sarah’s slave, Hagar, but Isaac was his only son of promise, the legal heir of Abraham.promise], whom you love, Isaac, and go to the region of #This area later was to become Jerusalem and the site of Solomon’s temple.Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3So Abraham got up early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and his son Isaac; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and then he got up and went to the place of which God had told him. 4On the third day [of travel] Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5Abraham said to his servants, “Settle down and stay here with the donkey; the #At this time Isaac would probably be about twenty years old.young man and I will go over there and worship [God], and we will come back to you.” 6Then Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it #As Jesus carried the crossbar for His own crucifixion, so here Isaac carried the wood for his own execution by fire, but God had mercy on him.on [the shoulders of] Isaac his son, and he took the #I.e. a firepot filled with burning coals.fire (firepot) in his own hand and the [sacrificial] knife; and the two of them walked on together. 7And Isaac said to Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Isaac said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” 8Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself #Abraham had complete faith and trust in God. Because God’s covenant with him depended on Isaac, Abraham may have anticipated that God would reveal to him an alternative to the sacrifice of Isaac, as He in fact did (vv 11-13). But Abraham was determined to carry out what God had commanded him to do, because of his faith in God’s promise.a lamb for the burnt offering.” So the two walked on together.
9When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood, and bound Isaac his son and placed him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to #The Hebrew verb refers to a ritual procedure by which the blood flows straight to the ground.kill his son. 11But the #See note 16:7.Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” He answered, “Here I am.” 12The Lord said, “Do not reach out [with the knife in] your hand against the boy, and do nothing to [harm] him; for now I know that you fear God [with reverence and profound respect], since you have not withheld from Me your son, your only son [of promise].” 13Then Abraham looked up and glanced around, and behold, behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering (ascending sacrifice) instead of his son. 14So Abraham named that place #Heb YHWH jireh. Lit the Lord will see (in the sense of “see to it”).The Lord Will Provide. And it is said to this day, “On the mountain of the Lord it #This is a prophetic statement which looks ahead to the fact that the Messiah, the Son of God, would be the ultimate sacrifice, chosen and provided by the Father.will be seen and provided.”
15The #See note 16:7.Angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16and said, “By Myself (on the basis of Who I Am) I have sworn [an oath], declares the Lord, that since you have done this thing and have not withheld [from Me] your son, your only son [of promise], 17indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed like the stars of the heavens and like the sand on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of #Or his.their enemies [by conquering them]. 18Through your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have heard and obeyed My voice.” 19So Abraham returned to his servants, and they got up and went with him to Beersheba; and Abraham settled in Beersheba.
20Now after these things Abraham was told, “Milcah has borne children to your brother Nahor: 21Uz the firstborn and Buz his brother and Kemuel the father of Aram, 22Chesed and Hazo and Pildash and Jidlaph and Bethuel.” 23Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. These eight [children] Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. 24Nahor’s #I.e. a type of secondary or inferior “wife” (often a slave), much lower in rank than the official wife who managed the household and gave birth to the “legitimate” children. Concubines had marginal rights to financial support and recognition. Their children were usually acknowledged as offspring of the man, but were of lower status than the children born to the official wife.concubine, whose name was Reumah, gave birth to Tebah and Gaham and Tahash and Maacah.