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Genesis: Chapter 22

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1After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2He said, “Take 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 that I shall show you.” 3So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. 4On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. 5Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.” 6Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. 7Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.

9When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill a Or to slaughter his son. 11But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14So Abraham called that place “The LORD will provide”; b Or will see; Heb traditionally transliterated Jehovah Jireh as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” c Or he shall be seen

15The angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven, 16and said, “By myself I have sworn, says the LORD: Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of their enemies, 18and by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.” 19So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beer‐sheba; and Abraham lived at Beer‐sheba.

20Now after these things it was told Abraham, “Milcah also has borne children, to your brother Nahor: 21Uz the firstborn, Buz his brother, 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. 24Moreover, his concubine, whose name was Reumah, bore Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.

Notes:

a Or to slaughter

b Or will see; Heb traditionally transliterated Jehovah Jireh

c Or he shall be seen

Text Commentary view alone

22.1–19 : The testing of Abraham.

1a :

The narrative begins by informing the reader of something that Abraham does not know, that God tested Abraham. Abraham's “fear” of God is not proven (v. 12 ) until he has reached out his hand to slaughter his son (v. 10 ).

1b–2 :

After giving up Ishmael earlier (see 21.8–21n. ), Abraham must prepare to give up Isaac, his promised heir, as well. The story echoes the opening of the Abraham story. Just as he was once asked to go (Heb “lek leka”) from his family of origin and travel to a land God would show him ( 12.1 ), so now he must go (“lek leka”) and sacrifice his future family on a mountain that God will show him (v. 2 ). The way the command is stated (your only sonwhom you love), which parallels the syntax of 12.1 , presupposes that what is being asked of Abraham is extraordinary and extremely difficult. The story does not presuppose a general practice of sacrifice of the firstborn, but does suggest that such a practice could be performed under extraordinary circumstances (see 2 Kings 3.27 ).

3 :

As in 12.4–6 Abraham obeys the command immediately.

5 :

Abraham's promise that he and Isaac will return may suggest a faith that God will work out an alternative sacrifice (see v. 8 ).

9–13 :

The narration slows down here, showing how close Abraham came to fulfilling the command. Some later Jewish traditions understood Abraham to have actually sacrificed (an obedient) Isaac, making both men models for later generations of Jewish martyrs. A similar image stands behind the Christian understanding of Isaac as a prefiguration of Christ.

12 :

See 22.1a n.

14 :

Like other characters in Genesis (e.g., Jacob in 28.19 and 32.2,30 ), Abraham names the place in response to his encounter with God (see 22.8; cf. 28.19; 32.30 ). The name The Lord will provide is not attested elsewhere as a place name. The mention of Moriah in v. 2 and of the mount of the Lord in v. 14 may be allusions to Jerusalem (see 1 Chr 3.1 ).

15–18 :

This second divine call stands out as an additional divine response to his obedience (cf. vv. 11–12 ), this time providing a reward for Abraham's passing of the “test.”

18 :

See 12.3n.

22.20–24 : The descendants of Abraham's brother Nahor.

See ch 24 .

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