The Sacrifice of Isaac
1After these things God tested Abraham#Dt 8:2,16; 1Co 10:13; Heb 11:17; Jms 1:12–14; 1Pt 1:6–7 and said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he answered.
2“Take your son,” he said, “your only son Isaac, whom you love,#Gn 22:12,16; Jr 6:26; Am 8:10; Mk 12:6; Lk 7:12; Jn 3:16; 1Jn 4:9 go to the land of Moriah,#2Ch 3:1 and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
3So Abraham got up early in the morning,#Jos 3:1 saddled his donkey, and took with him two of his young men and his son Isaac. He split wood for a burnt offering and set out to go to the place God had told him about. 4On the third day#Ex 19:11,16; Jos 9:17; Jdg 20:30; 2Sm 1:2; 1Kg 12:12; 2Kg 20:5; Est 5:1; Hs 6:2; Mt 17:23 Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there to worship; then we’ll come back to you.” 6Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac.#Jn 19:17 In his hand he took the fire and the knife,#Jdg 19:29; Pr 30:14 and the two of them walked on together.
7Then Isaac spoke to his father Abraham and said, “My father.”
And he replied, “Here I am, my son.”
Isaac said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
8Abraham answered, “God himself will provide#22:8 Lit see#Gn 22:14 the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” Then the two of them walked on together.
9When they arrived at the place that God had told him about, Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood. He bound his son Isaac#22:9 Or Isaac hand and foot and placed him on the altar#Heb 11:17; Jms 2:21 on top of the wood. 10Then Abraham reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.
11But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”
He replied, “Here I am.”
12Then he said, “Do not lay a hand on the boy or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your only son from me.”#Rm 8:32 13Abraham looked up and saw a ram#22:13 Some Hb mss, Sam, LXX, Syr, Tg; other Hb mss read saw behind him a ram caught in the thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son. 14And Abraham named that place The Lord Will Provide,#22:14 = Yahweh-yireh so today it is said, “It will be provided#22:14 Or “He will be seen on the Lord’s mountain.”
15Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16and said, “By myself I have sworn,”#Ps 105:9; Lk 1:73; Heb 6:13 this is the Lord’s declaration: “Because you have done this thing and have not withheld your only son, 17I will indeed bless you#Heb 6:14 and make your offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky#Gn 15:5; 26:4; Jr 33:22; Heb 11:12 and the sand on the seashore.#Gn 13:16; 32:12 Your offspring will possess the city gates of their#22:17 Lit his enemies.#Gn 24:60 18And all the nations of the earth will be blessed#22:18 Or will consider themselves blessed, or will find blessing by your offspring#Gn 12:3; 26:4; Ac 3:25; Gl 3:8 because you have obeyed my command.”
19Abraham went back to his young men, and they got up and went together to Beer-sheba. And Abraham settled in Beer-sheba.
20Now after these things Abraham was told, “Milcah also has borne sons to your brother Nahor:#Gn 11:29 21Uz his firstborn, his brother Buz, Kemuel the father of Aram, 22Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.” 23And Bethuel fathered Rebekah.#Gn 24:15 Milcah bore these eight to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. 24His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.
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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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