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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1 After these things occurred, God tested Abraham, and he said to him, "Abraham, Abraham." And he answered, "Here I am."
2 He said to him: "Take your only begotten son Isaac, whom you love, and go into the land of vision. And there you shall offer him as a holocaust upon one of the mountains, which I will show to you."
3 And so Abraham, getting up in the night, harnessed his donkey, taking with him two youths, and his son Isaac. And when he had cut wood for the holocaust, he traveled toward the place, as God had instructed him.
4 Then, on the third day, lifting up his eyes, he saw the place at a distance.
5 And he said to his servants: "Wait here with the donkey. I and the boy will hurry further ahead to that place. After we have worshipped, will return to you."
6 He also took the wood for the holocaust, and he imposed it upon his son Isaac. And he himself carried in his hands fire and a sword. And as the two continued on together,
7 Isaac said to his father, "My father." And he answered, "What do you want, son?" "Behold," he said, "fire and wood. Where is the victim for the holocaust?"
8 But Abraham said, "God himself will provide the victim for the holocaust, my son." Thus they continued on together.
9 And they came to the place that God had shown to him. There he built an altar, and he set the wood in order upon it. And when he had bound his son Isaac, he laid him on the altar upon the pile of wood.
10 And he reached out his hand and took hold of the sword, in order to sacrifice his son.
11 And behold, an Angel of the Lord called out from heaven, saying, "Abraham, Abraham." And he answered, "Here I am."
12 And he said to him, "Do not extend your hand over the boy, and do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, since you have not spared your only begotten son for my sake."
13 Abraham lifted up his eyes, and he saw behind his back a ram among the thorns, caught by the horns, which he took and offered as a holocaust, instead of his son.
14 And he called the name of that place: 'The Lord Sees.' Thus, even to this day, it is said: 'On the mountain, the Lord will see.'
15 Then the Angel of the Lord called out to Abraham a second time from heaven, saying:
16 "By my own self, I have sworn, says the Lord. Because you have done this thing, and have not spared your only begotten son for my sake,
17 I will bless you, and I will multiply your offspring like the stars of heaven, and like the sand which is on the seashore. Your offspring will possess the gates of their enemies.
18 And in your offspring, all the nations of the earth will be blessed, because you obeyed my voice."
19 Abraham returned to his servants, and they went to Beersheba together, and he lived there.
20 After these things occurred, it was reported to Abraham that Milcah, likewise, had borne sons for his brother Nahor:
21 Uz, the firstborn, and Buz, his brother, and Kemuel, the father of the Syrians,
22 and Chesed, and Hazo, likewise Pildash, and Jidlaph,
23 as well as Bethuel, of whom was born Rebekah. These eight Milcah bore for Nahor, the brother of Abraham.
24 In truth, his concubine, named Reumah, bore Tebah, and Gaham, and Tahash, and Maacah.