Chapter 22

  1. The Sacrifice of Isaac

    • Some time later, God tested Abraham by telling him to take his only son Isaac to a mountain in the land of Moriah and offer him as a burnt offering.

      • God’s specific instruction to Abraham regarding which mountain in the land of Moriah to sacrifice Isaac is the ultimate foreshadowing of God’s sacrifice of His own Son for our sin. This was to be the exact same location that Jesus would be crucified generations later. Today it is known as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Bible Study Tools lists these three key historical events that have taken place in this particular spot on Mount Moriah:

1.Abraham Offers Isaac – It was here where Abraham’s faith was tested when God instructed him to offer up his son Isaac in sacrifice (Gen. Gen. 22:1). See Abraham Offers Isaac.

2. Site of Solomon’s Temple – In 990 B.C., King David was instructed by God to erect an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite which occupied this site. David purchased the land which later became the site of Solomon’s Temple (2S. 2S. 24:18-25; 1Chr. 1Chr. 21:18-26; 2Chr. 2Chr. 3:1).

3. The Crucifixion of Jesus – On the very mountain where Abraham was asked to sacrifice his “only son” (Gen. Gen. 22:2, Gen. 22:12), God sacrificed His only Son.3

Aerial view of the present day Temple Mount pictured above

    • Abraham got up early in the morning and saddled his donkey. He cut the wood for the offering and set out with Isaac and two of his servants on the three day journey.

    • When Abraham saw that they were getting close to the mountain he told his two servants, “Stay here with the donkey. Isaac and I are going to worship then we’ll be back.”

    • Isaac carried the wood and Abraham carried the fire and knife as they walked to the place God had told Abraham to go.

“Most commentators think Issac was in his thirties at the time of this event” (Guzik)
    • Isaac asked Abraham, “We have the fire and wood for the sacrifice, but where is the lamb?”

    • Abraham responded, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the sacrifice.”

    • When they came to the appointed place, Abraham built the altar and placed the wood on it. He tied Isaac up put him on top of the wood. He then took the knife to kill Isaac.

– “At this time, Abraham was more than 100 years old and Isaac would have been able to escape his coming death had he chosen to. Yet he submitted to his father perfectly. In remembering Abraham’s faith, we should never forget Isaac’s faith… Most Jewish commentators think Isaac was in his thirties at the time of this event.” (Guzik)

      • Alright. Let’s just take a time out for a minute to address how overwhelming this story is. After all, atheists and opponents of Christianity love to use this as an example that Christianity is barbaric.

        • First, you have the fact that God has instructed Abraham to offer Isaac to Him as a burnt offering. This must have been shocking to Abraham, but not because child sacrifice was unusual in his day. To the contrary child sacrifice was quite a common ritual that ancients practiced in worship of their gods. However, this seemed to go against everything he knew of God. God acknowledges human sacrifice as evil. Not only that, but it seemed to contradict the very promise that he had waited 25 years for God to fulfill- that a nation would come from him through his son Isaac.

        • We have to realize that this extreme test of Abraham’s faith. What was he willing to do for God? Would he hold anything back from God?“ Abraham had to learn the difference between trusting the promise and trusting the Promiser. We can put God’s promise before God Himself and feel it is our responsibility to bring the promise to pass, even if we have to disobey God to do it. Trust the Promiser no matter what, and the promise will be taken care of.” (Guzik)

      • Second, you have the fact that Abraham immediately set out to obey God’s instruction that he not only did not understand, but that would have been horrifically torturous to obey. As a parent I certainly can’t even fathom what the night after he received this instruction from God would have been like! However, Abraham didn’t see this test like we tend to:

        • Our first clue comes in verse 5 when Abraham tells his two servants that both he and Isaac will return after they have worshiped. Was he lying to them?

      • No he wasn’t. Hebrews 11:19 tells us exactly what Abraham believed, “Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead…” Abraham never believed that Isaac would be taken from him. He had such amazing faith in God that he knew if God required Isaac’s life, He would also raise him from the dead.

    • The Angel of the Lord called from heaven “Abraham! Do not touch the boy or harm him in any way! You have not even kept your only son from Me so now I know that you truly fear God.”

      • “With this, God emphatically showed Abraham that He was not like the pagan gods worshiped by the Canaanites and others, gods that demanded human sacrifice and were pleased by it. God strongly and clearly demonstrated that He did not want human sacrifice.” (Guzik)

      • “Abraham displayed his heart towards God in that he was willing to give up his only son. God displays His heart towards us in the same way, by giving His only begotten Son (John 3:16)…When God asked Abraham for the ultimate demonstration of love and commitment, He asked for Abraham’s son. When God the Father wanted to show us the ultimate demonstration of His love and commitment to us, He gave us His Son. We can say to the Lord, ‘Now I know that You love me, seeing You have not withheld Your Son, Your only Son from me.’ ” (Guzik)

    • Abraham then looked and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket, so he offered it in place of Isaac.

    • Abraham named the place The Lord Will Provide, which is used as a proverb still today.

    • The Angel of the Lord said to Abraham from heaven, “I have sworn by Myself that since you have not withheld your only son from Me, I will bless you. Your descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. They will conquer their enemies, and all the nations will be blessed by your descendants because you obeyed Me.”

– Guzik notes, “This event is also a prophecy of Jesus’ rising from the dead on the third day, as 1 Corinthians 15:4 says He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. But where does it say in the Old Testament specifically the Messiah would rise again on the third day? It says so here, through the picture of Isaac. Isaac was “reckoned dead” by Abraham as soon as God gave the command, and Isaac was “made alive” (“risen”) three days later… Isaac’s picture of Jesus becomes even clearer:

· Both were loved by their father.

· Both offered themselves willingly.

· Both carried wood up the hill of their sacrifice.

· Both were sacrificed on the same hill.

· Both were delivered from death on the third day.

    • Abraham and Isaac went back to the servants and from there went to Beer-sheba where they continued to live.

2. Rebekah’s Family

    • Soon after this Abraham was told that his brother Nahor and his wife Milcah had 8 children, and Nahor had 4 more children by his concubine Reumah.

        • This passage catalogs the family tree of Isaac’s future wife Rebekah.

        • It can also be noted that Uz might have been Job’s forefather (Job 1:1) according to the NLT Illustrated Study Bible.

      • Also of note, the definition of “concubine” according to Poole, “A concubine was an inferior kind of wife, taken according to the common practice of those times, subject to the authority of the principal wife, and whose children had no right of inheritance, but were endowed with gifts.”