by Robert Brow    (

Brow Publications, Kingston, Ontario (e-mail: 2004

Introduction | Genesis 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11| 12| 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30

31 | 32 | 33| 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41| 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50| PostScript

Table Of Contents:

Genesis 22:1 Genesis 22:13
Genesis 22:2 Genesis 22:14
Genesis 22:3-4 Genesis 22:15-16
Genesis 22:5-6 Genesis 22:17-18
Genesis 22:7-8 Genesis 22:19
Genesis 22:9 Genesis 22:20
Genesis 22:10-12 Genesis 22:23-24

GENESIS  22:1-14   (Abraham kept from sacrificing his son)

22:1   The verb nissah (he tested, tried, proved) does not mean that God tempted Abraham to do what was wrong.  The purpose was to prove (see 22:12), perhaps against a satanic accusation (as in Job 1:8-12), Abraham’s unwavering faith.   In the New Testament we are assured that “the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-23).

22:2   The reference to Isaac as “your only son” suggests that Ishmael has now been left out of Abraham’s genealogical line (see 17:18-20; 21:10-13).    Abraham was to take Isaac to the mount above the city of Salem where he had met the Priest-King Melchidezek (14:18).  Muslims say that it was Ishmael, not Isaac, who was taken to Mount Moriah.

King David later built an altar in the same place on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite (2 Samuel 24:16,18, 25).  And this was the site where the Temple of Solomon was built (1 Kings 6:1; 2 Chronicles 3:1).  Four hundred years later the temple of Solomon was destroyed by the Babylonians (587 BC).    After their return from exile (516 BC), prophets encouraged the building of a second temple (520 BC) ), and it was completed and dedicated with great joy (Ezra 5:1-2; 6:14-18). 

King Herod the Great felt the temple was not worthy of his capital and he began dismantling it (20-19 BC)  to rebuilt it in Hellenistic-Roman style, but the Temple of Herod was still unfinished in Jesus’ day.  When Jesus spoke of its destruction and a new temple of the Spirit taking its place, the religious leaders said “This temple has been under construction for forty-six year, and will you raise it up in three days?” (John 2:19-20).   In AD 70 the temple of Herod  was destroyed by the Romans, and the site is now occupied by the Al Aqsa Mosque which is topped by the Dome of the Rock.

22:3-4 Abraham did not want to risk cutting down trees in the territory of the Jebusite King, so he took the wood that would be needed with him.  The translation should be “He went to the place that God had told him” (not “showed him” as in NRSV).  The distance from Beersheba to Jerusalem is 45 miles, 72 km (as the crow flies).   After two nights on the way, Abraham recognized Mount Moriah from his meeting with Melchizedec (14:18).

22:5-6 Abraham knew that God had a long term purpose for his son, Isaac, so he told the two young men who accompanied him (22:3) that he and Isaac would come back after worshiping on Mount Moriah.   The wood had been carried by the donkey, which he left with the young men.  So his son Isaac now had the wood on his back.  Abraham had a brazier of burning coals to start the sacrificial fire, and also had a sacrificial knife.

22:7-8   As they walked together Isaac asked about the animal that would normally be sacrificed.  And again Abraham had the faith to believe that God would provide the lamb that was needed.   The words “the two of them walked on together” is repeated twice (22:6, 8), which suggests that Isaac also believed a miracle would take place.    This also prefigured the Father and the eternal Son of God agreeing together on the way of the cross and resurrection.

22:9 Again the correct translation is “the place which God had told him” (as in 22:3).  The account is slow and very deliberate.  Abraham first built an altar for sacrifice  (as he had in 12:7; 13:4, 18).  Then he set the wood on it to burn the sacrifice.  Isaac was a young man, strong enough to carry a donkey’s load of wood, and Abraham was by now very old, so Isaac could have fought back and refused to let himself be bound and then lie down on the wood. 

22:10-12   It was not until Abraham lifted the knife to sacrifice his son that “the angel of the LORD” (probably the Son of God himself, as in 16:9, 10, 13) intervened to prevent the death of Isaac.    Abraham’s unwavering faith had been proved (as in many other situations).  The New Testament comments: “By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac.  He who had received the promises was ready to offer up his own son, of whom he had been told, ‘It is through Isaac that descendants shall be named for you.’   He considered the fact that God is able even  to raise someone from the dead  - and figuratively speaking he did receive him back” (Hebrews 11:17-19).

22:13   The words “looked up” remind us of Hagar’s experience when her son Ishmael was about to die of dehydration. “Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water” (21:19).  Anyone who walks by faith knows that often the way out of disaster is not seen till the last moment.  In this case Abraham saw a ram (a male sheep) with its horns entangled in the branches of a thorn bush.  So Isaac was able to come down off from the altar, and Abraham used the knife to kill the ram and burn it instead.

22:14   Abraham named Mount Moriah yahwah yireh meaning “Yahweh will see.”  The assumption is that when the LORD sees he also acts, so this can be translated “The LORD will provide.”   The KJV translates “Jehovah Jireh.”


GENESIS  22:15-19   (The original Abrahamic Covenant is reaffirmed)

22:15-16   The angel of the Lord was a term used for the Son of God (16:11, 13).  Now he  speaks “a second time” before Abraham had left Mount Moriah (22:19).  Abraham had proved his faith in the most extreme situation. 

22:17-18     The original covenant made with Abraham had three strands concerning the land, the nation, and the blessing of all nations.  “Go . . . to the land that I will show you.  I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all families of the earth shall be blessed” (12:1-3).   A later promise was that Abraham’s offspring would be like the stars in the night sky (15:5).  In this promise no mention is made of the promised land.  But there is the important repetition of the prophecy that “by your offspring all the nations of the earth shall gain blessing for themselves.”  And the reason is repeated twice, “Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son” (22:15) and “because you have obeyed my voice.”    

22:19   Having heard this announcement, Abraham left Mount Moriah with Isaac, and  they rejoined the young men with the donkey, and returned to live in Beersheba.


GENESIS 22:20-24    (Abraham’s family in the area of Haran)

22:20   Nahor’s wife Milcah (11:29) had not had any children by the time Abraham moved south into Canaan (12:4).  But in the 25 years since his separation from his family in Haran his brother Nahor’s wife Milcah had given birth to eight sons who were Abraham’s nephews (22:21-22).    One of these named Uz could have settled in “the land of Uz” where Job lived (Job 1:10).    Kemuel is listed as the ancestor of the Arameans (Syrians) who were an Arab nation  who have fought again and again to this day against the Jewish people. 

22:23-24 After the death of Sarah described in the next chapter Abraham sent his servant to find a bride for Isaac from his own family in Haran (chapter 24).   And Rebekah in turn insisted that her son Jacob go 500 miles, 800 km, north to marry into her father Bethuel’s family, rather than a local Canaanite woman (27:46-28:2). 

Note: As suggested in the Table of Nations, the family of Abraham were Sumerians and the Arameans of Haran (22:21) came from that line (10:21-23)   When they were absorbed by the Hamitic Assyrians and Babylonians,  they lost their Sumerian language and spoke a mixture of Akkadian and Caananite.   As a result the Syrians, together with all other Arab branches of Abraham’s original family spoke a similar language to Hebrew and Arabic.  In New Testament times their language became known as Aramaic (Syriac) and it was the trade language all the way along the Silk Road to China.

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