22:1 Some time after these things God tested 1 Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am!” Abraham 2 replied. 22:2 God 3 said, “Take your son – your only son, whom you love, Isaac 4 – and go to the land of Moriah! 5 Offer him up there as a burnt offering 6 on one of the mountains which I will indicate to 7 you.”
1 sn The Hebrew verb used here means “to test; to try; to prove.” In this passage God tests Abraham to see if he would be obedient. See T. W. Mann, The Book of the Torah, 44-48. See also J. L. Crenshaw, A Whirlpool of Torment (OBT), 9-30; and J. I. Lawlor, “The Test of Abraham,” GTJ 1 (1980): 19-35.
2 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
3 tn Heb “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
4 sn Take your son…Isaac. The instructions are very clear, but the details are deliberate. With every additional description the commandment becomes more challenging.
6 sn A whole burnt offering signified the complete surrender of the worshiper and complete acceptance by God. The demand for a human sacrifice was certainly radical and may have seemed to Abraham out of character for God. Abraham would have to obey without fully understanding what God was about.
7 tn Heb “which I will say to.”