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.”
22:3 Early in the morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. 8 He took two of his young servants with him, along with his son Isaac. When he had cut the wood for the burnt offering, he started out 9 for the place God had spoken to him about.
22:4 On the third day Abraham caught sight of 10 the place in the distance. 22:5 So he 11 said to his servants, “You two stay 12 here with the donkey while 13 the boy and I go up there. We will worship 14 and then return to you.” 15
22:6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and put it on his son Isaac. Then he took the fire and the knife in his hand, 16 and the two of them walked on together. 22:7 Isaac said to his father Abraham, 17 “My father?” “What is it, 18 my son?” he replied. “Here is the fire and the wood,” Isaac said, 19 “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” 22:8 “God will provide 20 for himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham replied. The two of them continued on together.
22:9 When they came to the place God had told him about, Abraham built the altar there 21 and arranged the wood on it. Next he tied up 22 his son Isaac and placed him on the altar on top of the wood. 22:10 Then Abraham reached out his hand, took the knife, and prepared to slaughter 23 his son. 22:11 But the Lord’s angel 24 called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am!” he answered. 22:12 “Do not harm the boy!” 25 the angel said. 26 “Do not do anything to him, for now I know 27 that you fear 28 God because you did not withhold your son, your only son, from me.”
22:13 Abraham looked up 29 and saw 30 behind him 31 a ram caught in the bushes by its horns. So he 32 went over and got the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 22:14 And Abraham called the name of that place “The Lord provides.” 33 It is said to this day, 34 “In the mountain of the Lord provision will be made.” 35
22:15 The Lord’s angel called to Abraham a second time from heaven 22:16 and said, “‘I solemnly swear by my own name,’ 36 decrees the Lord, 37 ‘that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 22:17 I will indeed bless you, 38 and I will greatly multiply 39 your descendants 40 so that they will be as countless as the stars in the sky or the grains of sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession 41 of the strongholds 42 of their enemies. 22:18 Because you have obeyed me, 43 all the nations of the earth will pronounce blessings on one another 44 using the name of your descendants.’”
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.”
8 tn Heb “Abraham rose up early in the morning and saddled his donkey.”
9 tn Heb “he arose and he went.”
10 tn Heb “lifted up his eyes and saw.”
11 tn Heb “And Abraham.” The proper name has been replaced in the translation by the pronoun (“he”) for stylistic reasons.
12 tn The Hebrew verb is masculine plural, referring to the two young servants who accompanied Abraham and Isaac on the journey.
13 tn The disjunctive clause (with the compound subject preceding the verb) may be circumstantial and temporal.
14 tn This Hebrew word literally means “to bow oneself close to the ground.” It often means “to worship.”
15 sn It is impossible to know what Abraham was thinking when he said, “we will…return to you.” When he went he knew (1) that he was to sacrifice Isaac, and (2) that God intended to fulfill his earlier promises through Isaac. How he reconciled those facts is not clear in the text. Heb 11:17-19 suggests that Abraham believed God could restore Isaac to him through resurrection.
16 sn He took the fire and the knife in his hand. These details anticipate the sacrifice that lies ahead.
17 tn The Hebrew text adds “and said.” This is redundant and has not been translated for stylistic reasons.
19 tn Heb “and he said, ‘Here is the fire and the wood.’” The referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Here and in the following verse the order of the introductory clauses and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
20 tn Heb “will see for himself.” The construction means “to look out for; to see to it; to provide.”
sn God will provide is the central theme of the passage and the turning point in the story. Note Paul’s allusion to the story in Rom 8:32 (“how shall he not freely give us all things?”) as well as H. J. Schoeps, “The Sacrifice of Isaac in Paul’s Theology,” JBL 65 (1946): 385-92.
21 sn Abraham built an altar there. The theme of Abraham’s altar building culminates here. He has been a faithful worshiper. Will he continue to worship when called upon to make such a radical sacrifice?
22 sn Then he tied up. This text has given rise to an important theme in Judaism known as the Aqedah, from the Hebrew word for “binding.” When sacrifices were made in the sanctuary, God remembered the binding of Isaac, for which a substitute was offered. See D. Polish, “The Binding of Isaac,” Jud 6 (1957): 17-21.
23 tn Heb “in order to slaughter.”
24 sn Heb “the messenger of the
25 tn Heb “Do not extend your hand toward the boy.”
26 tn Heb “and he said, ‘Do not extend…’”; the referent (the angel) has been specified in the context for clarity. The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
28 sn In this context fear refers by metonymy to obedience that grows from faith.
29 tn Heb “lifted his eyes.”
30 tn Heb “and saw, and look.” The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) draws attention to what Abraham saw and invites the audience to view the scene through his eyes.
31 tc The translation follows the reading of the MT; a number of Hebrew
32 tn Heb “Abraham”; the proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“he”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.
33 tn Heb “the Lord sees” (יְהוָה יִרְאֶה, yÿhvah yir’eh, traditionally transliterated “Jehovah Jireh”; see the note on the word “provide” in v. 8). By so naming the place Abraham preserved in the memory of God’s people the amazing event that took place there.
34 sn On the expression to this day see B. Childs, “A Study of the Formula ‘Until this Day’,” JBL 82 (1963): 279-92.
35 sn The saying connected with these events has some ambiguity, which was probably intended. The Niphal verb could be translated (1) “in the mountain of the Lord it will be seen/provided” or (2) “in the mountain the Lord will appear.” If the temple later stood here (see the note on “Moriah” in Gen 22:2), the latter interpretation might find support, for the people went to the temple to appear before the Lord, who “appeared” to them by providing for them his power and blessings. See S. R. Driver, Genesis, 219.
36 tn Heb “By myself I swear.”
37 tn Heb “the oracle of the
38 tn The use of the infinitive absolute before the finite verbal form (either an imperfect or cohortative) emphasizes the certainty of the blessing.
39 tn Here too the infinitive absolute is used for emphasis before the following finite verb (either an imperfect or cohortative).
sn I will greatly multiply. The
40 tn The Hebrew term זֶרַע (zera’) occurring here and in v. 18 may mean “seed” (for planting), “offspring” (occasionally of animals, but usually of people), or “descendants” depending on the context.
41 tn Or “inherit.”
42 tn Heb “gate,” which here stands for a walled city. To break through the gate complex would be to conquer the city, for the gate complex was the main area of defense (hence the translation “stronghold”).
43 tn In the Hebrew text this causal clause comes at the end of the sentence. The translation alters the word order for stylistic reasons.
sn Because you have obeyed me. Abraham’s obedience brought God’s ratification of the earlier conditional promise (see Gen 12:2).
44 tn Traditionally the verb is taken as passive (“will be blessed”) here, as if Abraham’s descendants were going to be a channel or source of blessing to the nations. But the Hitpael is better understood here as reflexive/reciprocal, “will bless [i.e., pronounce blessings on] themselves/one another” (see also Gen 26:4). Elsewhere the Hitpael of the verb “to bless” is used with a reflexive/reciprocal sense in Deut 29:18; Ps 72:17; Isa 65:16; Jer 4:2. Gen 12:2 predicts that Abram will be held up as a paradigm of divine blessing and that people will use his name in their blessing formulae. For examples of blessing formulae utilizing an individual as an example of blessing see Gen 48:20 and Ruth 4:11. Earlier formulations of this promise (see Gen 12:2; 18:18) use the Niphal stem. (See also Gen 28:14.)
45 tn Heb “and they arose and went together.”
46 tn Heb “and Abraham stayed in Beer Sheba. This has been translated as a relative clause for stylistic reasons.