וַיְהִי אַחַר הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וְהָאֱלֹהִים נִסָּה אֶת אַבְרָהָם וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אַבְרָהָם וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּנִי 22:1
Gene. 22:1 And it was after these things that God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”
The word נִסָּה means to test, to prove, to tempt, to try. Do you think God needs to test anyone? If God is omniscient, does He not know what Abraham would do? In my thinking, this was not a test. More >>
וַיֹּאמֶר קַחנָא אֶת בִּנְךָ אֶת יְחִידְךָ אֲשֶׁר אָהַבְתָּ אֶת יִצְחָק וְלֶךְ לְךָ אֶל אֶרֶץ הַמֹּרִיָּה וְהַעֲלֵהוּ שָׁם 22:2
לְעֹלָה עַל אַחַד הֶהָרִים אֲשֶׁר אֹמַר אֵלֶיךָ
Gene. 22:2 And He said, “Take now your son, your only one, whom you love, Isaac, and get yourself to the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt-offering on one of the mountains to which I shall command you.”
Most, if not all commentators, view this famous episode in vss. 22:2 to 22:13 as a demonstration of Abraham’s devotion and faith. We must remember, however, that Abraham (who exhibited a pagan ritual in Gene. 21:33) had not been commanded to abandon his former pagan rituals, only that he should believe in the one God. And child sacrifice was one of those rituals. However, as God had promised Abraham three times that He would enlarge his seed through Isaac (Gene. 17:19, 21, and 21:12), why did Abraham agree to God’s instruction without protest? I would expect him to say, “But, my Lord, what of Your promise to me regarding Isaac?” Was Abraham’s faith so deep that he “knew” God would not allow the sacrifice?
וַיַּשְׁכֵּם אַבְרָהָם בַּבֹּקֶר וַיַּחֲבֹשׁ אֶת חֲמֹרוֹ וַיִּקַּח אֶתשְׁנֵי נְעָרָיו אִתּוֹ וְאֵת יִצְחָק בְּנוֹ וַיְבַקַּע עֲצֵי 22:3
עֹלָה וַיָּקָם וַיֵּלֶךְ אֶל הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר אָמַר לוֹ הָאֱלֹהִים
Gene. 22:3 And Abraham arose early in the morning and saddled his donkey and took two of his boys with him and Isaac, his son, and he split the wood of the burnt-offering and he rose and went to the place of which He Who is God had spoken to him.
There has been much comment over why Abraham submitted to God’s instruction without hesitation. Contrast this response with his persistent bargaining in chapter 19 over Sodom and the cities of the plain. I believe that the predominant understanding is that Abraham was showing his deep faith in both situations, in chapter 19 by his forthright discussion, and here by his unquestioning obedience. Did Abraham know that God would not destroy his only heir, or did he assume that God would give him more children? Remember that in v.22:1 it says that God would be testing Abraham. Not withstanding my remarks after v.22:1, was God testing Abraham’s obedience, his intimacy with Him, his understanding that God was righteous, or his belief in God’s promise? Any other possibilities? You decide. Any choice might be right.
בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי וַיִּשָּׂא אַבְרָהָם אֶת עֵינָיו וַיַּרְא אֶת הַמָּקוֹם מֵרָחֹק 22:4
Gene. 22:4 It was on the third day that Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place in the distance.
וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָהָם אֶל נְעָרָיו שְׁבוּ לָכֶם פֹּה עִם הַחֲמוֹר וַאֲנִי וְהַנַּעַר נֵלְכָה עַד כֹּה וְנִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה 22:5
Gene. 22:5 And Abraham said to his boys, “You remain here with the donkey, and I and the boy will go up to there and worship; then we will return to you.”
In this verse, two more first-person imperfect verbs with non-inverting vav prefixes. They are וְנִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה וְנָשׁוּבָה, translated as “and ... will go up; ... then we will return....” [Return to Gene. 22 notes]
וַיִּקַּח אַבְרָהָם אֶת עֲצֵי הָעֹלָה וַיָּשֶׂם עַל יִצְחָק בְּנוֹ וַיִּקַּח בְּיָדוֹ אֶת הָאֵשׁ וְאֶת הַמַּאֲכֶלֶת וַיֵּלְכוּ 22:6
Gene. 22:6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt-offering that he laid upon Isaac, his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife, and the two of them went together.
וַיֹּאמֶר יִצְחָק אֶל אַבְרָהָם אָבִיו וַיֹּאמֶר אָבִי וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֶּנִּי בְנִי וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה הָאֵשׁ וְהָעֵצִים 22:7
וְאַיֵּה הַשֶּׂה לְעֹלָה
Gene. 22:7 And Isaac spoke to Abraham, his father, and said, “My father.” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Here is the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?”
וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָהָם אֱלֹהִים יִרְאֶה לּוֹ הַשֶּׂה לְעֹלָה בְּנִי וַיֵּלְכוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם יַחְדָּו 22:8
Gene. 22:8 And Abraham said, “God Himself will look after the lamb for a burnt-offering, my son.” And the two of them departed together.
וַיָּבֹאוּ אֶל הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר אָמַר לוֹ הָאֱלֹהִים וַיִּבֶן שָׁם אַבְרָהָם אֶת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וַיַּעֲרֹךְ אֶת הָעֵצִים 22:9
וַיַּעֲקֹד אֶת יִצְחָק בְּנוֹ וַיָּשֶׂם אֹתוֹ עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ מִמַּעַל לָעֵצִים
Gene. 22:9 And they came to the place that He Who is God had told to him, and Abraham built there the alter and placed the wood in order, and he bound Isaac, his son, and laid him on the alter over the wood.
There has been much discussion and some controversy over how old Isaac was at this time. Some say he was at least 33 years of age. More >>
וַיִּשְׁלַח אַבְרָהָם אֶת יָדוֹ וַיִּקַּח אֶת הַמַּאֲכֶלֶת לִשְׁחֹט אֶת בְּנוֹ 22:10
Gene. 22:10 And Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
וַיִּקְרָא אֵלָיו מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָהָם אַבְרָהָם וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּנִי 22:11
Gene. 22:11 But an angel of the Lord called to him from the heavens and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”
וַיֹּאמֶר אַל תִּשְׁלַח יָדְךָ אֶל הַנַּעַר וְאַל תַּעַשׂ לוֹ מְאוּמָה כִּי עַתָּה יָדַעְתִּי כִּי יְרֵא אֱלֹהִים אַתָּה 22:12
וְלֹא חָשַׂכְתָּ אֶת בִּנְךָ אֶת יְחִידְךָ מִמֶּנִּי
Gene. 22:12 And He said, “You must not stretch out your hand to the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you revere God, and did not withhold your son, your only one, from Me.”
Sometimes it’s difficult to separate an angel from God, as in this verse. Because the angel is speaking from heaven, the distinction may be difficult because of that. On the other hand, the speaker in this verse is not necessarily the same as that in the previous verse. The angel called to Abraham in the previous verse, and it is likely that God Himself is speaking in this verse.
Notice also something rather strange. The speaker claims that Isaac is Abraham’s only son. Ishmael is not acknowledged as Abraham’s firstborn. The angel even repeats this in v. 22:16 below.
וַיִּשָּׂא אַבְרָהָם אֶת עֵינָיו וַיַּרְא וְהִנֵּה אַיִל אַחַר נֶאֱחַז בַּסְּבַךְ בְּקַרְנָיו וַיֵּלֶךְ אַבְרָהָם וַיִּקַּח 22:13
אֶת הָאַיִל וַיַּעֲלֵהוּ לְעֹלָה תַּחַת בְּנוֹ
Gene. 22:13 And Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a ram behind him caught in a thicket by his horns, and Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt-offering instead of his son.
וַיִּקְרָא אַבְרָהָם שֵׁם הַמָּקוֹם הַהוּא יְהוָה יִרְאֶה אֲשֶׁר יֵאָמֵר הַיּוֹם בְּהַר יְהוָה יֵרָאֶה 22:14
Gene. 22:14 And Abraham called the name of that place Adonai-jireh, of which it may be said this day, “On the mountain the Lord can see.”
Adonai-jireh can mean the Lord will see.
וַיִּקְרָא מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה אֶל אַבְרָהָם שֵׁנִית מִן הַשָּׁמָיִם 22:15
Gene. 22:15 And an angel of the Lord called to Abraham again from the heavens.
וַיֹּאמֶר בִּי נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי נְאֻם יְהוָה כִּי יַעַן אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתָ אֶת הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה וְלֹא חָשַׂכְתָּ אֶת בִּנְךָ 22:16
Gene. 22:16 And he said, “By Myself I swear, declares the Lord, that because you did this thing and you did not withhold your son, your only one,
כִּי בָרֵךְ אֲבָרֶכְךָ וְהַרְבָּה אַרְבֶּה אֶת זַרְעֲךָ כְּכוֹכְבֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם וְכַחוֹל אֲשֶׁר עַל שְׂפַת הַיָּם וְיִרַשׁ 22:17
זַרְעֲךָ אֵת שַׁעַר אֹיְבָיו
Gene. 22:17 when blessing, I will bless you, and multiplying, I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand that is on the shore of the sea, and your seed will possess the gate of his enemies, [Return to Gene. 3:15 Notes] [Return to 1Kin. 4:20]
וְהִתְבָּרְכוּ בְזַרְעֲךָ כֹּל גּוֹיֵי הָאָרֶץ עֵקֶב אֲשֶׁר שָׁמַעְתָּ בְּקֹלִי 22:18
Gene. 22:18 and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed by your seed, because you listened to My voice.” [Return to Gene. 28:14]
In v. 22:17, the word וְיִרַש, meaning “… and will possess…, “ is generally considered to be in the imperfect tense, which would make the vav non-inverting. I humbly believe the word, which by its spelling can be deemed either imperfect or perfect, is in the perfect tense, making the vav inverting.
וַיָּשָׁב אַבְרָהָם אֶל נְעָרָיו וַיָּקֻמוּ וַיֵּלְכוּ יַחְדָּו אֶל בְּאֵר שָׁבַע וַיֵּשֶׁב אַבְרָהָם בִּבְאֵר שָׁבַע 22:19
Gene. 22:19 Then Abraham returned to his boys and they arose and they went together to Beer-sheba, and Abraham dwelled in Beer-sheba.
This verse may or may not say a lot in the details. First, it says that Abraham returned -- without Isaac? Then it says that Abraham dwelled in Beer-sheba – without Sarah? I believe that this verse says nothing unusual. Abraham is the star of this story. He is the focus. It seems perfectly natural to me for the narrative to continue focusing on Abraham when nothing else of import is transpiring. Gene. 21:33 and 21:34 tell us that Abraham sojourned for a long time in Beer-sheba (in the land of the Philistines), so he most likely returned home. Would Sarah be there? Well, as it turns out, we will find out later in Gene. 23:2 that Sarah would die in a different city and Abraham would go there to mourn. Discussion to be continued there.
וַיְהִי אַחֲרֵי הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וַיֻּגַּד לְאַבְרָהָם לֵאמֹר הִנֵּה יָלְדָה מִלְכָּה גַםהִוא בָּנִים לְנָחוֹר אָחִיךָ 22:20
Gene. 22:20 And it happened after these things that it was announced to Abraham saying, “Behold, Milcah, she also, has borne sons by Nahor, your brother,
אֶת עוּץ בְּכֹרוֹ וְאֶת בּוּז אָחִיו וְאֶת קְמוּאֵל אֲבִי אֲרָם 22:21
Gene. 22:21 Uz, his first-born, and Buz, his brother, and Kemuel, the father of Aram,
וְאֶת כֶּשֶׂד וְאֶת חֲזוֹ וְאֶת פִּלְדָּשׁ וְאֶת יִדְלָף וְאֵת בְּתוּאֵל 22:22
Gene. 22:22 and Chesed and Hazo and Pildash and Jidlaph and Bethuel.”
וּבְתוּאֵל יָלַד אֶת רִבְקָה שְׁמֹנָה אֵלֶּה יָלְדָה מִלְכָּה לְנָחוֹר אֲחִי אַבְרָהָם 22:23
Gene. 22:23 And Bethuel begot Rebekah. Milcah bore these eight by Nahor, brother of Abraham.
וּפִילַגְשׁוֹ וּשְׁמָהּ רְאוּמָה וַתֵּלֶד גַּם הִוא אֶת טֶבַח וְאֶת גַּחַם וְאֶת תַּחַשׁ וְאֶת מַעֲכָה 22:24
Gene. 22:24 And his concubine, whose name is Reumah, she bore also Tebah and Gaham and Tahash and Maacah.
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