“Take Now Thy Son”


VERSES 1,2  “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
“And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”

‘It came to pass after these things’. Evidently this statement refers to the experiences of Abraham following the weaning of Isaac, as related in the preceding chapter. These accounts indicate that some time had elapsed—sufficient for Ishmael to grow up and marry; and, in addition, for what may have been somewhat protracted dealings with Abimelech.

While the period between the weaning of Isaac and the time when the Lord asked Abraham to offer him as a burnt offering is not clearly defined, it is safe to assume that the boy was well past twenty when the Lord spoke to Abraham on this occasion. To appreciate the full value of the lesson set forth in this chapter it is essential to remember that Isaac was a grown man, not a young boy, when his father was called upon to offer him up as a sacrifice.

The Hebrew word translated ‘tempt’ in verse one signifies ‘to prove’. The apostle tells us of God, “neither tempteth he any man,” and explains that one is tempted when he is drawn away by “his own lust.” (James 1:13-15) Temptation is usually associated with sin. God ‘tests’ his people by holding before them the opportunity to cooperate with him—sometimes at great cost—but he does not ‘tempt’ them to do wrong.

‘Take now thy Son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest’—Abraham certainly must have loved Isaac very dearly, and it is reasonable to conclude that this fact is especially mentioned here because the Lord was making an illustration of a much more important sacrifice which, in the Divine plan, was to be made later—the sacrifice of his own beloved Son, Christ Jesus.

God had promised Abraham that his seed was to be the channel of blessing for all the families of the earth. But before this blessing could flow to the people, a loving father must give up in sacrifice his beloved son. In the outworking of this arrangement it was the Heavenly Father who gave his own beloved Son to be this sacrifice, and here the Lord is making an illustration of this by having Abraham offer his son in sacrifice—his ‘beloved’ son.

VERSES 3-6  “And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
“Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.
“And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.
“And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.”

Abraham met this test of faith with courage and determination. He had waited a long while for Isaac to be born; and the child was born under such circumstances that there could be no doubt about the Lord’s hand in the matter. This increased Abraham’s faith so that now, even though the Lord had asked him to do something that might seem out of harmony with his promises, he had faith to believe that it would in some way be overruled. The Apostle Paul tells us that Abraham had sufficient faith to believe that if it were necessary God would raise Isaac from the dead.—Heb. 11:19

It was a three days’ journey to the land of Moriah, where Isaac was to be offered, and this afforded plenty of time for Abraham to think the matter over and change his mind, had he been disposed to do so, but he did not. His was no halfhearted obedience. Having received the request from God to offer his son as a burnt offering he ‘rose up early in the morning’ to be on his way to the place where the Lord had directed him to go. And the same spirit of faith and obedience enabled him to endure the suspense of those three days which it took him to reach the specified destination.

VERSES 7-10  “And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
“And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
“And they came to the place which God had told him of, and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
“And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.”

When Abraham and his party came within sight of the mountain on which the sacrifice was to be offered, he told his servants to remain behind while he and Isaac proceeded alone. By this time Isaac was getting curious. He was carrying the wood for the burnt offering, and his father had the fire, and also a knife with which to kill the lamb; but they did not have a lamb, so he asked Abraham, ‘Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’

This question must have pierced the heart of Abraham, but he continued to spare Isaac from knowing the real truth, and replied, ‘My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering’. Abraham, of course, did not realize how literally true this would turn out to be, either in the type, or in the antitype. In the antitype, Jesus was the Lamb which God provided, to take “away the sin of the world.”—John 1:29

Arriving on the mountain on which the Lord had directed that Isaac was to be offered, Abraham built the altar, placed the wood upon it, and then laid Isaac upon the wood ready to be slain. Here it is well to remember that Isaac was a mature man, and could not have been placed upon the altar against his will by his aged father. By this time Isaac must have known what the Lord had asked his father to do, and the fact that he was willing voluntarily to cooperate helps to make the type accurate; for Jesus, the antitypical Isaac, also willingly laid down his life because it was his Heavenly Father’s will for him.

VERSES 11-14  “And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
“And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
“And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
“And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.”

Up to that time, evidently Abraham believed that he was actually to slay his son. He poised his knife ready to strike the fatal blow when, by means of an angel, the Lord intervened and called his attention to a ram in the nearby bushes. Abraham was directed to use this ram as a substitute for Isaac on the altar. Thus is pictured the fact that the antitypical Isaac, even Jesus, would become identified throughout the scriptures as a ‘lamb’—the lamb which God provided to be the Redeemer and Savior of the world; the seed of Abraham through whom, upon the basis of his sacrifice, all the families the earth are to be blessed with an opportunity to gain everlasting life.

The angel who intervened to prevent the slaying of Isaac said to Abraham, ‘Now I know that thou fearest God’. This angel was speaking for the Lord, and we get the thought from this statement that God was allowing Abraham to demonstrate his faith and obedience before reaching a decision as to his true attitude of heart and mind. Certainly God could have known this without putting Abraham to such a severe test. God has the ability to know by intuition, but we are not to conclude because he has this ability, that he is limited to this method alone, or that he cannot—if he so wills—choose, by observation, to find out things he desires to know.

VERSES 15-19  “And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,
“And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
“That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
“And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
“So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.”

When Abraham had fully demonstrated his faith by his works, God confirmed the original promise he made to him, by his oath. Thus it became the ‘oath-bound covenant’. Paul refers to this in Hebrews 6:13-19, and speaks of God’s promise, and the oath by which he bound the promise, as “two immutable things.” In the first place it was impossible for God to lie, so his promise apart from the oath was immutable; and his oath was also immutable, and by virtue of these two unshakable testimonies, we “have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.”

The church is vitally concerned with this oathbound covenant because as members of the body of Christ they are the spiritual seed of Abraham, and will be the channel of Divine blessings to all nations. (Gal. 3:27-29) Abraham’s seed was to be as the ‘stars’ of heaven, and also as the ‘sand upon the seashore’; that is, there will be a spiritual seed and also an earthly seed.—Acts 7:1-7

The spiritual seed is Christ and the church; and the earthly seed, beginning with the resurrected ancient prophets, will eventually include all the restored world of mankind. The oath-bound covenant, then, embraces God’s promise to develop a ‘seed’ which would be the channel of his blessings; and also the actual pouring out of his blessings of life, purchased by the antitypical Isaac, even Jesus, the Redeemer and Savior of the world.

VERSES 20-24  “And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, Behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor;
“Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram,
“And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel.
“And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham’s brother.
“And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah.”

Having proved his faith and obedience, the story of Abraham now begins to enter another phase; and these closing verses of chapter twenty-two introduce the patriarch’s brother and his family. This is in preparation for the account which is later given of Abraham’s servant seeking a bride for Isaac from these kinsfolk of Abraham. This family of the patriarch’s relatives apparently has no great importance in the Divine arrangements except that it provided Rebekah to be Isaac’s wife.


VERSES 1,2  “And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah.
“And Sarah died in Kirjath-arba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.”

Sarah died at the age of 127 years. She was ten years younger than Abraham, who was 100 years old when Isaac was born. (Gen. 17:17; 21:5) Therefore Sarah lived to see Isaac grow into manhood, and no doubt knew that he was presented as a lamb for a burnt offering to the Lord, and had been received back from the dead ‘in a figure’, a ram having been substituted for him on the altar. Sarah is the only woman whose age at death is given in the Bible.

Sarah died at Hebron, the more ancient name of which was Kirjath-arba. Some archeologists cite this method of identifying a city as an indication that Moses, in compiling these chapters of Genesis, simply followed records that had been inscribed by contemporaries of the incidents recorded; and that, when coming upon the name of a city which he knew would be unfamiliar to the Hebrew people of his day, simply added a parenthetical explanation of the current name of the city. Moses added explanatory notes where he thought it was necessary.

VERSES 3-20  “And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying,
“I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.
“And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him,
“Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead.
“And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth.
“And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and entreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar,
“That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you.
“And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying,
“Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead.
“And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land.
“And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there.
“And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him,
“My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead.
“And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant.
“And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure
“Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city.
“And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan.
“And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a buryingplace by the sons of Heth.”

The remainder of this chapter simply deals with Abraham’s arrangements for the burial of Sarah. The sons of Heth were those otherwise known as Hittites. Ephron, the one from whom he bought the field containing the sepulchre in which Sarah was buried, was a Hittite. These Hittites seemed to be very friendly toward Abraham, speaking of him as a prince who dwelt among them.

Ephron wanted to give his sepulchre to Abraham, but Abraham countered with a suggestion that he buy the entire field in which the sepulchre was located. Abraham seems to have been a prudent business man, and probably reasoned that it would be much better to establish a legal ownership of the field and sepulchre through purchase, than to accept it as a gift. Perhaps the customs of the times were such that that which was given away could be taken back if the giver changed his mind. Abraham had bought the field, however, and the account says that ‘the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a burying place by the sons of Heth’. This particular spot of the land was known as the ‘field of Machpelah’.

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