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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 22

Hampton's Commentary on Selected BooksHampton's Commentary

Verses 1-2

Offer Your Only Son as a Burnt Offering

Abraham and Sarah waited a long time for a child. Then, they experienced the great joy in having him. It is hard to imagine how Abraham must have felt when God tested him by commanding him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. "Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, 'Abraham!' And he said, 'Here I am.' And He said, 'take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you'" ( Gen_22:1-2 ).

Isaac is called his only son because he is uniquely the son of promise. While human sacrifice was practiced by some of the people around Abraham in worship of false gods, it was out of character for the loving God of heaven. Yet, Abraham went without asking a single question.

Verses 3-5

Abraham Obeyed the Lord's Command

He went in exactly the manner God prescribed. "So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him" ( Gen_22:3 ). Notice, he made sure to split the wood and take it for the fire. He went to the very place God had said. He had Isaac with him to sacrifice.

"Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, 'Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you'" ( Gen_22:4-5 ). He did not ask a servant to make the sacrifice, but went alone with his son to the place of worship.

Verses 6-10

"God Will Provide"

Perhaps no one answer portrays the faith of Abraham as well as the one he gave to Isaac. They took the wood, knife and fire with them as they went toward the mountain. Isaac asked, "Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" Abraham answered, "My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering" ( Gen_22:6-8 ). The two of them went on up together to the very place God had told Abraham. The father of the faithful then built the altar and placed wood on it in order. He bound Isaac and laid him on the wood. Finally, he raised the knife and stretched out his hand to slay his son ( Gen_22:9-10 ).

The Hebrew writer explains how he could have done such a thing. He says Abraham was, "accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense" (11:19).

Verses 11-19

"Now I Know That You Fear God"

God then saw Abraham would obey no matter what the cost. The Angel of the Lord stayed him from killing Isaac. He then said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me."

God then truly provided a sacrifice as Abraham had told Isaac he would. "Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son." Interestingly enough, Abraham "The-Lord-Will-Provide," or Jehovah-Jireh, as a name for the place. God then renewed the promise. Abraham's descendants would be like the stars in multitude. All nations of the earth would one day be blessed through his seed ( Gen_22:11-19 ).

Lessons Learned From Abraham

Abraham showed his faith in an obedient response to God. "Do you not see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.' And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only" ( Jam_2:22-24 ). It is a working faith which saves.

Abraham did not do the things he did to earn his way into heaven, but to please God ( Rom_4:1-25 ). Our goal is also to please God through obedient faith and enter heaven by God's grace ( Eph_2:8-10 ).

Bibliographical Information
Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Genesis 22". "Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghc/genesis-22.html. 2014.
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