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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Genesis 22

 

 

Verses 1-19

The offering of Isaac (22:1-19)

Although Abraham probably knew that certain peoples of the ancient world at times sacrificed children to the gods, he was no doubt shocked when God told him to sacrifice Isaac. It tested not only his obedience but also his faith, because once Isaac was dead, God could no longer fulfil his covenant promise of giving Isaac a multitude of descendants. A conflict existed between obedience to God's command and faith in his promise. Nevertheless, Abraham obeyed, believing that God would provide the solution to this difficulty, even if it meant raising the sacrificed son back to life (22:1-8; cf. Hebrews 11:17-19).

Abraham passed God's test: his obedience proved his faith. He did, in fact, sacrifice Isaac, though he did not kill him. God provided an innocent substitute, and Isaac's life was given back, as it were, from the dead (9-14; cf. Hebrews 11:19; James 2:21-24). God pointed out how these events proved that obedience was the way to blessing. He then reassured Abraham of a multitude of descendants through Isaac (15-19).


Verse 20

Further expressions of faith (22:20-23:20)

While Abraham was establishing his family in Canaan, the family of his brother Nahor in Mesopotamia was growing. The writer records this growth to introduce Rebekah, the future wife of Isaac (20-24).

Back in Canaan, Abraham moved from Beersheba to Hebron, and there Sarah died (23:1-2). Though God had promised the whole of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants, Abraham still owned no land there. The death of Sarah gave him an opportunity to buy a piece of land which, besides being a burial place, symbolized his permanent ownership of Canaan (3-18). By being buried in Canaan, Abraham and his family expressed their faith that this was their homeland, and one day their descendants would live there permanently (19-20; cf. 25:8-10; 49:29-32; 50:13,25; Hebrews 11:13; Hebrews 11:22).

 


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Bibliography Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Genesis 22:4". "Brideway Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/genesis-22.html. 2005.

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