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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Genesis 22

 

 

Verse 1

Genesis 22:1 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].

Ver. 1. God did tempt Abraham.] Temptation is twofold - (1.) Probationis (2.) Perditionis The former is of God; the latter, of the devil. God is said to tempt, when he puts us upon the trial of our faith and obedience, that he may "do us good in the latter end". [Deuteronomy 8:16] Satan ever seeks to do us harm. He, when he comes to tempt, comes with his sieve, as to Peter. [Luke 23:21] Christ with his "fan". [Matthew 3:12] Now a fan casteth out the worst, and keepeth in the best; a sieve keepeth in the worst, and casteth out the best. Right so Christ (and his trials) purgeth our corruption, and increaseth grace: contrarily the devil, if there be any ill thing in us, confirmeth it; if faith, or any good thing in us, he weakeneth it. Now the temptations of Satan are either (1.) of seducement; [James 1:15] or (2.) of buffeting and grievance. [2 Corinthians 12:7] In seducement we are pressed with some lesser or darling corruption, whereto our appetites by nature are most propense. And here Satan hath his machinations; [2 Corinthians 2:11] methods; [Ephesians 6:11] "depths"; [Revelation 2:24] "darts"; [Ephesians 6:16] "fiery darts" pointed and poisoned with the venom of serpents, which set the heart on fire from one lust to another. In buffetings we are dogged with the foulest lusts of atheism, suicide, &c., such as nature startleth at, and abhorreth; and these, if we resist, and be merely passive, are only our crosses, Satan’s sins. For before a temptation can be a sin, it must have somewhat of coveting in it. And trials are only taps to give vent to corruption.


Verse 2

Genesis 22:2 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.

Ver. 2. Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, &c.] This was the last of Abraham’s ten trials, and the sorest. All our troubles to this are but as the stivers and chips of that cross upon which this good patriarch was crucified. Origen hence persuades parents to bear patiently the loss of their children. Laetus offer filium Deo, esto sacerdos animae filii tui ,& c. Abraham was not only to kill his only son (which yet was more than to have torn out his own heart with his own hands), but to cut him in pieces, to lay him orderly on the altar, after the manner of a sacrifice, and to burn him to ashes; himself making and tending the fire, and putting him in, piece after piece, when any was out. A hard and heavy task: especially since it directly crossed the promise, that "in Isaac all nations of the earth should be blessed"; and seemed to involve the utter ruin of all mankind. Here, reason was at a stand. It was faith only that could extricate the perplexed patriarch, by giving him to know "that God was able to raise him up even from the dead". [Hebrews 11:19] Hoc Abrahamum fecit αμεταπτωτον. This was it that kept him from tripping.

Get thee into the land of Moriah.] Both Abraham’s great temptations began with one strain, Vade tibi , Get thee gone. [Genesis 12:1; Genesis 22:2] Here God led Abraham into temptation, but delivered him from evil. Have you not been tempted, saith the holy man, (a) in this or that kind? It is because God in mercy would not "lead you into temptation." Yea, this is in some sort more to be acknowledged than victory when you are tempted. For not to be tempted is more immediately from God, and less in man’s power than to prevail against temptation. Since nothing doth overcome us against our will: but without our will God doth lead us into trials: for he knoweth we would taste little of these if we might be our own carvers.


Verse 3

Genesis 22:3 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.

Ver. 3. And Abraham rose up early, &c.] To show his prompt and present obedience. He neither consulted with his wife, nor with his own reason. She might have haply hung upon him and hindered him, as Zipporah did Moses to the hazarding of his life. [Exodus 4:24-26] He captivates all the powers of the soul to his Creator; goes after him without questioning, and so shows himself to be "renewed in the spirit of his mind": that is, in his natural reason: for that, like an old beldam, is the mother and nurse of all our distempers and strayings. Cassianus tells us of a young man that had given himself up to a Christian life: and his parents, misliking that way, wrote letters to dissuade him from it; which when he knew, he would not once open them, but threw them in the fire. Let us do so by the suggestions of flesh and blood, and the counsel of carnal friends, or we shall never rest and feast in Abraham’s bosom. I know not by what reason, said Borthwick the Scotch martyr, they so called them my friends, which so greatly laboured to convert me, as they called it: neither will I more esteem them than the Midianites, which in time past called the children of Israel to do sacrifice to their idols. (a)


Verse 4

Genesis 22:4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.

Ver. 4. Then on the third day.] A great while for him to be plodding, ere he came to the place. But we must conceive that his brains were better busied, than many of ours would have been therewhile. We must not weigh the cross, for then it will prove heavy: we must not chew the pill, but swallow it whole, else it will prove bitter. We must not plod too much, but ply the throne of grace for a good use and a good issue of all our trials and tribulations.


Verse 5

Genesis 22:5 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.

Ver. 5. Abide ye here with the ass.] This, the Hebrews use for a proverb, against such as are dull and uncapable. Zophar saith, that "man is born as a wild ass’s colt". [Job 11:12] As an "ass’s foal" for rudeness, and "a wild ass’s" for unruliness. It imports that he is untamed and untractable, till a new heart be put into him. Agur had not the understanding of a man, till he spake to Ithiel and Ucal for it. [Proverbs 30:1-2] He wants the whole man, totum hominis , that doth not fear God and keep his commandments. [Ecclesiastes 12:13] Tu et asinus unum estote , will not do it; which was the counsel given to a young novice entering a monastery (a)

And come again to you.] Nesciens formam rei futurae, prophetavit sciens de eventu, prophetavit quod ignoravit , saith Ambrose. (b)


Verse 6

Genesis 22:6 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.

Ver. 6. And laid it upon Isaac his son.] Who was herein a lively type of Christ, bearing the cross whereon he was offered up. Tω σωματι των χολαζομενων εχαστος εκφερει τον εαυτου σταυρον, , saith Plutarch, speaking of the Roman fashion of crucifying malefactors. And surely it was by a wonderful providence of God that the Jews brought our Saviour to Pilate to be put to death; since they hated nothing more than to confirm or countenance the Roman tyranny among them by any means. Hence Gamaliel gave counsel to dismiss the apostles. [Acts 5:38] And hence the chief priests and rulers took it as so exceedingly heinous that Paul was taken out of their hands by the chief captain. [Acts 23:10] But God had a hand in it, that this and other types and scriptures might be fulfilled, that foretold the very manner of his death on a tree. Let the Jews stumble now at the cross, and fall backward. Let the Gentiles jeer us, as Lucian (a) doth, for that we deny the multitude of their gods, and yet believe in a crucified God, (b) Let us desire to know nothing but Christ, and him crucified; and if ever we desire to be kings in heaven, - and every man must be aut Caesar, aut nullus , a king or a captive, - let us seek by the eye of faith to see the Sun of Righteousness in the west (as Strato’s servant taught him): let us look upon Christ hanging on the cross, dying on that altar, and we shall live for ever.


Verse 7

Genesis 22:7 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?

Ver. 7. Where is the lamb for a burnt offering.] Isaac was not to be told now what belonged to a sacrifice. He had been long since taught by his father what was to be done in the service of God. "When I was young, my father taught me," saith Solomon, [Proverbs 4:4] so did his mother also, [Proverbs 31:1-31] in her Lemuel’s lesson. Plantus tenellas frequentius adaquare proderit , saith Primasius. (a)


Verse 8

Genesis 22:8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

Ver. 8. God will provide himself a lamb.] A pious and precious proverb; (a) much to be mused on, and made use of, when we are in an exigent, and see not whither to turn us. Then say, Deus viderit . God will with the temptation also give an issue. [1 Corinthians 10:13] Necesse est adesse divinum, ubi humanum cessat auxilium , saith Philo. Sciat etiam Celsitudo vestra , saith Luther in a letter to the Prince Elector of Saxony; (b) I would your Highness should well know that businesses are far otherwise carried and concluded in heaven than at the Diet at Noringberg, &c. And to Philip Melancthon he writes thus: Si nos ruemus, ruet Christus una, ille regnator mundi: et esto ruat, &c. Sed scribo haec frustra, quia tu secundum philosophiam vestram, has res ratione rogere, hoc est, ut ait ille, cum ratione insanire pergis, et occidis teipsum; nec vides prorsus extra manum tuam et consilium positam esse causam, etiam extra curam tuam velle agi. (c)


Verse 9

Genesis 22:9 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.

Ver 9. And they came to the place.] Mount Moriah; where the temple was afterwards built. [2 Chronicles 3:1] This was a little from Salem, as Mount Calvary also was a little from Jerusalem.

And bound Isaac his son.] Who struggled not, neither resisted, though able for his age (being twenty-five years old, as Josephus makes him; others thirty-three) to have overpowered his old father. He was acquainted with God’s counsel, saith Luther, wherein he rested. Yet he was bound, (1.) For that the rite of sacrifices so required; [Psalms 118:27] (2.) Lest any involuntary motion, by pangs of death, should be procured. Whence various of the martyrs, as Ridley, Rawlins, &c, desired to be bound fast to the stake, lest the flesh should play its part. Rawlins, when the smith cast a chain about him at the stake, "I pray you, good friend," said he, "knock in the chain fast; for it may be, that the flesh would strive mightily. But, God, of thy great mercy, give me strength and patience to abide the extremity." (a) Nature at death will have a bout with the best, whether he die as Elisha, slowly, or as Elijah, suddenly.


Verse 10

Genesis 22:10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

Ver. 10. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, &c,] What painter in the world can possibly express the affection of Abraham, when thus he bound his son, and bent his sword? Surely that painter that set forth the sacrificing of Iphigenia, would also have drawn Abraham, as he did Agamemnon, with his face veiled; as not able to delineate his inconceivable grief. (a) But a man in Christ is more than a man, and can do that which other men cannot reach unto. It was a matter of blame to the carnal Corinthians, that "they walked as men". [1 Corinthians 3:3] And our Saviour looks for some singular thing to be done to those that pretend to him. [Matthew 5:47] Abraham had denied himself in his beloved Isaac, and therefore went an end with his work, hard though it were. Another that hath not done so, shall find a heavy business of it, an unsupportable burden. Sozomon (b) tells of a certain merchant, whose two sons being taken captives and adjudged to die, he offered himself to die for them; and with this promised to give the soldiers all the gold he had. They, pitying the poor man’s calamity, allowed his request for one of his sons (which he would); but let them both escape they could not, because such a number must be put to death. The miserable man, therefore, looking at and lamenting both his sons, could not find in his heart to make choice of either, as overcome with an equal love to them both, but stood doubting and deliberating till they were both slain. At the siege of Buda in Hungary, there was among the German captains a nobleman, called Erkius Raschachius, whose son, a valiant young gentleman, being got out of the army without his father’s knowledge, bore himself so gallantly in fight against the enemy, in the sight of his father and the army, that he was highly commended of all men, and especially of his father that knew him not at all. Yet before he could clear himself, he was compassed in with the enemy, and, valiantly fighting, slain. Raschachius exceedingly moved with the death of so brave a man, ignorant how near he touched himself, turning about to the other captains, said, This noble gentleman, whosoever he be, is worthy of eternal commendation, and to be most honourably buried by the whole army. As the rest of the captains were with like compassion approving his speech, the dead body of the unfortunate son rescued, was presented to the most miserable father; which caused all them that were there present to shed tears. But such a sudden and inward grief surprised the aged father, and struck so to his heart, that after he had stood a while speechless with his eyes set in his head, he suddenly fell down dead, Anno Dom. 1541. (c)

And took the knife to slay his son.] The apostle with, he did offer him up a slain sacrifice. [Hebrews 11:17] God took it in as good part as if indeed he had done it, because he would have done it. Every man is so good before God, as he truly desires to be. In vitae libro scribuntur omnes, qui quod possunt faciunt, etsi quod debent, non possunt , saith one father. (d) And another, (e) Tota vita boni Christiani sanctum desiderium est. Ambulas, si amas. Non enim passibus ad Deum sed affectibus currimus. Tantum velis, et Deus tibi praeoccuret, saith a third. (f)


Verse 11

Genesis 22:11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here [am] I.

Ver. 11. And said, Abraham, Abraham!] Twice, for haste’s sake: yet not at all till the very instant. When the knife was up, the Lord came. God delights to bring his people to the mount, yea, to the very brow of the hill, till their feet slip, and then delivers them. He reserves his holy hand for a dead lift. Only be sure you look to your calling; for it was otherwise with Jephthah, [ 11:1] whom St Augustine calls facinorosum et improbum , a lewd and naughty man, in his questions upon the Old Testament. What then would he have said to Thomas the Anabaptist, who beheaded his brother Leonard, in the sight of his parents, at Sangal in France, Anno 1526, pretending the example of Abraham? (a) As did likewise those odious idolaters of old, that offered their children in sacrifice to Moloch in the valley of Hinnom; which was so called, because the poor child put into the arms of the red-hot image, was נהס, nohem, that is, roaring; or because the priests comforting the parents said, Jehenneh lach. "It shall be profitable or pleasant to thee," as Kimchi hath it. (b) So, because Abraham planted a grove to serve God in, [Genesis 21:33] the devil, God’s ape, set the blind heathens a work to plant a thicket near the altar of their god Priapus, whereinto his worshippers stepped when the sacrifice was ended, and there, like brute beasts promiscuously satisfied their lusts, thereby, as they conceived, best pleasing their god; which was the true cause, as it seems, that the true God commanded that no groves should be planted near the place of his worship; and if any were, they should be cut down.


Verse 12

Genesis 22:12 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.

Ver. 12. Lay not thine hand upon the lad.] As he was about to do, having armed his pious hand, not only with the knife, but with faith that works by love; as had likewise David, when going against the giant, he flies upon him, perinde ac si fundae suae tunicis non lapillum, sed Deum ipsum induisset ac implicuisset. (a)

Now I know that thou fearest me.] With a fear of love (Hoses iii. 5). And here that of Fulgentius is true, and taketh place. Deum sique parum metuit, valde contemnit; huius qui non memorat beneficentiam, auget iniuriam . God knew Abraham’s fear before, but now he made experience of it. Nunc expertus sum , saith Junius. Nunc omnibus declarasti , saith Chrysostom.


Verse 13

Genesis 22:13 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.

Ver. 13. Behold, behind him a ram.] Be like the angel called behind him; which when he turned to listen to, he spied the ram caught in a thicket, Heb., Sabbech, which signifies the perplexity; winding or binding of a bush or brier. And to this both David seems to allude, [Psalms 116:19] and the son of David in that famous "Lama Sabachthani" of his. [Mark 15:34]

And Abraham went and took the ram, &c.] How likely is it, saith one, (a) that we will offer to God Isaac, our joy, who will not sacrifice the ram; that is, mortify our sinful lusts, and the desires of our flesh! God tempteth us now, saith Mr Philpot, martyr, as he did our father Abraham - commanding him to slay his son Isaac, which by interpretation signifieth mirth and joy - who by his obedience preserved Isaac unto life, and offered a ram in his stead. Similarly, we are to sacrifice to God, our Isaac; that is, our joy and consolation; which if we be ready to do, our joy shall not perish, but live and be increased: although our ram be sacrificed; that is, the pride and concupiscence of our flesh entangled, through sin, with the cares of this stinging world, for the preservation and perfect augmentation of our mirth and joy, sealed up for us in Christ. Thus he. (b) And as God provided another sacrifice, saith a third, (c) for Abraham, that so he might save his son, which was a ram tied and entangled in thorns: so God provided a sacrifice for the salvation of the world, Christ that immaculate Lamb; whose head being crowned with thorns, and hanging on the cross, by his death opened unto us the door, and made us capable of eternal happiness. It is probable, saith Bucholcerus, that Abraham, when he slew and sacrificed the ram, looked up to heaven with new eyes full of divine light; and that being filled with the Spirit of God, and carried beyond himself, he thought of more things, he felt more, he seemed to see and hear more than was possible to be uttered. Ipse Deus quodammodo expositurus, et declaraturus Abrahae actionis praesentis augustam significationem, et manu eum ducturus ad introspicienda huius sacrificii sui adyta, promissionem de Christo repetit, et iureiurando confirmat .{ d}


Verse 14

Genesis 22:14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said [to] this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.

Ver. 14. In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.] God will be found of his in fit time and place. "To him belong the issues of death". [Psalms 68:20] None can take us out of his hands. He knows how to deliver his, and when; as Peter spake feelingly. [2 Peter 2:9 Acts 12:11]

And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh.] To perpetuate the memory of God’s mercy; not of his own obedience, which yet was notable, and not to be matched again. If we honour God, we shall have honour: that is a bargain of God’s own making. [1 Samuel 2:31]


Verse 15

Genesis 22:15 And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,

Ver. 15. And the angel of the Lord.] Who stood, as a spectator and applauder of Abraham’s heroical faith and transcendent obedience. Spectant Dii magnos viros, cum calamitate colluctantes. Ecce spectaculum, ad quod respiciat operi suo intentus Deus , saith Seneca of Cato, (a) and other gallant Roman spirits. Jehovahjireh, in the precedent verse, signifies, the Lord doth see; as if it had been a sight, that God and his angels came down to look upon.


Verse 16

Genesis 22:16 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]:

Ver. 16. By myself have I sworn.] God swears for the further confirmation of our faith. For here he swore, not more for Abraham’s sake, than ours, as the apostle shows. [Hebrews 6:13-14; Hebrews 6:17-18] As when he spake with Jacob at Penuel, "there he spake with us"; [Hosea 12:4] and what he said to Joshua, he said to all, "I will not leave thee, nor forsake thee". [Hebrews 13:5]

And hast not withheld thy son, thine only son.] And yet what was this to that sic without a sicut that hyperbole, that excess of love in God, that moved him to send his Son to die for our sins? He loved Christ far better than Abraham could love Isaac; and yet he gave him up freely, which Abraham would never have done without a command and to die as a malefactor, and by the hands of barbarous and bloody enemies; whereas Isaac was to die as a holy sacrifice, and by the hand of a tender father. How much more cause have we to say, Now I know the Lord loves me: and to swear as David did, to "keep his righteous judgments". [Psalms 119:106]


Verse 17

Genesis 22:17 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;

Ver. 17. Shall possess the gate,] i.e., Both their strength and government.


Verse 18

Genesis 22:18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

Ver. 18. Because thou hast obeyed.] This "because" is not so much causal, as rational. Significat non causam meritoriam, sed subalternam, et sine qua non .


Verse 19

Genesis 22:19 So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.

Ver. 19. Went together to Beersheba.] The Hebrews conceive, because here is no mention of Isaac’s return, that he was sent by his father to Shem, or that he remained for certain years in Mount Moriah. But this is uncertain.


Verse 20

Genesis 22:20 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;

Ver. 20. It was told Abraham.] Good news out of a far country; God usually cheers up his children after sharpest trials; brings them, as once, from Marah to Elim, &c.


Verse 21

Genesis 22:21 Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram,

Ver. 21. Buz.] Of whom came (likely) Elihu the Buzite, {See Trapp on "Job 32:2"} as of Huz some say Job came.


Verse 22

Genesis 22:22 And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel.

Ver. 22. Bethuel.] Of whom {See Trapp on "Genesis 24:15"}


Verse 23

Genesis 22:23 And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham’s brother.

Ver. 23. And Bethuel begat Rebekah.] Rebekah is born; Sarah dies: thus one generation passeth, and another cometh. Our children are the Danes that drive us out of the country.


Verse 24

Genesis 22:24 And his concubine, whose name [was] Reumah, she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah.

Ver. 24. His concubine.] Or half-wife, as the word signifies; one that was between a servant and a wife.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Genesis 22:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/genesis-22.html. 1865-1868.

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