Notes for Gen 22:1LEB

The Hebrew verb used here means "to test; to try; to prove." In this passage Elohim tests Abraham to see if he would be obedient. See T. W. Mann, The Book of the Torah, 44–48. See also J. L. Crenshaw, A Whirlpool of Torment (OBT), 9–30; and J. I. Lawlor, "The Test of Abraham," GTJ 1 (1980): 19-35.


Heb "he"; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.


Notes for Gen 22:2LEB

Heb "he"; the referent (Elohim) has been specified in the translation for clarity.


Take your son…Isaac. The instructions are very clear, but the details are deliberate. With every additional description the commandment becomes more challenging.


There has been much debate over the location of Moriah; 2 Chr 3:1 suggests it may be the site where the temple was later built in Jerusalem.


A whole burnt offering signified the complete surrender of the worshiper and complete acceptance by Elohim. The demand for a human sacrifice was certainly radical and may have seemed to Abraham out of character for Elohim. Abraham would have to obey without fully understanding what Elohim was about.


Heb "which I will say to."


Notes for Gen 22:3LEB

Heb "Abraham rose up early in the morning and saddled his donkey."


Heb "he arose and he went."


Notes for Gen 22:4LEB

Heb "lifted up his eyes and saw."


Notes for Gen 22:5LEB

Heb "And Abraham." The proper name has been replaced in the translation by the pronoun ("he") for stylistic reasons.


The Hebrew verb is masculine plural, referring to the two young servants who accompanied Abraham and Isaac on the journey.


The disjunctive clause (with the compound subject preceding the verb) may be circumstantial and temporal.


This Hebrew word literally means "to bow oneself close to the ground." It often means "to worship."


It is impossible to know what Abraham was thinking when he said, "we will…return to you." When he went he knew (1) that he was to sacrifice Isaac, and (2) that Elohim intended to fulfill his earlier promises through Isaac. How he reconciled those facts is not clear in the text. Heb 11:17–19LEB suggests that Abraham believed Elohim could restore Isaac to him through resurrection.


Notes for Gen 22:6LEB

He took the fire and the knife in his hand. These details anticipate the sacrifice that lies ahead.


Notes for Gen 22:7LEB

The Hebrew text adds "and said." This is redundant and has not been translated for stylistic reasons.


Heb "Here I am" (cf. Gen 22:1LEB).


Heb "and he said, ‘Here is the fire and the wood.’" The referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Here and in the following verse the order of the introductory clauses and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.


Notes for Gen 22:8LEB

Heb "will see for himself." The construction means "to look out for; to see to it; to provide."


Elohim will provide is the central theme of the passage and the turning point in the story. Note Paul’s allusion to the story in Rom 8:32LEB ("how shall he not freely give us all things?") as well as H. J. Schoeps, "The Sacrifice of Isaac in Paul’s Theology," JBL 65 (1946): 385-92.


Notes for Gen 22:9LEB

Abraham built an altar there. The theme of Abraham’s altar building culminates here. He has been a faithful worshiper. Will he continue to worship when called upon to make such a radical sacrifice?


Then he tied up. This text has given rise to an important theme in Judaism known as the Aqedah, from the Hebrew word for "binding." When sacrifices were made in the sanctuary, Elohim remembered the binding of Isaac, for which a substitute was offered. See D. Polish, "The Binding of Isaac," Jud 6 (1957): 17-21.


Notes for Gen 22:10LEB

Heb "in order to slaughter."


Notes for Gen 22:11LEB

Heb "the messenger of Yahweh" (also in v. 15). Some identify the angel of Yahweh as the preincarnate Christ because in some texts the angel is identified with Yahweh himself. However, see the note on the phrase "Yahweh’s angel" in Gen 16:7LEB.


Notes for Gen 22:12LEB

Heb "Do not extend your hand toward the boy."


Heb "and he said, ‘Do not extend…’"; the referent (the angel) has been specified in the context for clarity. The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.


For now I know. The test was designed to see if Abraham would be obedient (see v. 1).


In this context revere refers by metonymy to obedience that grows from faith.


Notes for Gen 22:13LEB

Heb "lifted his eyes."


Heb "and saw, and look." The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, "look") draws attention to what Abraham saw and invites the audience to view the scene through his eyes.


The translation follows the reading of the MT; a number of Hebrew mss, the LXX, Syriac, and Samaritan Pentateuch read "one" (אֶחָד, ’ekhad) instead of "behind him" (אַחַר, ’akhar).


Heb "Abraham"; the proper name has been replaced by the pronoun ("he") in the translation for stylistic reasons.


Notes for Gen 22:14LEB

Heb "Yahweh sees" (יְהוָה יִרְאֶה, yéhvah yireh, traditionally transliterated "Jehovah Jireh"; see the note on the word "provide" in v. 8). By so naming the place Abraham preserved in the memory of Elohim’s people the amazing event that took place there.


On the expression to this day see B. Childs, "A Study of the Formula ‘Until this Day’," JBL 82 (1963): 279-92.


The saying connected with these events has some ambiguity, which was probably intended. The Niphal verb could be translated (1) "in the mountain of Yahweh it will be seen/provided" or (2) "in the mountain Yahweh will appear." If the temple later stood here (see the note on "Moriah" in Gen 22:2LEB), the latter interpretation might find support, for the people went to the temple to appear before Yahweh, who "appeared" to them by providing for them his power and blessings. See S. R. Driver, Genesis, 219.


Notes for Gen 22:16LEB

Heb "By myself I swear."


Heb "the oracle of Yahweh." The phrase refers to a formal oracle or decree from Yahweh.


Notes for Gen 22:17LEB

The use of the infinitive absolute before the finite verbal form (either an imperfect or cohortative) emphasizes the certainty of the blessing.


Here too the infinitive absolute is used for emphasis before the following finite verb (either an imperfect or cohortative).


I will greatly multiply. Yahweh here ratifies his earlier promise to give Abram a multitude of descendants. For further discussion see R. B. Chisholm, "Evidence from Genesis," A Case for Premillennialism, 35–54.


The Hebrew term זֶרַע (zera’) occurring here and in v. 18 may mean "seed" (for planting), "offspring" (occasionally of animals, but usually of people), or "descendants" depending on the context.


Or "inherit."


Heb "gate," which here stands for a walled city. To break through the gate complex would be to conquer the city, for the gate complex was the main area of defense (hence the translation "stronghold").


Notes for Gen 22:18LEB

In the Hebrew text this causal clause comes at the end of the sentence. The translation alters the word order for stylistic reasons.


Because you have obeyed me. Abraham’s obedience brought Elohim’s ratification of the earlier conditional promise (see Gen 12:2LEB).


Traditionally the verb is taken as passive ("will be blessed") here, as if Abraham’s descendants were going to be a channel or source of blessing to the nations. But the Hitpael is better understood here as reflexive/reciprocal, "will bless [i.e., pronounce blessings on] themselves/one another" (see also Gen 26:4LEB). Elsewhere the Hitpael of the verb "to bless" is used with a reflexive/reciprocal sense in Deut 29:18LEB; Ps 72:17LEB; Isa 65:16LEB; Jer 4:2LEB. Gen 12:2LEB predicts that Abram will be held up as a paradigm of divine blessing and that people will use his name in their blessing formulae. For examples of blessing formulae utilizing an individual as an example of blessing see Gen 48:20LEB and Ruth 4:11LEB. Earlier formulations of this promise (see Gen 12:2LEB; Gen 18:18LEB) use the Niphal stem. (See also Gen 28:14LEB.)


Notes for Gen 22:19LEB

Heb "and they arose and went together."


Heb "and Abraham stayed in Beer Sheba. This has been translated as a relative clause for stylistic reasons.


Notes for Gen 22:20LEB

In the Hebrew text the sentence begins with הִנֵּה (hinneh, "look") which draws attention to the statement.


Notes for Gen 22:21LEB

This parenthetical note about Kemuel’s descendant is probably a later insertion by the author/compiler of Genesis and not part of the original announcement.


Notes for Gen 22:23LEB

The disjunctive clause gives information that is important but parenthetical to the narrative. Rebekah would become the wife of Isaac (Gen 24:15LEB).