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A Paper

Presented to

Dr. David Brooks

Criswell College


In Partial Fulfillment

of the Requirements for HEB 620



Jared C. Wellman
Box 181

December 9, 2009


1. INTRODUCTION…...……………………………….……………………………….1




2. EXPOSITION……………………....………..………………………………………..5

Background – Genesis 22:1

Crisis – Genesis 22:2-10

Resolution – Genesis 22:11-14

Conclusion – Genesis 22:15-19


By Jared C. Wellman

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he

who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son.”
-Hebrews 11:171


In perhaps one of the most recognized passages in Scripture, the author of Hebrews

wrote, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by

it the men of old gained approval” (Hebrews 11:1-2). According to the author, one of these

“men of old” was Abraham. He writes, “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up

Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son” (Hebrews

11:17). The context of Abraham’s test is unique. To understand the significance of this test, one

must travel to the “book of origins,”2—Genesis—where Abraham’s test is adumbrated.

Genesis 12:1-33 outlines Yahweh’s covenant with Abraham.4 In these three verses,

Yahweh provides what has come to be understood as the Abrahamic covenant—the chief

All subsequent Scripture references, minus the translations, are taken from the New American Standard
Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.
The English title, [Genesis], comes from the Septuagint meaning, “origins,” whereas the Hebrew title is
derived from the Bible’s very first word, translated, “in the beginning.” John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study
Bible, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 13.
“Now the Lord said to Abram, go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s
house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your
name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will
curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
redemptive covenant. Tim Lahaye has written of this covenant, “Every blessing that redeems

believers, within both Israel and the Church, flows from this covenant. It is a covenant in which

God unconditionally promises to bring to pass definite blessings.”5 Lahaye further notes three

major provisions of the covenant: (1) land for Abraham and Israel; (2) descendants (including

Christ); and (3) a worldwide blessing.6 It is with (2)—Abraham’s descendants—that this paper

is specifically concerned.

In Genesis 15, Yahweh reaffirms the covenant that He had made with Abraham in

Haran.7 Yahweh said, “Do not fear, Abraham, I am a shield to you; your reward shall be very

great” (Genesis 15:1). The “reward”8 regarded Abraham’s descendents. Abraham expressed

concern about not having a biological son to be his heir. Instead, his inheritance was destined to

fall to Eliezer of Damascus; “O Lord God, what will You give me, since I am childless and the

heir of my house if Eliezer? Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is

my heir.” (Genesis 15:2-3) Yahweh responded, “This man will not be your heir; but one who

will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir” (Genesis 15:4).

In Genesis 16, Abraham’s dilemma is kindled as he and his wife Sarah are shown to still

have no offspring. Moreover, it is revealed that this is God’s doing. Sarah told Abram, “Now

The Hebrew reads “Abram” and “Sarai” until Genesis 17, but for the sake of continuity, the names
“Abraham” and “Sarah” will be used in the span of this paper.
Tim Lahaye, Prophecy Study Bible NKJV (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2001), 17. Further, this covenant is
reaffirmed in Genesis 15:1-21 and 17:1-21. It is renewed with Isaac in 26:2-5 and Jacob in 28:10-17.
Genesis 22:1-3
Brown-Driver-Briggs (BDB, hereafter) 7939; means “reward for faithfulness.” This is important because
it connects Genesis 15, which is the promise of an heir, with Genesis 22, which is the sacrifice of the heir, with the
“thread” of faithfulness. This is the thesis of Genesis 22.
behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children” (Genesis 16:2). In lieu of this, Sarah

suggested to Abram that he have relations with Hagar, her maid, in order that she might “obtain

children through her” (Genesis 16:2). In this, Ishmael is born.

In Genesis 17, Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before You!” (Genesis

17:18). God responded, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his

name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his

descendants after him” (Genesis 17:19). In Genesis 18, Yahweh appeared to Abraham and

promised him that this son, Isaac, would surely be born; “I will surely return to you at this time

next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son” (Genesis 18:10).

In Genesis 21, after twenty-five years of waiting,9 Yahweh honored His covenant with

Abraham, and provided him with this promised son, Isaac; “Then the Lord took note of Sarah as

He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had promised. So Sarah conceived and bore a son

to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him” (Genesis

21:1-2). It was a joyful time for Abraham and his wife, but even after twenty-five years of faith,

God still wasn’t done testing Abraham. In Genesis 22:1-19, Abraham’s faith is challenged as

God threatens to take away the sole heir of His covenantal promise.10


Kenneth Mathews, the New Testament scholar, has written, “[Genesis 22] is known in

Jewish tradition as the Akedah, ‘the binding [of Isaac],’ taken from the word ‘bound’ in v. 9. It

is the final test of [Abraham’s] faith, the closing bookend to his discovery of God’s sufficiency to
Genesis 12:4 says that “Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed Haran.” Genesis 21:5 says
that Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.”
The idea of this being Abraham’s sole heir is important because the latter portion of Genesis 21 describes
the conclusive denial of Ishmael as having any portion of Abraham’s inheritance.
achieve the promises made at Haran.” 11 It is this test that the author of Hebrews would extract

from in his famous dialogue on faith. Thus, Genesis 22:1-19 is a narrative that communicates

the message of faith in God’s provision—specifically when it comes to God’s promises. It is, in

one sense, faith in God’s faithfulness.


The significance of the Genesis 22 narrative emerges from its message. The passage

reveals how persons in the Old Testament were saved—by their faith in God. Paul reveals this

same truth to us in his letter to the Ephesians. He writes, “For by grace you have been saved

through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8; Italics mine). It

could be argued that Abraham’s test was a gift from God to help produce faith.12

Apart from the explicative significance in this passage, there exists implicative

significance as well, specifically, that of prophecy. It is important to document the language

used in Hebrews 11:17. The author describes Isaac as Abraham’s “only begotten son.”

Likewise, John used this language in his Gospel to describe Jesus. He wrote, “For God so loved

the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16; italics mine).13 Remembering that

one of the provisions of the Abrahamic covenant was that of descendents, one of which was

Christ, this holds significant implications.

Kenneth Mathews, The New American Commentary: Genesis 11:27-50:26 (Nashville: Broadman &
Holman Publishers, 2005), 283. Italics mine.
James 1:2-3 says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the
testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and
complete, lacking in nothing.”
It is important to note that both Hebrews 11:17 and John 3:16 use the same language to describe the
relationship between the father and son, respectively; Greek, “τὸν µονογενῆ”; English, “only begotten.”
Prophetically, there remain further implications. These will be listed in the exegesis that

follows this introduction. Of significant value, however, is the idea that Abraham named the

mountain (Moriah) on which the narrative takes place, “The-Lord-Will-Provide.”14 If this

Moriah is the same Moriah mentioned in 2 Chronicles 3:115, which is described as the location of

Jerusalem, then it holds overwhelming implications regarding the transcendency of Abraham’s



Genesis 22 is detailed in narrative form. Narratives are organized by plots. “The plot

serves to organize events in such a way as to arouse the reader’s interest and emotional

involvement, while at the same time imbuing the events with meaning.”16 Plots are represented

in at least four patterns: (1) Background; (2) Crisis; (3) Resolution; and (4) Conclusion.17 This

paper will detail Genesis 22 in the context of these four patterns.


Background - Genesis 22:1

And after these things God tested Abraham and said to him, Abraham, and he said, “I am

Transliterated, “Jehovah (Yahweh) Jireh;” ‫ְהו֣ה ׀ י ְִר ֶ ֑אה‬
ָ ‫י‬
“Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah” [italics mine].
Steven Mathewson, Bibliotheca Sacra 154 (October-December 1997), 413-14.
Ibid., 414.
This is the first of four portions of personal translations in this paper. Each will be followed in italics
after the narrative pattern is listed.
James Montgomery Boice has written, “It is necessary to review briefly the background

of this incident in Abraham’s life. From the beginning, when God had called Abraham out of Ur

of the Chaldees, God had promised that He would make him into a great nation.”19 In this

passage, only one verse serves as the background portion of the narrative. There are, however,

significant elements presented therein that help develop the overall message of the narrative.

Specifically, they are the introductory phrase of “After these things,” 20 the Hebrew reference of

“God,” and the issuance of a test.

“[After these things] points generally to the prior events at Gerar in chapters 20-21.”21

This means that while 22:1 serves sufficiently as a background text for this narrative, it is

important to draw from other contributing factors as well. In brief, Genesis 20 is important

because of the impact that Sarah had on “all the wombs of the household of Abimelech” (20:18).

The emphasis was that Sarah herself was still barren. Genesis 21 is important because it

dialogues the birth of Isaac, the exclusion of Ishmael, and the acknowledgement from Abimelech

that “God is with [Abraham]” (Genesis 21:22). These two chapters both extract backgrounds

from previous chapters as well, both detailing the barrenness of Sarah’s womb and the promise

of Isaac over Ishmael. Genesis 21, therefore, is important because it is a manifestation of God’s

gift and faithfulness to Abraham’s family. It was after “these things” that Genesis 22 is


A second observation from 22:1 is the Hebrew’s identification of God. John Walton has


James Boice, Genesis: Volume 2, Chapters 12-36 (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999), 683.
‫ַוי ְ ִ֗הי אַ ַח ֙ר הַדְּ ב ִ ָ֣רים ָה ֵ֔אלֶּה‬
Mathews, The New American Commentary, 289.
One unusual aspect of Genesis 22 is that the speaker in verse 1 is not referred to as
Yahweh or El Shaddai or any of the more common names for God in Genesis. Instead,
the author uses “The God,’ (Elohim). The only other time in the Pentateuch this subject
is used with the verb for testing is in Exodus 20:20. In both occurrences, the result of the
test concerns the “fear of God.”22

This is an important theme for this narrative. While the thesis of Genesis 22:1-19 is “faith in

God’s faithfulness,” a proper “fear of the Lord” is what produces that faith.

Relating to the previous events to 22:1, in 21:33 Abraham calls on the name of Yahweh

as El Olam, which is, the “everlasting” or “enduring” God. Walton calls this occurrence an

epithet, and writes, “[This] serve[s] to indicate specific attributes of God’s nature.”23 Further,

“With the birth of Isaac and the resolution of the Ishmael dilemma, the designation of Yahweh as

the Enduring God indicates the stability, security, and permanence that Abraham now feels in the

covenant and in his relationship with God.”24 Understanding the name of God helps the reader

unpack the context of Abraham’s test.

This test25 is the third portion of the background of this passage. Walton has observed of

this word,

In testing, one is testing some value, quality, or attribute in that person. For example,
when people test God, they are generally testing His patience (Exod. 17) or His
faithfulness (Num. 14:22). When people test other people, they test something such as
their wisdom (1 Kings 10:1). There is always some implied (though rarely specified)
object to the verb beyond the personal direct object. Whatever is being tested is stretched

John Walton, Genesis (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing Company, 2001), 508. Walton has further
noted, “The fact that this combination appears elsewhere in the Pentateuch in regard to God’s testing (and especially
since it is in Ex. 20, where there is no doubt that Yahweh is meant) eliminates the option that he author in Genesis
22 is making an attempt to insulate Yahweh from such a potentially compromising command by using a generic
alternative. In addition it must be noted that only absolute certainty on the part of Abraham would have led him to
obey such a command” (508).
John Walton, Genesis (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing Company, 2001), 508-9.
Ibid., 509.
‫( – נ ָ ִ֖סּה‬nassah, BDB 5254; piel, perfect, 3rd masculine singular). Used with God as subject and people as
object, or with people as subject and God or other people as object.
to its limits. Likewise, when God tests, He tests some value, quality, or attribute26 by
stretching it to its limits.27

It is important to note that “Nowhere else is this [type of test] accomplished by giving a

command that is rescinded before it is carried out.”28 That is, this test is a unique case and the

outcome may be designed to fulfill more than what was evident during its time.29

The ironic thing about this word test is that, in the contexts of its many uses, it expresses

the purpose of producing a “fear of the Lord.”30 This is vividly seen in Exodus 20:2031 and in

Deuteronomy 13:3.32 The context of Genesis 22 seems to suggest that God was not testing

Abraham in order that He find out if Abraham was faithful, but for Abraham to see that God was

faithful (22:8). The text suggests no hesitation on Abraham’s behalf. In fact, it speaks quite the

opposite. Abraham knew that God would provide a sacrifice, or even raise Isaac from the dead

(Hebrews 11:19). He knew that God would remain faithful to His promise of his descendants

being as the “sand on the seashore” and as the “stars in the sky” (22:17). The result was that

Abraham would fear the Lord because of God’s faithfulness (22:12).

Walton further observes, “In most cases He is testing the faith and faithfulness of individuals or of Israel
by expecting them to obey in difficult circumstances (cf. esp. Deut. 8:2; Judg. 3:4; p. 510).
Walton, Genesis, 509.
Ibid., 510.
Specifically, prophesy.
According to the BDB, there are three categories of meaning: (1) test, try; (2) attempt, assay, try to do a
thing; (3) test, try, prove, tempt [but not in the modern sense of the word]. In Genesis 22:1, the usage is found in the
third category of meaning.
“Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the
fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin’” [italics mine].
“You shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is
testing you” [italics mine]. (Important to note that the following verse says, “You shall follow the Lord your God
and fear Him.)
Crisis – Genesis 22:2-10
And He said, “Take now your son, your one and only son whom you love, Isaac, and go into
the land of Moriah and offer him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will
say to you. (3) And Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of
his youths with him, and Isaac his son. And he split wood for a burnt offering and rose up and
went to the place which God had said to him. (4)And on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes
and saw the place from a distance. (5)And Abraham said to his young men, “You stay here with
the donkey. I and the boy will go to thus, that we may worship and may return to you.” (6)And
Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac; and he took the fire
and the knife in his hand. And the two went together. (7)And Isaac spoke to his father Abraham
and said, “My father,” and he said, “Here I am.” And he said, “See, the fire and the wood, but
where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (8)And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide
Himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” And the two of them went together. (9)And they came to
the place which God had said to him. And Abraham built there the altar, and arranged the
wood. And he bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on the wood. (10)And Abraham
stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
22:2-9 constitutes the pattern of narrative known as “crisis.” This is evidenced in God’s

unorthodox command to “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to

the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:2). Steven Mathewson

has written of crisis, “plots build on a conflict or a collision between two forces.”33 The two

forces presented here are (a) that God forbids human sacrifice (Deuteronomy 12:31; Leviticus

24:19-22), and (b) God commands human sacrifice. “Now God does not for Himself need or

require the sacrifice of [Isaac]; to Him it is an abomination. Yet the sacrifice is demanded of

Abraham. Apparently a conflict is to be seen.”34 This portion of the narrative is seen as a crisis

because the context and purpose of the narrative is not yet resolved.

Several other concepts are introduced in the crisis as well, most of which are prophetical.

These are the underlying themes of this narrative that help make sense of the “collision” that

seems to be taking place. These are,

Steven Mathewson, Bibliotheca Sacra 154 (October-December 1997), 414.
Harold Stigers, A Commentary on Genesis (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976), 188.
(1) Moriah as the future location of Jerusalem—the location of Christ’s atoning death and
provision for man’s sin (2 Chronicles 3:1).
(2) The wood as representative of the cross.
(3) Isaac’s willful obedience to be the sacrifice.
(4) The implications of burnt and sin offerings.35
(5) The multiple uses of “son,” and the phrasing therein.
(6) The multiple uses of “and they went on together.”

A final (non-prophetical) concept that is important in this narrative is Abraham’s unwavering


Firstly, it is important to consider the value of the prophetical implications because they

bring a sobering reality to this narrative, but also to the Old Testament. If Genesis 22 really is

prophetical, then it means that Christ’s atoning death was alluded to at least 1500 years before

His birth. These will be detailed in the following.

The first prophetical implication is the consideration of Moriah as the future location of

Jerusalem. Isaac’s sacrifice was to take place here. God tells Abraham to “go to the land of

Moriah, [to] one of the mountains of which I will tell you” (22:2). Mathews has written, “The

only indication of Moriah’s location from the text is that it is a three day journey from

Beersheba, but no direction is provided. The only other reference to Moriah in the Old

Testament is in 2 Chronicles 3:1, which identifies it as the site of the temple in Jerusalem.”36

This is where the alleged prophecy is revealed. If this Moriah is the same as the Chronicle’s

Moriah,37 then the future location of total redemption would be located on the exact spot that

This narrative took place before the issuance of sacrifices; however, there may be a future implication
here, such as there are of Christ.
Mathews, The New American Commentary, 291.
Mathew writes, “At least three contextual problems have been proposed, however, that this Moriah may
not be the same Moriah as in 2 Chronicles 3:1, and therefore not Jerusalem. First, if this was the site of Jerusalem,
then Abraham would have been familiar with the wooded hills surrounding the area, and thus would not have
brought firewood (v. 3), but instead cut it when he arrived. Second, since 1 Chronicles makes no mention of this
Abraham now stands. John Phillips has noted of this mountain, “Now on the stage of Abraham’s

life could be enacted, in type and shadow, the great drama of Calvary, so much so that, as we put

our hand upon the beating of Abraham’s heart, we can measure the pulse of the heart of God. As

we watch Isaac make his way to Mount Moriah, we see Jesus wend His way up the parallel

slopes of Calvary.”38

Another prophetical implication of the crisis is the wood that Isaac carried up the

mountain; the wood that was “laid on him” (22:6). After he laid the wood on his son, Abraham

and Isaac preceded to walk together up the mountain. Lahaye notes, “This pictures Christ’s

burden of the cross that He carried up Calvary.”39 Augustine furthered this thought when he

wrote, “And on this account Isaac carried the wood on which he was to be offered up to the place

of sacrifice, just as the Lord Himself carried His own cross.”40

The third prophetical implication is seen when the two arrived at the “place which God

had told him; Abraham built the altar and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid

him on the altar, on top of the wood” (22:9). “In this setting, Isaac is a picture of Christ as the

obedient son who is willing to die in order to satisfy the will of His Father.”41

episode, which was obviously a significant event, it may be a coincidence, or a haphazard similarity between names,
and not the same location. A third problem is the mention of the “three day journey.” It has been suggested that this
is simply too far of a journey, and therefore it cannot be the temple site. Apart from these problems, “There are
further problems with the name “Moriah.” The ancient versions variously translate the word rather than recognize it
as a place name. This probably is due to the definite article with Moriah (lit., “to the land of the Moriah), which is
uncommon for a proper name. The etymology of the name is troublesome too. In the Genesis narrative,
explanations for the name may occur, although only implicitly. The most obvious is the name assigned to the place
in v. 14, “The LORD will provide,” which also is a subtle play on “see” in vv. 4, 8; the idea of “see” reflects the
versions and occurs again in 2 Chr. 3:1 (“appeared,” nir’a from ra’a)” (291).
John Phillips, Exploring Genesis (New York: Loizeaux Brothers, 1992), 179.
Lahaye, Prophecy Study Bible, 28.
David Cotter, Genesis (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 2003), 157.
Ibid., 29.
A fourth prophetical implication in the crisis is a consideration of the future sacrificial

system.42 In 22:7, Isaac “spoke to Abraham his father and said, ‘My father!’ And he said, ‘Here

I am, my son.’ And he said, ‘Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt

offering?’” [Italics mine]

Two interesting concepts are introduced here—the lamb and the burnt offering.

According to verse 13, God provided a ram, not a lamb. Both Isaac and Abraham seemed to be

under the impression that God was going to provide the latter. Furthermore, this was a “burnt

offering.”43 In Scripture, burnt offerings usually required a bull, ram, or male bird (dove or

young pigeon for the poor), not a lamb. Lambs were later used for sin offerings (Lev. 4:1-5:13;

6:24-30; 8:14-17; 16:3-22), guilt offerings (Lev. 5:14-6:7; 7:1-6), and sometimes peace offerings

(Lev. 3; 7:11-34), but never for burnt offerings. If the implication of the sin offering and the

explication of the burnt offering are blended, a rounded context of atonement is presented.44

Christ was the lamb sacrificed as a sin, peace, and even guilt offering. It is also interesting to

note that the ram, in this context, was the substitute for Isaac, just as Christ was the substitute for


Appended to these prophetical implications are two others presented here in the crisis—

the multiple uses of “son” and “walking on together.” The word “son” is used thirteen times in

these nineteen verses, but what is even more important is how it is used. The author notes Isaac

It is important to note that the sacrificial system was not yet set up, however, neither was there an ultimate
atoning sacrifice in Christ. These are simply interesting considerations to the underlying meaning of the narrative.
In other contexts the “burnt offering” has various meanings. (1) a voluntary act of worship; (2) the
atonement of unintentional sin in general; (3) an expression of devotion, commitment and complete surrender to
God (Lev 1: 6: 8-13; 8:18-21; 16:24).
John 1:29 says of Christ, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
as Abraham’s “only son.”45 This is comparable to Christ as being the only son of God (John

3:16) and also “emphasizing the greatness of the sacrifice.”46 Moreover, the multiple uses of the

phrase, “So the two of them walked on together” 47 is comparable to the idea that the Father and

Son “walk together,” or are in the same mind (John 10:30).48 “[Here], the narrator relentlessly

emphasizes the precious relationship.”49

Each of these prophecies brings a sobering understanding to this “crisis collision.” In

this, the collision is seen as teleological, rather than haphazard, or even evil. There is still one

final element to this crisis that is important to detail—Abraham’s unwavering faith.

The prophecies are implicative, but Abraham’s faith is explicative. It is evidenced

throughout the entire narrative. Firstly, it is seen in verse 3 when Abraham immediately prepares

for the sacrifice. He did not waste a single day or even question God in His command; “He rose

early in the morning.” In verse 5 Abraham tells the young men that he and Isaac were going to

worship, and that they would “return to [them].” Abraham knew that they both would return. In

verse 7, Abraham answers Isaac’s question about the offering, stating that God would indeed

provide the lamb. Finally, in verse 10, Abraham follows through in “stretching out his hand to

slay his son.” There was no hesitation on his behalf.

As noted in footnote 14: It is important to note that both Hebrews 11:17 and John 3:16 use the same
language to describe the relationship between the father and son, respectively; Greek, “τὸν µονογενῆ”; English,
“only begotten.”
John Skinner, The International Critical Commentary (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1976), 328.
Mathews notes that this “narrative possesses three movements, each ending with the same clause,
“and…went on together.” Abraham’s responses, “Here I am,” appear in the three dialogues, each in one of the
narrative movements” (287).
“I and the Father are one.”
Bruce Waltke, Genesis (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001), 307.
As noted in the introduction, Abraham’s faith rested in at least two results; either God

would provide another sacrifice (22:8) or God would raise Isaac up again (Hebrews 11:19). The

latter is seen in retrospect. The crisis of this narrative is subdued in this unwavering faith.

Every crisis includes a climax. The climax of this narrative is expressed in verses 9 and

10. It is where most of the verbs are articulated and the verbs are strong and unique in structure;

“And Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him

on the altar, on top of the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his

son” [Italics mine]. It is with this that the plot “descends rapidly to the resolution from the


Resolution – Genesis 22:11-14

And the Angel of Jehovah called to him from the heavens and said, “Behold me.” (12)And He
said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy, or do anything to him. For now I know that you are a
God-fearer, and you have not withheld your son, your only one, from Me.” (13)And Abraham
lifted up his eyes and looked. And behold, a ram behind him was caught in a thicket by its
horns.51 And Abraham went and took the ram and offered him a burnt offering instead of his
son. (14)And Abraham called the name of that place Yahweh Will Provide; so that it is said until
this day, “In the mount of Yahweh it will be seen.”

Two important issues are expressed in the resolution of this narrative. They are (1) that

Abraham was a “God-fearer” and (2) the name Abraham gave to the mount—Yahweh Will


Steven Mathewson, Bibliotheca Sacra 154 (October-December 1997), 415.
Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia Text Critical Apparatus note: Genesis 22:13a – To be read with multi
Medieval Hebrew Manuscripts, Samaritan Pentateuch, Septuagint, Targum Manuscript of Pseudo Jonathan. The
difference here seems to be the “tittle” that has been confused on the Resh or the Dalet. Either way, no theological
impact is made on this verse. The Medieval Hebrew Manuscripts would dictate the ram as being “one.” The
Septuagint reads, “and behold, a (only one) ram caught by its horns.” The Hebrew text reads that it was “behind
The consensus of the resolution is that the tension to the crisis was resolved. This was

done by an interruption from God. God had taken Abraham to the brink of the test, and he

passed. Everything changed when in verse 11 an Angel of the Lord interjected and provided a

substitution for the sacrifice.

In verse 12, the Hebrew literally reads that God “now knew that Abraham was a ‘God-

fearer.’” This is an interesting concept, because the same Hebrew word, transliterated into the

English as “jireh,” is used to connect this idea with the observation of God’s provision.

Abraham, in verse 14, called the “name of that place The Lord Will Provide,” (Jehovah jireh). In

the Niphil stem, the Hebrew word for “provide” has at least three categories of meaning.52

Walton notes,

This usage approximates one of the idiomatic uses of the verb “to see” that we also have
in English. When we say “I will see to it that the report is done on time,” we are using
the verb “to see” to convey that the details will be taken care of. But the idiom also
suggests by nuance a supervisory role rather than an active one. Hebrew uses the verb
this way in Genesis 39:23, where the warden did not have to “see to” anything under
Joseph’s care. Abraham is convinced that the Lord will work out all of the details (v.8),
and when He does, Abraham names the place accordingly (“Yahweh Yireh,” i.e., “The
Lord Will Provide.”).53

The category of meaning for “to provide” or “to appear” is fascinating. The amazing thing about

the context of the other uses of this verb54 is that every usage is in the sense of God’s appearance.

This means that when Abraham calls Moriah “The Lord Will Provide (or be seen),” it holds

overwhelming implications—that God will, in some way, manifest Himself on this mountain.

Continuing the possible prophetic implications from the crisis, and in light of the New

This is the stem that is seen in 22:14. The Niphil stem has three categories of meaning. These are (1)
appear; (2) be seen; (3) be visible.
Walton, The NIV Application Commentary, 511.
See footnote 48. Here, utilizing the BDB.
Testament,55 if Moriah really is the location of the Jerusalem temple mount, then Abraham is

literally stating that (1) God will be seen via the sacrificial offerings (of the temple) and (2) that

God will be seen in Jesus Christ. Regardless, it is important to note that the context of the verb is

used only in God’s appearance, not in man’s.

Conclusion – Genesis 22:15-19

And the Angel of Yahweh called to Abraham out of the heavens a second time. (16)And He
said, “I have sworn by Myself, declares Jehovah, that on account of this thing you have done,
and not have withheld your son, your only son, (17) that blessing I will surely bless you, and
greatly multiplying I will multiply your seed like the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is
on the seashore. And your seed shall possess the gate of His enemies. (18)And in your seed shall
all the nations of the earth be blessed because you have obeyed My voice. (19)And Abraham
returned to his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba. And Abraham
lived at Beersheba.

The conclusion of the narrative is that God again reaffirms the covenantal blessings that

he had originally promised in Genesis 12:1-3. In this pattern, we see the “thirty-fifth and last

time that the Lord speaks to Abraham. This is a momentous announcement.”56 This narrative

detailed the promise of descendents. Not only was Isaac born to Abraham, but his life was

challenged and Abraham remained faithful in God’s faithfulness. Abraham returned to the place

where he had set up a covenant with Abimelech. Abraham “planted a tamarisk tree at

Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, El Olam, (the Everlasting God; Genesis

21:33). Abraham knew that God was everlasting before the test, and now He could believe that

in a more intimate way.

Genesis 22 is a narrative that expresses an opportunity that believers have in intimacy

with God. This intimacy is a genuine faith that is lived out, regardless of the circumstances.

John 8:56, for example reads, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”
Stanley Greidanus, Preaching Christ from Genesis (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007), 211.
Abraham’s faith was produced by a healthy fear in the Lord. In this, he has become a part of the

“great cloud of witnesses” that the author of Hebrews addresses in Hebrews 12:1. Now we are to

“lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, [running] the race that is

set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.” Jesus prophetically

perfected the faith of Abraham, and now He offers the same opportunity to us.


Boice, James. Genesis: An Expositional Commentary : Genesis 12-36. Grand Rapids: Baker
Books, 1998.

Brown, Francis The Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Peabody:
Hendrickson Publishers, 1999.

Cotter, David. Genesis. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2003.

Greidanus, Sidney. Preaching Christ from Genesis. City: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
Company, 2007.

Lahaye, Tim. NKJV Tim Lahaye Prophecy Study Bible, Hardcover. City: CLW
Communications/AMG, 2001.

Mathews, Kenneth. The New American Commentary: Genesis 11:27-50:26. Nashville:

Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2005.

Phillips, John. Exploring Genesis. New York: Loizeaux Brothers, 1992.

Skinner, John. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Genesis. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1976.

Stigers, Harold, A Commentary on Genesis. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976.

Waltke, Bruce, and Cathi J. Fredricks. Genesis. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001.

Walton, John. Genesis. City: Zondervan Publishing Company, 2001.

Journal Articles

Steven Mathewson, Bibliotheca Sacra 154 (October-December 1997), 415.


Kittel, Rudolf. Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. City: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1990.

New American Standard Bible