Genesis 22:2 MEANING

Genesis 22:2
(2) Take now.--Now is not an adverb of time, but an interjection of entreaty, usually coupled with requests, and intended to soften them. It thus makes the words more an exhortation than a command.

Thine only son Isaac.--The words in the original are more emphatic, being, "Take, I pray, thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest, even Isaac." If childlessness was so unendurable in old time to Abraham (Genesis 15:2), what would it be now, after so many years of enjoyment of a son, and after giving up Ishmael for his sake (Genesis 17:18)?

The land of Moriah.--Moriah may either mean Jah is teacher (see Note on Genesis 12:6), or Jah is provider. The first is supported by Isaiah 2:3, where the verb is rendered will teach; but the second agrees best with Genesis 22:8; Genesis 22:14. If this be the meaning, the name would be derived from this event, and would signify the place where "Jehovah will Himself provide the sacrifice." It has been suggested by many able commentators, that the place meant was Moreh in Sichem, and that the site of the sacrifice was, as the Samaritans affirmed, the natural altar upon the summit of Mount Gerizim. But as Abraham and Isaac reached the spot on the third day, and evidently at an early hour, Gerizim is too remote from Beer-sheba for this to be possible Even Jerusalem is distant enough, as the journey from Beer-sheba takes twenty and a half hours; and travellers in those days had to cook their own food, and prepare their own sleeping accommodation. We may notice also, that Moriah is described as "a land," in some part of which Abraham was to be shown the special mountain intended for the sacrifice; Moreh, on the contrary, was a place where Abraham had lived, and which was therefore well known to him.

Offer him there for a burnt offering.--Hengstenberg and others have argued that Abraham was not to kill Isaac, but to surrender him spiritually to God, and sanctify him by a burnt offering. But this is contradicted by the narrative itself (Genesis 22:10), and by the passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews referred to above, where the victory of Abraham's faith is described as consisting in the belief, that even though Isaac were killed, nevertheless the promise would still in some Divine manner be fulfilled in him.

Verse 2. - And he said, Take now - "the נַא modifies the command, and seems to express that Elohim wished to receive the sacrifice as a free-will offering" (Lange) - thy son (not a lamb, but thy child), thine only son - not ἁγαπητὸν (LXX.), but unigenitum (Vulgate), meaning the only son of Sarah, the only legitimate offspring he possessed, the only heir of the promise, the only child that remained to him after Ishmael's departure (cf. ὁ μονογενὴς, John 1:18) - Isaac, whom thou lovest, - or, whom thou lovest, Isaac; the order and accumulation of the terms being calculated to excite the parental affection of the patriarch to the highest pitch, and to render compliance with the Divine demand a trial of the utmost severity - and get thee - literally, go for thyself (cf. Genesis 12:1; Genesis 21:16) - into the land of Moriah. Moriah - vision (Vulgate, Symmachus, Samaritan), worship (Onkelos, Jonathan), high (LXX.), rebellious (Murphy); but rather a compound of יה and מֹרִי, meaning God is my instructor, alluding to the temple from which the law should afterwards proceed (Kalisch), or, better, of יה and ראה, and signifying "the shown of Jehovah," i.e. the revelation or manifestation of Jehovah (Hengstenberg, Kurtz, Keil, &e.); or "the chosen, i.e. "pointed out of God," with reference to its selection as the site of the Divine sanctuary (Gesenius), or rather because there God provided and pointed out the sacrifice which he elected to accept (Lange). And offer him there for a burnt offering - not make a spiritual surrender of him in and through a burnt offering (Hengstenberg, Lange), but actually present him as a holocaust. That Abraham did not stagger on receiving this astounding injunction may be accounted for by remembering that the practice of offering human sacrifices prevailed among the early Chaldaeans and Canaanites, and that as yet no formal prohibition, like that of the Mosaic code, had been issued against them - upon one of the mountains - not Moreh in Sicbem (Tuch, Michaelis, Stanley, Grove, et alii), which was too distant, but Moriah at Jerusalem (Hengstenberg, Kurtz, Keil, Kalisch), where subsequently God appeared to David (2 Samuel 24:16), and the temple of Solomon was built (2 Chronicles 3:1) - which I will tell thee of - i.e. point out (probably by secret inspiration) as thou proceedest.

22:1,2 We never are secure from trials In Hebrew, to tempt, and to try, or to prove, are expressed by the same word. Every trial is indeed a temptation, and tends to show the dispositions of the heart, whether holy or unholy. But God proved Abraham, not to draw him to sin, as Satan tempts. Strong faith is often exercised with strong trials, and put upon hard services. The command to offer up his son, is given in such language as makes the trial more grievous; every word here is a sword. Observe, 1. The person to be offered: Take thy son; not thy bullocks and thy lambs. How willingly would Abraham have parted with them all to redeem Isaac! Thy son; not thy servant. Thine only son; thine only son by Sarah. Take Isaac, that son whom thou lovest. 2. The place: three days' journey off; so that Abraham might have time to consider, and might deliberately obey. 3. The manner: Offer him fro a burnt-offering; not only kill his son, his Isaac, but kill him as a sacrifice; kill him with all that solemn pomp and ceremony, with which he used to offer his burnt-offerings.And he said, take now thy son,.... Directly, immediately; not thine ox, nor thy sheep, nor thy ram, nor thy lamb, nor thy servant, but thy son:

thine only son Isaac; for, though Ishmael was his son, he was a son by his maid, by his concubine, and not by his wife; Isaac was his only legitimate son, his only son by his lawful wife Sarah; the only son of the promise, his only son, in whom his seed was to be called:

whom thou lovest; on whom his affections were strongly set, being a lovely youth, a dutiful son, and the child of promise; on whom all his hope and expectation of a numerous offspring promised him was built, and in whose line the Messiah was to spring from him; even Isaac, which stands last in the original text: so that, if what had been said was not sufficient to describe him, he is expressed by name, and the description is gradually given, and the name of his son reserved to the last, that he might be by degrees prepared to receive the shocking order; every word is emphatic and striking, and enough to pierce any tender heart, and especially when told what was to be done to him. The Jews (i) represent God and Abraham in a discourse together upon this head: God said, take now thy son; says Abraham, I have two sons; take thine only son; says he, they are both only sons to their mothers; take him whom thou lovest; I love them both, replied he; then take Isaac; thus ended the debate:

and get thee into the land of Moriah; so called by anticipation, from a mountain of that name in it; the Septuagint render it, "the high land", the hill country of the land of Canaan, particularly that part of it where Jerusalem afterwards stood, which was surrounded with hills: hence Aquila, another Greek interpreter, renders it, "conspicuous", as hills and mountains are, and a mountainous country is; Onkelos and Jonathan paraphrase it, "a land of worship", of religious worship; for in this country afterwards the people of God dwelt, the city of the living God was built, and in it the temple for divine service, and that upon Mount Moriah; and the Targum of Jerusalem has it here,"to Mount Moriah;''the Jews are divided about the reason of this name, some deriving it from a word (k) which signifies to "teach", and think it is so called, because doctrine or instruction came forth from thence to Israel; others from a word (l) which signifies "fear", and so had its name because fear or terror went from thence to the nations of the world (m); but its derivation is from another word (n), which signifies to "see", and which is confirmed by what is said Genesis 22:14,

and offer him there for a burnt offering; this was dreadful work he was called to, and must be exceeding trying to him as a man, and much more as a parent, and a professor of the true religion, to commit such an action; for by this order he was to cut the throat of his son, then to rip him up, and cut up his quarters, and then to lay every piece in order upon the wood, and then burn all to ashes; and this he was to do as a religious action, with deliberation, seriousness, and devotion:

upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of; for there were several of them adjoining to, or pretty near each other, which afterwards went by different names, as Mount Sion, Deuteronomy 4:48; the hill Acra; Mount Calvary, Luke 23:33; and Mount Moriah, 2 Chronicles 3:1; supposed to be the mount intended; and so Aben Ezra says it was the place where the temple was built, and where was the threshing floor of Araunah, 2 Chronicles 3:1. Some learned men are of opinion, that the account which Sanchoniatho (o) gives of Cronus or Saturn sacrificing his own son, refers to this affair of Abraham's; his words are,"there being a pestilence and a mortality, Cronus offered up his only son a whole burnt offering to his father Ouranus;''which Porphyry (p), from the same historian, thus relates; Cronus, whom the Phoenicians call Israel, (a grandson of Abraham's, thought, through mistake, to be put for Abraham himself,) having an only son of a nymph of that country called Anobret, (which according to Bochart (q) signifies one that conceived by grace, see Hebrews 11:11;) whom therefore they called Jeoud (the same with Jehid here, an only once); so an only one is called by the Phoenicians; when the country was in great danger through war, this son, dressed in a royal habit, he offered up on an altar he had prepared. But others (r) are of a different sentiment, and cannot perceive any likeness between the two cases: however, Isaac may well be thought, in the whole of this, to be a type of the Messiah, the true and proper Son of God, his only begotten Son, the dear Son of his love, in whom all the promises are yea and amen; whom God out of his great love to men gave to be an offering and a sacrifice for their sins, and who suffered near Jerusalem, on Mount Calvary, which very probably was a part of Mount Moriah; and which, with other mountains joining in their root, though having different tops, went by that common name.

(i) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 89. 2. Pirke Eliezer, c. 31. Jarchi in loc. (k) "docuit". (l) "timuit". (m) T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 16. 1.((n) "vidit". (o) Apud Euseb. Evangel. Praeparat. p. 38. (p) Apud ib. p. 40. & l. 4. c. 15. p. 156. (q) Canaan, l. 2. c. 2. col. 711, 712. (r) See Cumberland's Sanchoniatho, p. 37, 38, 134, &c.

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