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Genesis Chapter Twenty-Two


I. Content of the Chapter


God Tested Abraham

A.  God asked Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering (v.1-2);

B.  Abraham went to the place of which God had told him (v.3-4);

C.  And the father and the son went together (v.5-8);

D.  God hindered Abraham from slaying Isaac (v.9-12);

E.  They experienced “the-Lord-Will-Provide”(v.13-14);

F.  He was blessed and returned (v.15-19);

G.  The genealogy of the brother of Abraham, Nahor (v.20-24);


II. Verse by Verse Commentary


Gen. 22:1Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”

YLT: “And it cometh to pass after these things that God hath tried Abraham, and saith unto him, `Abraham;' and he saith, `Here I.'”

Literal Meaning: after these things”: after the birth of Isaac and after Ishmael was cast out and after he had made the covenant with Abimelech;

  “God tested Abraham”, it does not mean the omniscient God needs to know the heart of Abraham by test, but that the real situation of the one who is tested will be manifested so that he shall know himself more deeply.

Spiritual Meaning: this verse shows us the meaning of “offering”:

  1. “After these things”, it is after Abraham had experienced the faithfulness and provision of God, which shows that offering means offering what is obtained from God to God.

  2. “God tested Abraham”, God tests the genuineness of faith in and love to Him by offering.

  3. “And said to him, “Abraham!””, offering is initiated by the calling of God.

  4. “And he said, “Here I am.”” Offering is the man’s response to God’s calling.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) God does not test man flippantly. Only when we are able to bear the test, will God start to test us.

  2) Whether we love the blessing of God or the source of blessings, and whether we love the gifts of God or God Himself will be manifested sooner or later.

  3) Our faith will be more precious than gold after trial (1Pet. 1:7).

  4) We have to live before God so that we are enabled to respond to the calling of God at once.


Gen. 22:2Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

YLT: “And He saith, `Take, I pray thee, thy son, thine only one, whom thou hast loved, even Isaac, and go for thyself unto the land of Moriah, and cause him to ascend there for a burnt-offering on one of the mountains of which I speak unto thee.'”

Meaning of Words: Moriah”: God prepares, God looks upon; “offer”: life up, raise; “burnt offering”: the rising offering;

The Background: “Moriah”, it was near Jerusalem, and the king Solomon built the holy temple here (2Chr. 3:1). Golgotha where he Lord Jesus was crucified was also close to Moriah.

Literal Meaning: “burnt offering”: all the sacrifices should be burnt and the odour will be offered to God, so the burnt offering is utterly offered to God. Here God asked Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering, which did not mean God whom we believe in is just like the false god Moloch who asked men to give their seed to him (Lev. 20:1-5). The real purpose of God is not slaying Isaac (see v.12), but proving the faith of Abraham in God.

  “Take… go… offer”, the three commanding words show that the detailed and precise commands of God.

Spiritual Meaning: this verse shows “what to offer” and “how to offer”:

1.    Take now your son, it is not offering something else, but what God has given to us by promise.

2.    “Your only son Isaac, what we have to offer is our only hope.

3.    “Whom you love, to offer what we are reluctant to offer;

4.    “And go to the land of Moriahon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you”, offering is not according to our own interest or election, but according to the will of God (2Cor. 8:5).

5.    And offer him there as a burnt offering”, offering means sacrificing our bodies to be a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1) and henceforth living to the Lord who died for us and has been raised, not to ourselves (2Cor. 5:15).

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) All spiritual experiences are based on “the word of God”.

  2) It is the word of God rather than human words that counts.

  3) If we believers walk on the foundation of the word of God, we will be strengthened and established. However, if we walk according to our feeling, we will be unstable and powerless when we have no feeling.

  4) Before everything is offered to God, we are the “owner” of everything and have the utter authority upon everything. However, once it is offered to God, it is of God.

  5) It is God that rewards Isaac to Abraham, but now He comes to ask for Isaac back, through which God shows us whether we have love His gifts more than Himself (John 21:15).

  6) The Lord does not ask for us what we do not love, but what we love. God takes what we love most to prove His irreplaceable position in our hearts.

  7) If we love our parents or children more than the Lord, we are unworthy of the Lord’s disciples (Matt. 10:37).

  8) It is all in vain if there is Isaac, but no God. Everything goes well if there is God, but no Isaac. If we do not regard God as all, we will be unwilling to offer my “Isaac”.


Gen. 22:3So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.

YLT: “And Abraham riseth early in the morning, and saddleth his ass, and taketh two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and he cleaveth the wood of the burnt-offering, and riseth and goeth unto the place of which God hath spoken to him.”

Literal Meaning: concerning the demand of the previous verse, Abraham did not doubt or argue for him, but kept it silently. This is a precious point of him.

  “Rose early in the morning”, probably, Abraham was called to offer Isaac during the night, so here it indicated his immediate obedience to the word of God. This was also a manifest token of his pure faith in God.

  “Saddled … took … split”, it showed that he had made complete preparation.  

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) Once believers have received the word of God, we have to keep without any delay (Ps. 119:60). If we hesitate slightly or see the environmental elements, our heart may be hardened.

  2) To the commandment of God, we can only obey without any hesitation instead of arguing with God or taking counsel with flesh and blood (Gal. 1:15-16). Otherwise, our service and testimony will suffer loss.

  3) When a man has clearly known the will of God, he needs immediate response rather than prayer. Any prayer for the purpose of bargaining or delay is disobedience.

  4) “Faith and obedience” are the secrets of Abraham’s victory. Faith is the source of his obedience, and obedience is due to his faith in God (see v.8).


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

YLT: “On the third day -- Abraham lifteth up his eyes, and seeth the place from afar;”

Literal Meaning: then on the third day”, it indicated that they spend more than two days on the way, and this was a kind of spiritual trial to Abraham.

Spiritual Meaning: then on the third day”, after Abraham obeyed the word of God, he suffered by the pain of “losing his beloved son” and got his beloved son three days later (see v.12-13), which typified the resurrection of the Lord Jesus after His crucifixion (Matt. 16:21).

  “Lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off”, it typified that he had seen afar off and was confident that God would make man raised from the dead (Heb. 11:19).

  This verse also shows that those who offer the sacrifice to God should have an insight of resurrection ---- yield yourselves to God as alive from among dead (Rom. 6:13).

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) Faith is not out of impulsion, but shall undergo the way of “three days” ---- such way requires a kind of enduring faith.

  2) He who has spiritual sight can always look into the distance of the purpose of God ---- press on towards the goal (Phil. 3:14).


Gen. 22:5And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”

YLT: “and Abraham saith unto his young men, `Remain by yourselves here with the ass, and I and the youth go yonder and worship, and turn back unto you.'”

Literal Meaning: Abraham believed that God would make Isaac rise again after he was offered (Heb. 11:17-19). Therefore, his words here were spoken in faith.

  “Lad”: a teenager. Isaac here might be at least in teens or even twenty or thirty, so he could bear the wood of the burnt offering.

Spiritual Meaning: stay here with the donkey”, “servant” and “donkey” symbolize our service works. When we offer ourselves to God, let us put aside the works of service.

  The lad and I will go yonder and worship, let us worship with a pure heart.

“And we will come back to you”, such offering will lead to better and purer service.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) The purpose of our offering is to serve God (Rom. 12:1), but many believers may make easily the position of God replaced by the position of service. 

  2) The offering finally makes us serve God in the newness of resurrection.

  3) Whatever may hinder our offering shall be reserved at that foot of the mountain. If we take them, they will ultimately become our troubles.

  4) The object of worship is the Lord Himself. He who is really godly and loves the Lord does not set his sight upon works, but upon the Lord.


Gen. 22:6So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together.

YLT: “And Abraham taketh the wood of the burnt-offering, and placeth on Isaac his son, and he taketh in his hand the fire, and the knife; and they go on both of them together.”

Spiritual Meaning: took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son”, it typified that Jesus Christ bore the cross to Golgotha (John 19:17).

“Fire and a knife” symbolize the righteous judgment of God.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) Offering is not a trivial matter----- “knife” shows that we have to cut off something when we offer us to God; “fire” shows that something is burnt and removed in the offering.

  2) “The two of them went together”, it shows that offering is not a unilateral action of believers, but an action in which God also partakes ---- God initiates and man responds to Him and God perfects.


Gen. 22:7But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

YLT: “And Isaac speaketh unto Abraham his father, and saith, `My father,' and he saith, `Here I, my son.' And he saith, `Lo, the fire and the wood, and where the lamb for a burnt-offering?'”

Literal Meaning: probably, Isaac at this time had understood what would happen. The answer of Isaac was bound to make Abraham suffered in heart.

Enlightenment in the Word: offering must make us painful in heart. The flippant offering that does not touch our heart may also not touch God’s heart.


Gen. 22:8And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.

YLT: “and Abraham saith, `God doth provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt-offering, my son;' and they go on both of them together.”

Meaning of Words: “provide for Himself”: see Himself;

Literal Meaning: God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering”, Abraham prophesied in faith, for he believed God would make Isaac raised again (Heb. 11:17-19). Therefore, what he offered was what God had provided.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) “God will provide for Himself”, it is the hope of believers who are in hopeless situations.

  2) The Lord Jesus is the Lamb of God (John 1:29). He died for all, then all died, and He died for all that those who live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again (2Cor. 5:14-15).

  3) The Lord Jesus is always with God the Father (John 16:32). Therefore, when we abide in Christ, God is with us (Matt. 1:23).


Gen. 22:9Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood.

YLT: “And they come in unto the place of which God hath spoken to him, and there Abraham buildeth the altar, and arrangeth the wood, and bindeth Isaac his son, and placeth him upon the altar above the wood;”

Meaning of Words: “bind”: bind the four limbs of the sacrifice;

Literal Meaning: “bound Isaac his son”, at this time, Isaac was at least a teenager and was able to bear the wood of the burnt offering (see v.6). And Abraham was an old man more than one hundred and ten years. Therefore, Isaac did not struggle but was ready to be bound by his elder father. There is also someone who infers that Isaac was more than thirty years then, which was just the same age as that of the Lord Jesus when He was crucified.

Spiritual Meaning: Isaac did not struggle or resist, who was just led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth (Is. 53:7; Acts 8:32). Therefore, this verse typifies the Lord Jesus was obedient to the point of death (Phil. 2:8).

  This verse also reveals us the example of offering:

1.    The place of which God had told him”, it is a “right” position ---- the position of offering is not some work or organization.

2.    “Built an altar”, the altar typifies the cross. Offering requires the knowledge and experience of the cross.

3.    “Bound”, he who is offered will not be free any more.  

4.    Laid him on the altar, upon the wood”, it shows that he commits himself to God and is willing to die for God and lives to God henceforth.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) Like father, like son! The father who obeys God edifies the son who obeys the father.

  2) Even though many believers have the actions of offering, their places (motivations) of offering are not right.

  3) No altar, no offering. In the six chapter of Romans, dying of the cross and living with the Lord (Rom. 6:6-11) are previous to the action of offering (Rom. 6:12-13).

  4) He who is offered to God should have a clear account before God so that he shall not repent again.


Gen. 22:10And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

YLT: “and Abraham putteth forth his hand, and taketh the knife -- to slaughter his son.”

Literal Meaning: stretched out his hand and took the knife”, it shows that Abraham did not pretend to offer Isaac, for he put it into practice and took the final action.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) Let us not walk in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth (1John 3:18).

  2) It is the one who offers that takes the knife ---- do not show compassion or pity to ourselves. 


Gen. 22:11But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.”

YLT: “And the messenger of Jehovah calleth unto him from the heavens, and saith, `Abraham, Abraham;' and he saith, `Here I;'”

Literal Meaning: the Angel of the Lord”, it is God Himself, for in verse twelve He said “you have not withheld your son from Me”. Therefore, here it is God that speaks.

  God did not hinder Abraham until he stretched out his hand and took the knife, for God knew that the hand that was courageous to take the knife would not hesitate afterwards.

Enlightenment in the Word: the deliverance and help of God may come at the final moment.


Gen. 22:12And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

YLT: “and He saith, `Put not forth thine hand unto the youth, nor do anything to him, for now I have known that thou art fearing God, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only one, from Me.'”

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) God does not want to see that we kill the precious life given by Him, so believers should not commit suicide.

  2) We are free enough to have the desire to depart and be with the Lord. However, if God allows us to remain in the flesh, it is still needful (Phil. 1:23-24).

  3) The purpose of God’s testing Abraham is whether he really “fears God” or fears to sin against God. The attitude of believers’ living on the earth should be “in deep fear of sinning against God”.

  4) If we really fear to be against God, we will not withhold anything for ourselves. Whatever God asks for us, we will be willing to offer to Him.

  5) If man loves anything more than God, he does not fear God. If one withholds something from God, he does not regard Him as God.

  6) God demands that He has utter priority over the life of those who are of Him. If we fail to honor the absolute priority and authority of God over us, we have committed idolatry.

  7) Many believers say they believe in God and fear God and serve God. In fact, they live for themselves. 

8) The value of offering does not depend on what we have offered, but on what we have remained. Even though we have offered 99.99%, it is still incomplete in the sight of God.

9) God cherishes the father’s bowel of Abraham, so His test is enough. He will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able (1Cor. 10:13).


Gen. 22:13Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.

YLT: “And Abraham lifteth up his eyes, and looketh, and lo, a ram behind, seized in a thicket by its horns; and Abraham goeth, and taketh the ram, and causeth it to ascend for a burnt-offering instead of his son;”

Literal Meaning: there behind him was a ram”, the horn of ram was long and curl, so the ram was caught by the thicket and could not get free.

Spiritual Meaning: “a ram” typifies that the Lord Jesus is “the lamb of God”, who was sacrificed for the sins of the world (John 1:29; 1John2:1-2).

  Caught in a thicket by its horns”, “the horns of the ram” typify the strong divinity and power of the Lord Jesus. “Caught…by its horns”, it typifies that He was willing to be restricted in His humanity and did not come down from the cross (Matt. 27:40)

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) Offering apparently causes costs and losses, but in fact it is a secret for believers to be supplied with the grace of God.

  2) Only those who are willing to stand on the position of offering will partake in the full provision of God by grace.


Gen. 22:14And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

YLT: “and Abraham calleth the name of that place `Jehovah-Jireh,' because it is said this day in the mount, `Jehovah doth provide.'”

Meaning of Words: “will provide”: foresee, prepare;

Literal Meaning: “the-Lord-Will-Provide”, God Himself comes to be the provision of man by grace.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) “The-Lord-Will-Provide”, it is the word of the one who has ever been the mountain of offering. Only those who have experienced offering are able to bear the witness that “the-Lord-Will-Provide”.

  2) It is one thing of knowing that “the-Lord-Will-Provide” and another thing of experiencing and seeing that “the-Lord-Will-Provide”. That “the-Lord-Will-Provide” is merely a doctrine. Only those who obey God by faith will personally experiencing that “the-Lord-Will-Provide”.

  3) Abraham sees the ram God has provided for him in the real process of offering. Only the one who is willing to offer himself to God will truly see the provision of God in spirit.

  4) “The mountain of Jehovah” is “the mountain of Moriah”, which means “God looks upon and God prepares”. When man has received the provision of God, he has really seen God Himself.

  5) The more we enjoy the provision of God, the more clearly will we be enabled to see things of God.


Gen. 22:15Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven,

YLT: “And the messenger of Jehovah calleth unto Abraham a second time from the heavens,”


Gen. 22:16and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son

YLT: “and saith, `By Myself I have sworn -- the affirmation of Jehovah -- that because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only one --”

Literal Meaning: here it proves again that “the Angel of Jehovah” (v.15) is “Jehovah” Himself.

  Since God could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself (Heb. 6:13). And the purpose of God’s swearing is to show more abundantly the immutability of His counsel (Heb. 6:17).

Enlightenment in the Word: the non-reservation offering of believers most pleases God’s heart, which makes God even willing to be restricted by His swearing and pour down His blessings.


Gen. 22:17blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.

YLT: “that blessing I bless thee, and multiplying I multiply thy seed as stars of the heavens, and as sand which on the sea-shore; and thy seed doth possess the gate of his enemies;”

Literal Meaning: “possess the gate of their enemies”, if the gate of the enemies is possessed, the whole city is possessed.

Spiritual Meaning: “the stars of the heaven”: Christians who are justified by faith are descendants of Abraham, who manifest the glory of the Lord and shine in the darkness and bear witness to the Lord.

  The sand which is on the seashore”, the people of Israel, namely, the earthly descendants of Abraham;

  Shall possess the gate of their enemies”, “gate” in the Bible refers to a kind of power. Here, it means: 1) the church that is built will overcome the power of the Hades (Matt. 16:18); 2) If the people of Israel turn to God, they will be delivered from the hand of their enemies (Neh. 9:27).

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) God tests us to make us blessed, not suffer loss (Deut. 8:16).

  2) The greatest blessing of God to man is that He has gifted His only beloved Son to us.

  3) Abraham offered his only son Isaac, but he obtained numerous descendants. Whoever offers his grain to God and lets the grains fall into the ground and die will receive countless grains in resurrection (John 12:24).

  4) Only those who have offered them to God have the right and position to deal with the enemies.


Gen. 22:18In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.

YLT: “and blessed themselves in thy seed have all nations of the earth, because that thou hast hearkened to My voice.'”

Literal Meaning: “your seed”, the word seed is in the singular, which refers to one man, namely, Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:16). In Christ all the nation shall be blessed.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) Offering means “God speaks and man obeys”.

  2) He who keeps the word of God pleases God and begets godly descendants, who makes not only himself but also all the nations blessed.


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

YLT: “And Abraham turneth back unto his young men, and they rise and go together unto Beer-Sheba; and Abraham dwelleth in Beer-Sheba.”


Gen. 22:20Now it came to pass after these things that it was told Abraham, saying, “Indeed Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor:

YLT: “And it cometh to pass after these things that it is declared to Abraham, saying, `Lo, Milcah hath borne, even she, sons to Nahor thy brother:”

Meaning of Words: Milcah”: queen, counsel; “Nahor”: deep sleep;


Gen. 22:21Huz his firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram.”

YLT: “Huz his first-born, and Buz his brother; and Kemuel father of Aram,”

Meaning of Words: Huz”: stable, fat; “Buz”: despise; “Aram”: high land; “Kemuel”: the assembly of God;


Gen. 22:22Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel

YLT: “and Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel;”

Meaning of Words: Chesed”: as a man out of dust, he who augurs; “Hazo”: vision; “Pildash”: fire; “Jidlaph”: weep; “Bethuel”: dwelling-place of God, God seperates;

Literal Meaning: from verse twenty to twenty-four, the genealogy of Nahor is recorded, which is a hint of chapter twenty-four that Isaac would marry Rebekah. The theme of Genesis chapter twenty-two is “God provides”. Therefore, this genealogy shows that God prepares the wife of Isaac, Rebekah. That is to say, God has prepared the mother of His elect.

Enlightenment in the Word: Rebekah typifies the church ---- the bride God has prepared for His Son.


Gen. 22:23And Bethuel begot Rebekah.[c] These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham’s brother.

YLT: “and Bethuel hath begotten Rebekah;' these eight hath Milcah borne to Nahor, Abraham's brother;”


Gen. 22:24His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore Tebah, Gaham, Thahash, and Maachah.

YLT: “and his concubine, whose name Reumah, she also hath borne Tebah, and Gaham, and Tahash, and Maachah.”

Meaning of Words: Reumah”: high; “Tebah”: slaughterer; “Gaham”: burn, flame, brown; “Thahash”: red, badger; “Maachah”: oppress;


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


Types of Abraham and Isaac

A.  Abraham typifies God the Father:

1.  Not withhold his son (v.2, 12, 16; Rom. 8:32);

2.  His only son (v.2, 12, 16; John 3:16);

3.  His beloved son (v.2; Matt. 3:17)

B.  Isaac typifies Jesus Christ:

1.  He bore the wood of the burnt offering ---- bear his cross (v.6; John 19:7);

2.  Let his father bind him ---- be willing to give his life (v.9; John 10:18);

3.  Be put on the altar ---- obey to the point of death (v.9-10; Phil. 2:8);

4.  As if he was raised even from the dead on the third day ---- rise on the third day (v.4, 12; Heb. 11:19; Luke 24:7);


The Degree of Abraham’s Obedience to God (v.3)

A.  Do not reason with God;

B.  Do not defend for himself;

C.  Do not entreat a favor of Isaac;

D.  Do not consult with Sarah;

E.  Act immediately in the morning;


Preparations of God

A.  Isaac---- the sacrifice God has prepared (v.2);

B.  Moriah ---- the place God has prepared (v.2);

C.  Abraham ---- look upon the preparation of God by faith (v.4-8);

D.  The-Lord-Will-Provide ----experience the provision of God (v.13-14);

E.  Promise of great blessings ---- obtain the blessings God has prepared (v.15-18);

F.   Rebekah ---- the bride God had prepared ---- through whom God’s promise is fulfilled (v.22);


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

Translated by Mary Zhou