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Book Of Genesis – Lesson #16

Lesson 16:  Genesis  22-23    

Read Genesis   22  (Opens in new window)

Perhaps no scene in the Bible except Calvary itself is more poignant than this one, and none gives a clearer foreshadowing of the death of God’s only, well-beloved Son on the cross. The supreme test of Abraham’s faith came when God ordered him to offer up Isaac as a burnt offering in the land of Moriah. Actually God had no intention of allowing Abraham to go through with it; He has always been opposed to human sacrifice. Moriah is the mountain range where Jerusalem is situated (2 Chron. 3:1) and also where Calvary stood. The root meaning of the name “Moriah” is very interesting: From H7200 and H3050; seen of Jah;

H7200    ראה   ra’ah  A primitive root; to see, literally or figuratively (in numerous applications, direct and implied, transitively, intransitively and causatively): – advise self, appear, approve, behold, X certainly, consider, discern, (make to) enjoy, have experience, gaze, take heed, X indeed, X joyfully, lo, look (on, one another, one on another, one upon another, out, up, upon), mark, meet, X be near, perceive, present, provide, regard, (have) respect, (fore-, cause to, let) see (-r, -m, one another), shew (self), X sight of others, (e-) spy, stare, X surely, X think, view, visions.

H3050   יהּ    yahh   Contracted for H3068, and meaning the same; Jah, the sacred name: – Jah, the Lord, most vehement.

God’s words, “your only son Isaac, whom you love,” must have pierced Abraham’s heart like ever-deepening wounds. Isaac was Abraham’s only son in the sense that he was the only son of promise—the unique son, the son of miraculous birth.

The first occurrence of a word in the Bible often sets the pattern for its usage throughout Scripture. Love (Gen. 22:2) and “worship” (Gen. 22:5) are first found here. Abraham’s love for his son is a faint picture of God’s love for the Lord Jesus. The sacrifice of Isaac was a picture of the greatest act of worship—the Savior’s self-sacrifice to accomplish the will of God.

“Abraham, Abraham” is the first of ten name duplications found in the Bible. Seven are spoken by God to man (Gen. 22:11; Gen. 46:2; Ex. 3:4; 1 Sam. 3:10; Luke 10:41; Luke 22:31; Acts 9:4). The other three are Matthew 7:21;  Matthew 7:22;  Matthew 23:37; Mark 15:34. They introduce matters of special importance. The Angel of the Lord (v. 11) was God (v. 12).

To offer Isaac was surely the supreme test of Abraham’s faith. God had promised to give Abraham a numberless posterity through his son. Isaac could have been as much as twenty-five at this time, and he was unmarried. If Abraham slew him, how could the promise be fulfilled? According to Hebrews 11:19, Abraham believed that even if he slew his son, God would raise him from the dead. This faith was remarkable because there was no recorded case of resurrection up to this time in the world’s history. Notice his faith also in Gen. 22:5 “the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” Abraham was first justified by faith (Genesis 15:6), then justified (vindicated) by works here (see James 2:21). His faith was the means of his salvation, while his works were the proof of the reality of his faith. When Isaac asked, “Where is the lamb?”, his father replied, “God will provide for Himself the lamb.” This promise was not ultimately fulfilled by the ram of verse 13 but by the Lamb of God (John 1:29).

There are two outstanding symbols of Christ in this chapter. Isaac is the first: an only son, loved by his father, willing to do his father’s will, received back from the dead in a figure. The ram is the second: an innocent victim died as a substitute for another, its blood was shed, and it was a burnt offering wholly consumed for God. Someone has said that, in providing the ram as a substitute for Isaac, “God spared Abraham’s heart a pang He would not spare His own.” The Angel of the Lord in verses 11 and 15, as in all the Old Testament is the Lord Jesus Christ. Abraham named the place The-Lord-Will-Provide (Jehovah-jireh) (v. 14). This is one of the seven compound names for God in the Old Testament. The others are:

Jehovah-Rophekha—“The Lord who heals you” (Ex. 15:26).

Jehovah-Nissi—“The Lord my banner” (Ex. 17:8-15).

Jehovah-Shalom—“The Lord our peace” (Judg. 6:24).

Jehovah-Roi—“The Lord my Shepherd” (Ps. 23:1).

Jehovah-Tsidkenu—“The Lord our righteousness” (Jer. 23:6).

Jehovah-Shammah—“The Lord is present” (Ezek. 48:35).

The Lord swore by Himself because He couldn’t swear by anyone greater (Heb. 6:13). God’s promise here, confirmed by His oath, includes the blessing of the Gentile nations through Christ (see Gal. 3:16). In verse 17 God adds to the already vast blessing promised: Abraham’s seed would possess the gate of his enemies. This means that his descendants would “occupy the place of authority over those who would oppose them. The capture of the city gate meant the fall of the city itself.”

Abraham’s brother Nahor had twelve sons, whereas Abraham had only two—Ishmael and Isaac. How this must have tested Abraham’s faith concerning God’s promise of descendants as the stars of the sky! It may have prompted him to send Eliezer in search of a wife for Isaac (chap. 24). Notice the name Rebekah in Gen. 22:23.

Read Genesis 23  (Opens in new window)

When Sarah died at one hundred and twenty-seven years, Abraham bargained with the Hittite inhabitants of Hebron for the purchase of the cave of Machpelah as a burial place—his only purchase of real estate during his long life of pilgrimage. The passage gives a priceless description of the bargaining that is so typical in Eastern lands. At first, the Hittites suggested that Abraham choose any one of their burial places. With overflowing courtesy, Abraham refused and insisted on paying full price for a cave owned by Ephron. At first Ephron offered not just the cave but the entire field as an outright gift, but Abraham understood that this was just a polite gesture. The owner really had no intention of giving it away. When Abraham countered by insisting on his desire to purchase it, Ephron suggested a price of four hundred shekels of silver, pretending that this was a great bargain. Actually it was an extortionate price, and ordinarily the buyer would have continued to haggle. So it was a surprise to everyone when Abraham agreed to Ephron’s first asking price. Abraham didn’t want to be indebted to an unbeliever, and neither should we.

The cave of Machpelah later became the burial place of Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Leah. The traditional location is now the site of a Moslem mosque.