And it came to pass after these things
Recorded in the preceding chapter: according to the Talmudists F2, the following affair was transacted quickly after the weaning of Isaac, when he was about five years old, which is the opinion of some, as Aben Ezra on ( Genesis 22:4 ) ; makes mention of; but that is an age when it can hardly be thought he should be able to carry such a load of wood as was sufficient to make a fire to consume a burnt offering, ( Genesis 22:6 ) ; the age of thirteen, which he fixes upon, is more likely: Josephus F3 says, that Isaac was twenty five years of age; and in this year of his age Bishop Usher F4 places this transaction, twenty years after the weaning of him, in A. M. 2133, and before Christ 1871; and near to this is the computation of a Jewish chronologer F5, who makes Isaac to be at this time twenty six years of age; but some make him much older: according to the Targum of Jonathan, he was at this time thirty six years old; and it is the more generally received opinion of the Jewish writers F6 that he was and with whom the Arabic writers F7 agree: so that this affair, after related, was thirty years after the weaning of Isaac and the expulsion of Ishmael, supposing Isaac to be then five years old. But, however this be, what came to pass was after many promises of a son had been given him, and those fulfilled; and after many blessings had been bestowed upon him; and when he seemed to be well settled in the land of the Philistines, having entered into an alliance with the king of the country; his family in peace, and his son Isaac, the son of the promise, grown up and a hopeful youth; the first appearance of which seemed to threaten the destruction of all his comforts, hopes, and expectations; and it was so, that God did tempt Abraham;
not to sin, as Satan does, for God tempts no man, nor can he be tempted in this sense; and, had Abraham slain his son, it would have been no sin in him, it being by the order of God, who is the Lord of life, and the sovereign disposer of it; but he tempted him, that is, he tried him, to prove him, and to know his faith in him, his fear of him, his love to him, and cheerful obedience to his commands; not in order to know these himself, which he was not ignorant of, but to make them known to others, and that Abraham's faith might be strengthened yet more and more, as in the issue it was. The Jewish writers F8 observe, that Abraham was tempted ten times, and that this was the tenth and last temptation: and said unto him, Abraham:
calling him by his name he well knew, and by that name he had given him, to signify that he should be the father of many nations, ( Genesis 17:5 ) ; and yet was going to require of him to slay his only son, and offer him a sacrifice to him: and he said, behold, [here] I [am];
signifying that he heard his voice, and was ready to obey his commands, be they what they would.
F2 T. Bab. Sanhedrin: fol. 89. 2.
F3 Antiqu. l. 1. c. 13. sect. 2.
F4 Annales Vet. Test. p. 10.
F5 Ganz Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 6. 1.
F6 Zohar in Gen. fol. 68. 2. & 74. 4. & 76. 2. Targ. Hieros. in Exod. xii. 42. Praefat. Echa Rabbat. fol. 40. 2. Pirke Eliezer, c. 31. Seder Olam Rabba, c. 1. p. 3. Juchasin, fol. 9. 1. Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 3. 1.
F7 Patricides, p. 19. Elmacinus, p. 34. Apud Hottinger. Smegma, p. 327
F8 Targum. Hieros. in loc. Pirke Eliezer, c. 31.