Genesis 22:1-19 . OFFERING ISAAC.
1. God did tempt Abraham--not incite to sin ( James 1:13 ), but try, prove--give occasion for the development of his faith ( 1 Peter 1:7 ).
and he said, . . . Here I am--ready at a moment's warning for God's service.
2. Take now thy son, &c.--Every circumstance mentioned was calculated to give a deeper stab to the parental bosom. To lose his only son, and by an act of his own hand, too!--what a host of conflicting feelings must the order have raised! But he heard and obeyed without a murmur ( Galatians 1:16 , Luke 14:26 ).
3. Abraham rose . . . early, &c.--That there might be no appearance of delay or reluctance on his part, he made every preparation for the sacrifice before setting out--the materials, the knife, and the servants to convey them. From Beer-sheba to Moriah, a journey of two days, he had the painful secret pent up in his bosom. So distant a place must have been chosen for some important reason. It is generally thought that this was one the hills of Jerusalem, on which the Great Sacrifice was afterwards offered.
4. on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, &c.--Leaving the servants at the foot [ Genesis 22:5 ], the father and son ascended the hill, the one bearing the knife, and the other the wood for consuming the sacrifice [ Genesis 22:6 ]. But there was no victim; and to the question so naturally put by Isaac [ Genesis 22:7 ], Abraham contented himself by replying, "My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering." It has been supposed that the design of this extraordinary transaction was to show him, by action instead of words, the way in which all the families of the earth should be blessed; and that in his answer to Isaac, he anticipated some substitution. It is more likely that his words were spoken evasively to his son in ignorance of the issue, yet in unbounded confidence that that son, though sacrificed, would, in some miraculous way, be restored ( Hebrews 11:19 ).
9. Abraham built an altar, &c.--Had not the patriarch been sustained by the full consciousness of acting in obedience to God's will, the effort would have been too great for human endurance; and had not Isaac, then upwards of twenty years of age displayed equal faith in submitting, this great trial could not have gone through.
11, 12. the angel . . . called, &c.--The sacrifice was virtually offered--the intention, the purpose to do it, was shown in all sincerity and fulness. The Omniscient witness likewise declared His acceptance in the highest terms of approval; and the apostle speaks of it as actually made ( Hebrews 11:17 , 2:21 ).
13-19. Abraham lifted up his eyes . . . and behold . . . a ram, &c.--No method was more admirably calculated to give the patriarch a distinct idea of the purpose of grace than this scenic representation: and hence our Lord's allusion to it ( John 8:56 ).