Genesis 22:4

4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar.

Genesis 22:4 Meaning and Commentary

Genesis 22:4

Then on the third day
After he had received the command from God, and from his setting out on his journey; for he had now travelled two days, Mount Moriah being forty miles from Beersheba, where Abraham dwelt F19; or, as others compute it, forty: Hebron F20 was twenty miles from Beersheba, and Jerusalem twenty two from Hebron; and to travel twenty miles a day on foot, as Isaac and the servants seem to have done, there being but one ass among them, was far enough in those hot countries. Now all this while Abraham had time to reconsider things in his mind, and deliberate thoroughly what he was going about; and by proceeding in it, after he had such leisure to revolve things in his mind, it appears that he was satisfied it was not an illusion, but an oracle of God he was going to obey; and that he did not do this rashly and hastily, and that his faith and obedience were sufficiently tried, and found genuine. The Jews F21 take great notice of this third day, and compare the passage with ( Hosea 6:2 ) ; and which they interpret of the third day of the resurrection; and the deliverance of Isaac on this third day was doubtless typical of Christ's resurrection from the dead on the third day; for from the time that Abraham had the command to offer up his son, he was reckoned no other by him than as one dead, from whence he received him in a figure on this third day, ( Hebrews 11:19 ) :

Abraham lift up his eyes, and saw the place afar off;
where he was to offer his Son. Baal Hatturim says, the word "place", by gematry, signifies Jerusalem: it seems by this, that as God had signified to Abraham that he would tell him of the place, and show it to him, where he was to sacrifice, so that he gave him a signal by which he might know it, which some of the Jewish writers F23 say was a cloud upon the mount; with which agrees the Targum of Jonathan,

``and Abraham lift up his eyes and saw the cloud of glory smoking upon the mountain, and he knew it afar off.''

And others say F24, he saw the glory of the divine Majesty standing upon the mount, in a pillar of fire, reaching from earth to heaven; and they further observe, that the place where he was, when he saw this, was Zophim, a place not far from Jerusalem; and from hence, when the city and temple were built, a full view might be taken of them F25, from whence it had its name.


F19 Bunting's Travels, p. 57.
F20 Reland. Palestina illustrata, tom. 2. p. 620.
F21 Bereshit Rabba, sect. 56. fol. 49. 3.
F23 Bereshit Rabba, sect. 56. fol. 49. 3. Jarchi in loc.
F24 Pirke Eliezer, ut supra. (c. 31.)
F25 Gloss. in T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 49. 2. Schulchan Aruch, par. 1. Crach Chayim, c. 3. sect. 6.

Genesis 22:4 In-Context

2 He said, "Take 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."
3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar.
5 Then Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you."
6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together.
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