Genesis 22:10 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 22:10, NIV: "Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son."

Genesis 22:10, ESV: "Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son."

Genesis 22:10, KJV: "And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son."

Genesis 22:10, NASB: "And Abraham reached out with his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son."

Genesis 22:10, NLT: "And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice."

Genesis 22:10, CSB: "Then Abraham reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son."

What does Genesis 22:10 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

God had commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, the son he loved, as a burnt offering. Now that Isaac was bound and laid out on the altar, the moment had come. Again, Abraham's confidence in God's goodness, power, and character is so thorough that he does not appear to hesitate. He takes the knife and prepares to kill his precious and long-awaited son. This is the moment of truth—the phrasing here clearly indicates that Abraham is taking action. He is not merely "holding" the knife and waiting for something to happen. He is actively, obediently following the command given him by God.

This obedience, of course, is not based in ignorance or blind faith. Instead, Abraham is trusting God to do what He has done so many times before: work behind the scenes to do the right things, even when human beings cannot understand.

Before we read on to the next verse, in which the angel of the Lord calls out to Abraham to stop him, it's worth taking a moment to consider God's character. Was the Lord cruel to ask this of Abraham? Was God being capricious like the gods of mythology who casually tormented their human followers? Such questions require some thoughtfulness. They should not be dismissed too quickly.

God identifies Himself as love (1 John 4:8). He demonstrated His love to the universe by the sacrifice of His own Son for our sins (Romans 5:8). He is the same God who asked Abraham to do what He Himself would later do with Jesus. Given what we see in the very next verse, God always knew that Isaac would not be harmed. So, then, what was the point of all of this? God's purpose in testing Abraham's faith will be clarified in the following verses.