Genesis 22:16 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 22:16, NIV: "and said, 'I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son,"

Genesis 22:16, ESV: "and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son,"

Genesis 22:16, KJV: "And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:"

Genesis 22:16, NASB: "and said, 'By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son,"

Genesis 22:16, NLT: "'This is what the LORD says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that"

Genesis 22:16, CSB: "and said, "By myself I have sworn," this is the LORD's declaration: "Because you have done this thing and have not withheld your only son,"

What does Genesis 22:16 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The voice of the angel of the Lord—the Lord Himself—calls out to Abraham after stopping him from sacrificing Isaac (Genesis 22:11–12) and after Abraham has sacrificed the ram God provided instead (Genesis 22:13–14).

The Lord begins by saying that because Abraham has not withheld his only son from the Lord, the Lord has sworn "by Himself" to do what is named in the following verses. This is the only time God swears an oath to do something in the stories of the patriarchs. Why does He swear "by" Himself, or "on" Himself? Hebrews 6:13 spells it out: "For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself."

The writer of Hebrews goes on to say, "For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath" (Hebrews 6:16–17). In other words, what God is about to promise to Abraham in the following verses carries huge significance. So, God uses a human concept, for the sake of our human understanding.