Genesis 22:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 22:3, NIV: "Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about."

Genesis 22:3, ESV: "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."

Genesis 22:3, KJV: "And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him."

Genesis 22:3, NASB: "So Abraham got up early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and his son Isaac; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place of which God had told him."

Genesis 22:3, NLT: "The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about."

Genesis 22:3, CSB: "So Abraham got up early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took with him two of his young men and his son Isaac. He split wood for a burnt offering and set out to go to the place God had told him about."

What does Genesis 22:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

One of the remarkable things about Genesis chapter 22 is that Abraham is not recorded as betraying any particular emotion. God's command in the previous verse was to kill Isaac and offer him as a burnt sacrifice. Rather than protesting or arguing, Abraham simply sets out to obey.

We have seen Abraham express emotion and resistance in response to God's commands before. He was very displeased with the idea of sending his firstborn son Ishmael away, but he did so when God told him to do it (Genesis 21:9–14). He laughed at the idea of Isaac's birth in his old age (Genesis 17:17), and he even expressed his emotional desire to have Ishmael "live with God" (Genesis 17:18). His lack of emotion or even any follow-up questions may be a clue that Abraham believes God will intervene to preserve Isaac's life. In any case, his actions reveal his great confidence in God.

This confidence is, in fact, the entire point of this test. Many who criticize this story describe Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of evil. Such criticism misses the foundation of Abraham's obedience: Abraham trusts God to do the right thing, even though he cannot fully understand how. Abraham did not see how God could give him a natural-born son; God gave him Isaac (Genesis 21:1–2). Abraham did not see how God could destroy Sodom and Gomorrah without killing the righteous, such as his nephew Lot; God proved His justice and still saved Lot's family (Genesis 18:23; 19:15–16).

So, Abraham's actions here are exactly the opposite of "blind faith." Abraham obeys because he has seen, first-hand, that God will do what is right, and that God's plans do not require Abraham to understand every detail. Abraham is trusting in what he already knows about God—he is not carelessly agreeing to murder his son.

So, Abraham rises early in the morning to set out on the three-day journey to Moriah. He quickly gathers what will be needed to do as the Lord has said: his donkey, two servants, wood for the fire, and Isaac. Isaac may well be a teenager by this time. The text refers to him as a "lad." Later verses will show that he is old enough to travel, to ask intelligent questions (Genesis 22:7) and to carry firewood (Genesis 22:6). Isaac's part in this is not that of a frightened, kidnapped toddler. He seems to act with just as much willingness as Abraham.