Genesis 22:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 22:9, NIV: "When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood."

Genesis 22:9, ESV: "When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood."

Genesis 22:9, KJV: "And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood."

Genesis 22:9, NASB: "Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood."

Genesis 22:9, NLT: "When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood."

Genesis 22:9, CSB: "When they arrived at the place that God had told him about, Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood. He bound his son Isaac and placed him on the altar on top of the wood."

What does Genesis 22:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

As we read through the story told in Genesis 22, we come very close to the moment we have been dreading. Abraham has been commanded by God to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac (Genesis 22:1–2). Abraham has obeyed, thus far, seemingly under the assumption that God has some greater plan or purpose in mind (Genesis 22:5). Abraham and Isaac arrive at the place God has shown to Abraham for the sacrifice. Abraham builds the altar and lays out the wood on top of it.

Then he prepares to do, but for the command of God, what would be unthinkable. He binds Isaac with a rope and lays him on the altar. Did Isaac protest? Did he struggle? Or did he stand obediently without resisting and allow himself to be tied and laid out? Did either Isaac or Abraham cry? We're not told any of these details, but what we do know of the story strongly suggests that Isaac was a willing participant. He's old enough to ask questions (Genesis 22:7), and to carry firewood (Genesis 22:6). He's alone with an elderly man (Genesis 22:5). Since he could have easily run away from or overpowered Abraham, it makes the most sense to assume Isaac allowed himself to be bound. Of course, Scripture does not say this directly, so we cannot be absolutely certain.

What we know for sure is that Abraham continued to demonstrate his unshaken faith in God by willingly obeying this command. He was clearly passing God's test of his faith, showing that his love for the Lord was greater than his love for his son. Even though he does not understand, Abraham still obeys—this is the definition of "faith," which in a biblical context means "trust."

The other thing we know is that Isaac here serves as a picture of the very action taken by Jesus about two thousand years from this moment. Jesus, the Son, willingly allowed Himself to be sacrificed for the sins of the world by His Father God. As Isaac did, Jesus carried the wood that was to be used in His own execution. Jesus, however, actually died as the sacrificial lamb, raised back to life as Abraham may have imagined Isaac would be (Hebrews 11:19).