What does Genesis 22:10 mean?
ESV: Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.
NIV: Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
NASB: And Abraham reached out with his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.
CSB: Then Abraham reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.
NLT: And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice.
KJV: And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
NKJV: And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Genesis 22:1–19 takes place over the course of a few days, when Isaac is perhaps a teenager. God commands Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son as a burnt offering. Abraham sets out to obey without hesitation, acting in complete trust that God, somehow, will make all things right. Abraham stops the sacrifice only when the Lord intervenes. For his deep trust and obedience, the Lord renews and emphasizes His blessing on Abraham and his offspring, as well as promising to bless all nations through Abraham's descendants.
Chapter Summary:
In a test of Abraham's faith and obedience, God commands Abraham to do a terrible thing: kill and offer his son Isaac, whom he loves, as a burnt offering. Abraham sets out to obey without hesitation, having finally learned to trust God's goodness over his own misunderstandings. Instead of allowing the boy to be sacrificed, the Lord calls out to Abraham moments before he kills Isaac, laying bound on an altar. Because of Abraham's obedience, God renews and emphasizes His promises of blessing, multiplied offspring, and victory over future enemies.
Chapter Context:
In the previous chapter, the long-promised Isaac was finally born to Sarah and Abraham, while Abraham's other beloved son, Ishmael, was sent away to be cared for by God apart from them. Now God tests Abraham's faith and obedience by commanding him to offer his precious son Isaac as a burnt offering. Abraham sets out to obey without hesitation, stopping only when the Lord cries out to him. For Abraham's obedience, God renews and emphasizes the blessing on him and his offspring. This marks the beginning of the end of Abraham's story, as the book of Genesis transitions to focus on Isaac and his descendants.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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