What does Genesis 22:5 mean?
ESV: Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.”
NIV: He said to his servants, 'Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.'
NASB: Then Abraham said to his young men, 'Stay here with the donkey, and I and the boy will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.'
CSB: Then Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there to worship; then we'll come back to you."
NLT: Stay here with the donkey,' Abraham told the servants. 'The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.'
KJV: And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.
Verse Commentary:
Interpreters of this event wonder: is Abraham convinced that God will intervene to stop him from killing Isaac before the moment comes? Or, that Isaac will be brought back to life? We're never told, exactly, but what Abraham says to his servants here is a clue. He tells them that he and the boy will go, worship, and come back again. One way or another, Abraham seems to suggest that he expects Isaac to accompany him on the way back.

The term translated "boy" in the ESV is from the Hebrew root word na'ar, used to refer to "youths, lads, or young men." Given the way Isaac speaks and works in this episode (Genesis 22:6–7), he's probably a teenager, acting willingly alongside his extremely elderly father.

Abraham clearly trusted God. God explicitly told Abraham that He would establish His covenant with Isaac, as an everlasting covenant for his offspring (Genesis 17:19). God had also said that it would be through Isaac that Abraham's offspring would be named (Genesis 21:12). Since Isaac had not yet had any children, God's promise meant that Isaac must live on. Abraham has seen God turn seemingly impossible situations into examples of His righteousness and faithfulness in the past. This included saving Lot, while destroying the wicked people of Sodom (Genesis 19:15–16). It certainly included the birth of Isaac, a "miracle baby" in every way (Genesis 17:17; 21:1–2).

Another clue to Abraham's thought process is given in Hebrews 11:17–19. There we're told Abraham believed God was able to raise Isaac from the dead. Whatever Abraham expected to happen next, he does not hesitate to continue to obey God's command to sacrifice the son he loved. This is not because he thinks God actually wanted a human sacrifice; rather, it is because Abraham trusts God enough to obey, even when he does not fully understand.
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.
Accessed 4/18/2024 12:23:49 AM
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