Genesis xxii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. God tempted, &c. God tempteth no man to evil, James i. 13. But by trial and experiment, maketh known to the world and to ourselves, what we are; as here by this trial the singular faith and obedience of Abraham was made manifest. (Challoner)

Ver. 2. Thy only begotten, or thy most beloved, as if he had been an only child; in which sense the word is often taken, 1 Paralipomenon xxix. 1. Ismael was still living; but Isaac was the only son of Sara, the most dignified wife. — Lovest. Hebrew, “hast loved” hitherto; now thou must consider him as dead. He has been to thee a source of joy, but now he will be one of tears and mourning. — Of vision. Septuagint, “high,” being situated on Mount Moria, by which name it was afterwards distinguished, ver. 14. (Menochius) — Every word in this astonishing command, tended to cut Abraham to the heart; and hence we may the more admire his strength and disinterestedness of his faith. He could hope, in a manner, against hope, knowing in whom he had trusted, and convinced that God would not deceive him, though he was at a loss to explain in what manner Isaac should have children after he was sacrificed. (Haydock)

Ver. 3. In the night: de nocte, Hebrew, “very early in the morning.” — His son, 25 years old, without perhaps saying a word to Sara about the intended sacrifice; though some believe, he had too great an opinion of her faith and constancy, not to reveal to her the order of God. The Scripture is silent. (Calmet)

Ver. 7. Holocaust. These were probably the only sacrifices yet in use. (Calmet) — The conversation of Isaac could not fail to pierce the heart of his father. (Menochius)

Ver. 9. The place. Mount Moria, on part of which the temple was built afterwards; and on another part, called Calvary, our Saviour was crucified, having carried his cross, as Isaac did the wood for sacrifice. — His son: having first explained to him the will of God, to which Isaac gave his free consent; otherwise, being in the vigour of his youth, he might easily have hindered his aged father, who was 125 years old, from binding him. But in this willingness to die, as in many other particulars, he was a noble figure of Jesus Christ, who was offered because it was His will. (Haydock)

Ver. 10. To sacrifice; a thing hitherto unprecedented, and which God would never suffer to be done in his honour, though he was pleased to try the obedience of his servant so far. The pagans afterwards took occasion, perhaps, from this history, to suppose, that human victims would be the most agreeable to their false deities: (Calmet) but in this misconception they were inexcusable, since God prevented the sacrifice from being really offered to him, in the most earnest manner, saying, Abraham, Abraham, as if there were danger lest the holy man should not hear the first call. (Haydock)

Ver. 12. Hast not spared. Thus the intentions of the heart become worthy of praise, or of blame, even when no exterior effect is perceived. (Haydock)

Ver. 13. He took; God having given him the dominion over it. (Calmet)

Ver. 14. Will see. This became a proverbial expression, used by people in distress, who, remembering how Abraham had been relieved, endeavoured to comfort themselves with hopes of relief. Some translate the Lord will be seen, which was verified when Christ was crucified. (Menochius) — Or, he will provide, alluding to what was said, ver. 8.

Ver. 16Own self; as he could not swear by any one greater. (Hebrews vi. 13; Jeremias xxii. 5.)

Ver. 17. Stars and dust, comprising the just and sinners. — Gates, shall judge and rule. (Haydock)

Ver. 20. Children. These are mentioned here, to explain the marriage of Isaac with Rebecca, the grand-daughter of Nachor and Melcha.

Ver. 21. Hus, who peopled Ausitis in Arabia, the desert, where Job lived. — Buz, from whom sprung Elihu the Busite, the Balaam of the Jews. (St. Jerome) — Syrians, called Camiletes, to the west of the Euphrates; or father of the Cappadocians. (Calmet)

Ver. 24. Concubine, or wife, secondary in privileges, love and dignity. Though Nachor did not, perhaps imitate the faith and virtue of his brother Abraham, but mixed various superstitions with the knowledge of the true God; yet we need not condemn him, for having more wives than one. (Haydock)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

The faith and obedience of Abraham is proved, in his readiness to sacrifice his son Isaac. He is stayed from the act by an angel. Former promises are renewed to him. His brother Nachor’s issue.

1 After these things, *God tempted Abraham,** and said to him: Abraham, Abraham. And he answered: Here I am.

2 He said to him: Take thy only begotten son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and go into the land of vision; and there thou shalt offer him for an holocaust upon one of the mountains which I will shew thee.

3 So Abraham rising up in the night, saddled his ass, and took with him two young men, and Isaac his son: and when he had cut wood for the holocaust, he went his way to the place which God had commanded him.

4 And on the third day, lifting up his eyes, he saw the place afar off.

5 And he said to his young men: Stay you here with the ass; I and the boy will go with speed as far as yonder, and after we have worshipped, will return to you.

6 And he took the wood for the holocaust, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he himself carried in his hands fire and a sword. And as they two went on together,

7 Isaac said to his father: My father. And he answered: What wilt thou, son? Behold, saith he, fire and wood: where is the victim for the holocaust?

8 And Abraham said: God will provide himself a victim for an holocaust, my son. So they went on together.

9 And they came to the place which God had shewn him, where he built an altar, and laid the wood in order upon it; and when he had bound Isaac his son, he laid him on the altar upon the pile of wood.

10 *And he put forth his hand, and took the sword, to sacrifice his son.

11 And behold, an angel of the Lord from heaven called to him, saying: Abraham, Abraham. And he answered: Here I am.

12 And he said to him: Lay not thy hand upon the boy, neither do thou any thing to him: now I know that thou fearest God, and hast not spared thy only begotten son for my sake.

13 Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw behind his back a ram, amongst the briers, sticking fast by the horns, which he took and offered for a holocaust instead of his son.

14 And he called the name of that place, The Lord seeth. Whereupon, even to this day, it is said: In the mountain the Lord will see.

15 And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, saying:

16 *By my own self have I sworn, saith the Lord: because thou hast done this thing, and hast not spared thy only begotten son for my sake:

17 I will bless thee, and I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand that is by the sea-shore: thy seed shall possess the gates of their enemies.

18 *And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice.

19 Abraham returned to his young men, and they went to Bersabee together, and he dwelt there.

20 After these things, it was told Abraham, that Melcha also had borne children to Nachor his brother.

21 Hus, the first-born, and Buz, his brother, and Camuel the father of the Syrians,

22 And Cased, and Azau, and Pheldas, and Jedlaph,

23 And Bathuel, of whom was born Rebecca: these eight did Melcha bear to Nachor, Abraham’s brother.

24 And his concubine, named Roma, bore Tabee, and Gaham, and Tahas, and Maacha.



1: Judith viii. 22.; Hebrews xi. 17. — ** Year of the World 2135, Year before Christ 1869.

10: James ii. 21.

16: Psalm civ. 9.; Ecclesiasticus xliv. 21.; 1 Machabees ii. 52.; Luke i. 73.; Hebrews vi. 13. and 17.

18: Genesis xii. 3. and xviii. 18. and xxvi. 4.; Ecclesiasticus xliv. 25.; Acts iii. 25.