1: Here is the trial of Abraham's faith, whether it continued so strong, so vigorous, so victorious, after a long settlement in communion with God, as it was at first, when by it he left his country: then it appeared that he loved God better than his father; now, that he loved him better than his son. After these things - After all the other exercises he had had, all the difficulties he had gone through: now perhaps he was beginning to think the storms were blown over but after all, this encounter comes, which is stranger than any yet. God did tempt Abraham - Not to draw him to sin, so Satan tempts; but to discover his graces, how strong they were, that they might be found to praise and honour and glory. The trial itself: God appeared to him as he had formerly done, called him by name Abraham, that name which had been given him in ratification of the promise: Abraham, like a good servant, readily answered, Here am I; what saith my Lord unto his servant? Probably he expected some renewed promise, like those, (Ge 15:1,17:1), but to his great amazement that which God hath to say to him is in short, Abraham, go kill thy son: and this command is given him in such aggravating language as makes the temptation abundantly more grievous. When God speaks, Abraham, no doubt, takes notice of every word, and listens attentively to it: and every word here is a sword in his bones; the trial is steel'd with trying phrases. Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that he should afflict? No, it is not; yet when Abraham's faith is to be tried, God seems to take pleasure in the aggravation of the trial.
2: And he said, take thy son - Not thy bullocks and thy lambs; how willingly would Abraham have parted with them by thousands to redeem Isaac! Not thy servant, no, not the steward of thine house. Thine only son - Thine only son by Sarah. Ishmael was lately cast out, to the grief of Abraham, and now Isaac only was left and must he go too? Yes: take Isaac, him by name, thy laughter, that son indeed. Yea, that son whom thou lovest - The trial was of Abraham's love to God, and therefore it must be in a beloved son: in the Hebrew 'tis expressed more emphatically, and I think might very well be read thus, Take now that son of thine, that only son of thine, whom thou lovest, that Isaac. And get thee into the land of Moriah - Three days journey off: so that he might have time to consider it, and if he do it, must do it deliberately. And offer him for a burnt offering - He must not only kill his son, but kill him as a sacrifice, with all that sedateness and composedness of mind, with which he used to offer his burnt - offering.
3: The several steps of this obedience, all help to magnify it, and to shew that he was guided by prudence, and governed by faith, in the whole transaction.
6: Isaac's carrying the wood was a type of Christ, who carried his own cross, while Abraham, with a steady and undaunted resolution, carried the fatal knife and fire.
7: Behold the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb? - This is,
8: My son, God will provide himself a lamb - This was the language either,
9: With the same resolution and composedness of mind, he applies himself to the compleating of this sacrifice. After many a weary step, and with a heavy heart, he arrives at length at the fatal place; builds the altar, an altar of earth, we may suppose, the saddest that ever be built; lays the wood in order for Isaac's funeral pile; and now tells him the amazing news. Isaac, for ought appears, is as willing as Abraham; we do not find that he made any objection against it. God commands it to be done, and Isaac has learned to submit. Yet it is necessary that a sacrifice be bound; the great Sacrifice, which, in the fulness of time, was to be offered up, must be bound, and therefore so must Isaac. Having bound him he lays him upon the altar, and his hand upon the head of the sacrifice. Be astonished, O heavens, at this, and wonder, O earth! here is an act of faith and obedience which deserves to be a spectacle to God, angels and men; Abraham's darling, the church's hope, the heir of promise, lies ready to bleed and die by his own father's hands! Now this obedience of Abraham in offering up Isaac is a lively representation,
11: The Angel of the Lord - That is, God himself, the eternal Word, the Angel of the covenant, who was to be the great Redeemer and Comforter.
12: Lay not thine hand upon the lad - God's time to help his people is, when they are brought to the greatest extremity: the more eminent the danger is, and the nearer to be put in execution, the more wonderful and the more welcome is the deliverance. Now know I that thou fearest God - God knew it before, but now Abraham had given a memorable evidence of it. He need do no more, what he had done was sufficient to prove the religious regard he had to God and his authority. The best evidence of our fearing God is our being willing to honour him with that which is dearest to us, and to part with all to him, or for him.
13: Behold a ram - Tho' that blessed Seed was now typified by Isaac, yet the offering of him up was suspended 'till the latter end of the world, and in the mean time the sacrifice of beasts was accepted, as a pledge of that expiation which should be made by that great sacrifice. And it is observable, that the temple, the place of sacrifice, was afterward built upon this mount Moriah, (2Ch 3:1), and mount Calvary, where Christ was crucified, was not far off.
14: And Abraham called the place Jehovah - jireh - The Lord will provide. Probably alluding to what he had said, (Ge 22:8). God will provide himself a lamb - This was purely the Lord's doing: let it be recorded for the generations to come; that the Lord will see; he will always have his eyes upon his people in their straits, that he may come in with seasonable succour in the critical juncture. And that he will be seen, be seen in the mount, in he greatest perplexities of his people; he will not only manifest but magnify his wisdom, power and goodness in their deliverance. Where God sees and provides, he should be seen and praised. And perhaps it may refer to God manifest in the flesh.
15: And the Angel - Christ. Called unto Abraham - Probably while the ram was yet burning. Very high expressions are here of God's favour to Abraham, above any he had yet been blessed with.
16: Because thou hast done this thing, and hast not with - held thy son, thine only son - He lays a mighty emphasis upon that, and(Ge 22:18), praises it as an act of obedience, in it thou hast obeyed my voice. By myself have I sworn - For he could swear by no greater.
17: Multiplying I will multiply thee - Those that part with any thing for God, shall have it made up to them with unspeakable advantage. Abraham has but one son, and is willing to part with that one in obedience to God; well, saith God, thou shalt be recompensed with thousands and millions. Here is a promise,
20: This is recorded here,
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