New Defender's Study Bible Notes
22:1 God did tempt. This is the first occurrence of the word “tempt” (Hebrew nacah). It does not mean “tempt to do evil” (James 1:13), but is usually translated “prove.” Although God knew what Abraham would do, it must be “proved” to all (including even Abraham himself) that he loved God more than anyone else and that his faith in God’s Word was absolute, thus demonstrating the validity of God’s selection of him as father of the chosen nation.
22:2 whom thou lovest. It is providentially significant that this is the first occurrence of the word “love” in the Bible, referring as it does to the love of a father for his son. The New Testament makes it clear that this story of Abraham and Isaac is not only true historically but is also a type of the heavenly Father and His only begotten Son, depicting the coming sacrifice on Mount Calvary. In a beautiful design (no doubt Spirit-inspired), it is appropriate that the first use of “love in each of the three synoptic gospels (Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22) shows the Father calling out from heaven that “this is my beloved Son,” at the baptism of Jesus (which, of course, also speaks of death and resurrection). In the Gospel of John, on the other hand, where the word “love” occurs more than in any other book of the Bible, its first occurrence is at John 3:16: “God so loved the world” that He, like Abraham, was willing to sacrifice His beloved Son.
22:2 offer him there. Note that God did not actually tell Abraham to slay his son, though it was natural that he would so understand it, but to offer him (compare Romans 12:1).
22:3 young men. The Hebrew word for “young men” is the same as “lad,” referring to Isaac, in Genesis 22:5,12. Thus Isaac was not a little boy at this time, and was undoubtedly acquainted with the Canaanite practice of sacrificing their firstborn sons to their gods. He could surely have escaped from his aged father had he not been willing himself to obey God’s command.
22:4 the place. Moriah was about thirty miles away, and was the place where David would later plan the Temple (II Chronicles 3:1), and where Christ Himself would one day be offered as the Lamb of God.
22:4 third day. The “third day” speaks also of the period of Christ’s burial.
22:5 worship. The word for “worship” (Hebrew shachah) means simply “bow down”–that is, submit to God’s will. This is what Christ did, perfectly, on the cross.
22:5 come again. Note Abraham’s great faith. At a time when no one had ever come back from the dead, Abraham so strongly believed that God would keep His word concerning Isaac that he believed God would raise him from the dead after he had obeyed God in slaying him (Hebrews 11:17-19).
22:8 a lamb. Though Abraham was fully prepared to slay Isaac, he evidently comprehended the ultimate meaning of the divinely-ordained principle of substitutionary sacrifice, practiced ever since God shed the blood of the first sacrificial lamb to provide a covering for Adam and Eve. He knew that, one day, the “Lamb of God” must be offered by God to “take away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) and thus to make possible the fulfillment of all His eternal promises.
22:15 the angel of the LORD. That this angel is actually the Lord Himself–that is, Christ in a pre-incarnate theophany–is certain because of His ability to personally promise the blessings in Genesis 22:16-18. Also note Genesis 22:11-12.
22:17 as the sand. Here the number of stars (of which only about three thousand can be seen with the naked eye) is compared to the number of sand grains. Both can now be calculated as of the order of 1025, a remarkable anticipation of modern science.
22:17 thy seed. In Genesis 22:17,18, three times God used the word “seed” in the singular, instead of “seeds” in the plural. Paul claimed that this verse is a prophecy of Christ (Galatians 3:16), instead of a prophecy of all the children of Abraham. This argument is predicated on the truth of verbal inspiration, which even makes a fine distinction between singular and plural.