Genesis Segment 16 (22:1-23:30)

Originally Published 07/06/2009

Genesis 22:1 “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.”

God never tempts anyone. The Hebrew word (lexical form) is, נסה, naw-saw´, meaning “to test,” “to try,” or “to prove.” God tested Abraham’s faith. I cannot categorically state that my faith would have been as strong as Abraham’s if it had been my son. But Abraham was so sure that God would honor his promise to make his seed innumerable that He knew that if God did take Isaac’s life that He would restore it as well. Hebrews 11:17-19: “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son. {18} Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: {19} Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” Abraham knew that God would honor His promise even if He had to raise Isaac from the dead. Hebrews tells us that this is a figure, or a type, of Christ. As we shall see it is very much a type of Christ.

Genesis 22:2 “And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”

Abraham was to offer his only son (now that Ishmael had been banished) as a burnt offering. That meant Isaac would die. Isaac was to be offered on the rock Moriah. In David’s time, it was the threshing floor of Araunah and later the temple site. Auranah was a Jebusite of the town of Jebus which would become Jerusalem and is also called Zion (conspicuous). Auranah means “seen of Yehovah,” The Rock Moriah was the threshing floor of Araunah. The Rock Moriah is a type of Christ, the Rock (See Upon This Rock). David bought the threshing floor from Araunah and built an altar there (long before the Islamists claimed Jerusalem as theirs). The threshing floor of Auranah, or the Rock Moriah as it is now called (2 Chron 3:1), is now only visible if one enters the Dome of the Rock mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Moriah is inside the mosque. Below is a picture of the rock Moriah from inside the dome of the mosque, looking down. Note that I said that it is only visible from inside the mosque. But that does not mean it is not conspicuous. Zion still lives up to its name as the most hotly contested real estate in the contemporary world and in the world’s history. Covered up or not, the Rock Moriah is still conspicuous and so its antitype, the True Rock, Who is Christ.

The Rock Moriah

The Rock Moriah
Under the Dome of the Rock

Date Created/Published: between 1950 and 1977. – Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Matson (G. Eric and Edith) Photograph Collection – Reproduction number: LC-DIG-matpc-22783 (digital file from original photo) – Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Moriah means “seen of Yah”. God saw it and it became the Apple of His Eye. “But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved” (Psalms 78:68). “For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation” (Psalm 132:13). God saw Zion and it is His favorite spot on earth. In the same vicinity where Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac, the Son of God was sacrificed and raised to life. It is to that exact spot that Messiah will return. It is the focal point of the world even today. It is where the New Jerusalem will stand. There God not only provided a ram for Abraham, He also provided a Lamb, His Son, for all. Both events happened in this very same vicinity. Some say it is the center of all the land mass of the world 1. It is certainly the political center of the world.

Genesis 22:3 “And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.”

He got up early and chopped the wood (clave it), prepared his donkey, and started off toward Moriah. They were four, Abraham, Isaac, and two able bodied servants.

Genesis 22:4-5 “Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.

The typology comes in to play here. The third day is associated by the Hebrews with resurrection, which can be understood by the passage in Hos 6:2. This has been associated with Christ’s resurrection, which can be understood by the passage in 1 Corinthians 15:4. According to Matt Slick, President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, “1 Cor. 15:3-5 is considered by many scholars to be an extremely early creed of the Christian church.” Lee Strobel, author of The Case for Christ, states that this creed can be traced to within two to five years of the resurrection of Christ2.

Hos 6:2 “After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.”
1Co 15:3-5 “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (4) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: (5) And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:”

The antitype of this passage is Christ, who was raised from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion. An antitype is the fulfillment of the type, the prefix ‘anti,‘ in this context, means “in the place of” and not “opposed to.” When Abraham left his home three days prior to this day when he arrived at Moriah, Isaac was already dead to Him for all intents and purposes, for Abraham believed God and went to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham expected Isaac to die at Moriah. When God provided a Ram, Isaac was proverbially resurrected. Thus Isaac was the type and Christ was the antitype.

Genesis 22:5 “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.”

The servants did not know what God had asked of Abraham and Abraham did not want them to know for fear that they would interfere. So he left them some distance from Moriah.

Genesis 22:6 “And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.”

Just as Jesus carried His own instrument of sacrifice, the cross, so Isaac carried the instrument of his sacrifice, the chopped wood. Jesus carried the cross down the Via Dolorosa until Simon the Cyrene took over the task. Isaac carried the wood up to the rock Moriah (and possibly along the future route of the Via Dolorosa). This was another fulfillment of the type.

In the millennia before the advent of matches, which occurred in the early Nineteenth Century AD, people carried a live coal, usually in an insulated container, with them to use to start fires. Abraham had such a hot coal with him and took it to the place of the sacrifice. It was easier to carry a live coal than to start a fire from scratch.

Genesis 22:7 “And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

Notice the complete innocence of Isaac and the complete trust he had for his father. It is an object lesson in how we should trust God, our heavenly Father. Your own young children trust you just as implicitly. If we could even come close to trusting God as much as our young children trust us, then we would never be afraid of anything. It would be very easy to be witnesses of Christ.

Genesis 22:8 “And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.”

A most prophetic statement. God did provide himself a Lamb—His own only begotten Son! He provided a ram for Abraham’s offering instead of Isaac. Here the ram is the type, fulfilled ultimately in Christ.

Genesis 22:9 “And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.”

I absolutely cannot imagine binding up my son to kill him. Abraham had great faith! The scripture does not record any questioning from Isaac as to his father’s actions. He trusted his father implicitly—just as we should trust ours. We should trust our Father even unto death just like Isaac did.

Genesis 22:10-12 “And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. {11} And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. {12} And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.”

He even lifted up the knife in his hand to stab Isaac and kill him. He trusted God all the way. If the Angel had not stopped him, he would have slain Isaac. This is offered by the scripture as proof of Abraham’s trust in God.

Is not Yehovah God omniscient (all knowing)? If so, why did God need to see if Abraham would follow through and kill Isaac? God is all knowing:

Genesis 18:14 “Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”
Jeremiah 32:17 “Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:”
Jeremiah 32:27 “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?”
Matthew 6:8 “Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”
Matthew 6:32 “(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”
Matthew 10:30 “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”
Luke 16:15 “And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”
John 21:17 “He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”
1 John 3:20 “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.”

God already knew what Abraham would do. But He allowed Abraham to go as far as he did so that Abraham would know he, Abraham, really trusted God. And God allowed it to go this far so that we too would understand Abraham’s faith for this scripture is given as an example for us. God would never have allowed this human sacrifice to happen.

God is against such a thing and will not allow it. “And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.” (Jeremiah 32:35). God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Mal 3:6, Heb 13:8). He did not change. He never would have allowed the sacrifice of Isaac to take place! But Abraham did not know that. When we pray for our needs, God already knows them. He wants us to pray so that we will also know them and that we will understand that God is the Provider (Yehovah Yireh) of our needs. Prayer to God for our needs is for our understanding, not God’s.

Genesis 22:13 “And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.”

Remember that Abraham told Isaac that “God will provide himself a lamb” (Gen 22:8). Here God provided Abraham a ram. The statement about the lamb was a prophetic reference to the Lamb of God. This statement was inspired by the Spirit. It is interesting that God provided a ram here at Moriah; He also provided Himself a Lamb at the same location, Jerusalem. The rock Moriah was destined to become a part of Jerusalem and was the site of the Temple. Jesus was crucified outside the gates, but God provided Him at Jerusalem at that very rock—He taught in the Temple for many days and then He was arrested early in the morning on the Preparation Day on the Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 19:47; John 18:3, 20).

Genesis 22:14 “And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.”

Joehovahjireh: I AM Who Provides. Yehovah is our provider. He owns everything and allows us to be His stewards. The word can also be rendered, “I AM hath seen.” Let us also not forget that Moriah means “seen of Yah.”

Genesis 22:15-18 “And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, {16} And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: {17} That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; {18} And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.”

This is an unconditional promise and has only been partially fulfilled. The world is blessed because of Christ, Who was Abraham’s progeny. Yes, Abraham’s seed is innumerable, but his posterity has not yet ceased. He continues to have children. As Christians, we are adopted children of Abraham (Rom 8:15; Gal 3:7) and as more believers are added to the Way, Abraham’s seed will continue to increase. His seed will ultimately permanently possess the gate of our enemy the Devil, who will end up in the lake of fire. All nations are blessed in Christ and will continue to be so. Ultimately the blessing will be our ascendance to Heaven.

Genesis 22:19 “So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.”

Notice that there is no mention of Isaac in this verse. The Targum Pseudo-Jonathan states that immediately after the binding and loosing of Isaac, “The angels on high took Isaac and brought him to the schoolhouse of Shem the Great and he was there three years.” Prior to making this claim, the Targum proves that Shem was still alive at least until Isaac was 100 years old, using the genealogies in Genesis. It is more likely that the Abraham and Isaac and the servants returned to Beersheba after the incident. The claim of the Targum is questionable.

Beersheba is the place where Abraham had dug a well and had made a covenant with Abimelech about the well. Beersheba means “well of the oath.”

Genesis 22:20-24 “And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, Behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor; {21} Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram, {22} And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel. {23} And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. {24} And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah.”

This genealogy introduces Bethuel and Rebekah. Rebekah became Isaac’s wife.

Genesis 23:1 “And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah.”

This means that Isaac was thirty-seven when his mother died.

Genesis 23:2 “And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.”

Kirjatharba (Kiriath Yarba) means the “city of four giants.” Hebron means “seat of association.” She died in what was basically the capital city of Canaan.

Genesis 23:3 “And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying,”

Heth was the son of Canaan, who was the son of Ham, the son of Noah. Heth was the brother of Sidon, and an inheritor of the land of Canaan. The title “sons of Heth” is another way of saying the Canaanites or the sons of Canaan (Gen 10:15). Abraham is about to negotiate the purchase of the field of Machpelah with the Canaanites. This is an interesting glimpse at how business was conducted in Abraham’s time.

Genesis 23:4 “I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.”

Abraham is not asking for a free gift, but for the offer of a place for sale. He already has in mind what parcel he wants. This is the opener of the negotiation.

Genesis 23:5-6 “And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him, {6} Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead.”

They told Abraham to choose any sepulcher they had and it would be given to him. (Remember that Abraham was a wealthy and respected man.) Of course, Abraham did not want to use someone else’s burying place. The sons of Heth did not really want to give Abraham the parcel; this was just part of the bargaining.

Genesis 23:7-9 “And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth. {8} And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and entreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, {9} That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you.”

Now Abraham tells them the exact property he wanted. Ephron was present at this meeting, but Abraham did not speak directly to him, but to his kinsmen. Abraham was willing to pay the market price. Machpelah translates literally to double fold, or double cave. The assumption is that the field either had two caves, or the cave had two shafts.

Genesis 23:10-11 “And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying, {11} Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead.”

Ephron said for Abraham to take it without charge. Of course he did not really mean it, this was just the way business was conducted. Abraham knew that Ephron did not mean to give him the land free of charge.

Genesis 23:12-13 “And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land. {13} And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there.”

Abraham now asks for the price.

Genesis 23:14-15 “And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him, {15} My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead.”

Ephron still did not really mean that the price did not matter. It was an offer to negotiate. It was likely substantially more than the parcel was worth. In that situation things have not changed much. I still negotiate that way—offer, counter offer. But Abraham did not negotiate. He just paid the amount.

Genesis 23:16 “And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant.”

This was the currency accepted in Abraham’s day. The shekel is about four tenths of a Troy ounce. Four hundred shekels would be about 160 ounces. Today’s (12/22/2012) market price for silver is $29.93 per Troy ounce. So this transaction was worth about $12,00000.

Genesis 23:17-18 “And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure {18} Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city.”

This was a public transaction and was legal and binding. Abraham bought the field and the cave. Not only was it legal, but, more importantly, with this purchase Abraham made sure the field of Machpelah would remain in his family for generations to come. It became the sepulcher of Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Leah. Other family members were probably buried there, but the Bible is silent about them.

Genesis 23:19 “And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan.”

Machpelah is about two miles north of Hebron. Mamre is about two and one half miles the other side Hebron. Hebron is between the two. Both Machpelah and Mamre were within a short walk from Hebron. Hebron would have been the market for both Mamre and Machpelah. Remember that Hebron is the “seat of association of the land of Canaan. Sarah died very near Machpelah. In Abraham’s day there was no refrigeration so bodies had to be disposed of quickly. Today we can wait several days because bodies are kept refrigerated until the funeral. Of course the decomposition could be inhibited somewhat with the use of herbs, ointments, and spices, but certainly not as long as with refrigeration.

Genesis 23:20 “And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a buryingplace by the sons of Heth.”

Today we have title insurance to insure that our land has a clear title. We also have warranty deeds that are warranted by the seller to represent clear title to the land we are purchasing. Abraham’s surety was the fact that the entire city of Hebron was present and witnessed the transaction. The bureaucracy was established in Hebron and they witnessed the transaction. The sons of Heth, or Canaanites, witnessed the transfer of title. There were probably records made with the writing devices of the day. Cuneiform tablets from the period have been found in Mesopotamia. Hammurabi was a contemporary of Abraham and his stele (actually there are more than one) was written in Akkadian using cuneiform characters. Thus it was likely that the deed to Machpelah was written on a clay tablet with cuneiform characters, possibly in Akkadian, a Semitic language that was a forerunner of Aramaic and Hebrew.

  1. See Morris, H. M. 1973. The Center of the Earth. Acts & Facts. 2 (2). At the time of this update (December 2012), this article was available online at The Institute for Creation Research, Please note that external links may become inactive over time.
  2. The Case For Christ, © 1998, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, p. 35.
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