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.
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Genesis 22:8. My son, God will provide himself a lamb — This was the language either, 1st, Of his obedience; we must offer the lamb which God has appointed now to be offered; thus giving Isaac this general rule of submission to the divine will, to prepare him for the application of it to himself: or, 2d, Of his faith; whether he intended them so or not, the meaning of his words proved to be that a sacrifice was provided instead of Isaac. Thus, 1st, Christ, the great sacrifice of atonement, was of God’s providing: when none in heaven or earth could have found a lamb for that burnt-offering, God himself found the ransom. 2d, All our “sacrifices of acknowledgment” are of God’s providing too; it is he that “prepares the heart.” The broken and contrite spirit is a sacrifice of God, of his providing.

22:3-10 Never was any gold tried in so hot a fire. Who but Abraham would not have argued with God? Such would have been the thought of a weak heart; but Abraham knew that he had to do with a God, even Jehovah. Faith had taught him not to argue, but to obey. He is sure that what God commands is good; that what he promises cannot be broken. In matters of God, whoever consults with flesh and blood, will never offer up his Isaac to God. The good patriarch rises early, and begins his sad journey. And now he travels three days, and Isaac still is in his sight! Misery is made worse when long continued. The expression, We will come again to you, shows that Abraham expected that Isaac, being raised from the dead, would return with him. It was a very affecting question that Isaac asked him, as they were going together: My father, said Isaac; it was a melting word, which, one would think, should strike deeper in the heart of Abraham, than his knife could in the heart of Isaac. Yet he waits for his son's question. Then Abraham, where he meant not, prophesies: My son, God will provide a lamb for a burnt-offering. The Holy Spirit, by his mouth, seems to predict the Lamb of God, which he has provided, and which taketh away the sin of the world. Abraham lays the wood in order for his Isaac's funeral pile, and now tells him the amazing news: Isaac, thou art the lamb which God has provided! Abraham, no doubt, comforting him with the same hopes with which he himself by faith was comforted. Yet it is necessary that the sacrifice be bound. The great Sacrifice, which, in the fulness of time, was to be offered up, must be bound, and so must Isaac. This being done, Abraham takes the knife, and stretches out his hand to give the fatal blow. Here is an act of faith and obedience, which deserves to be a spectacle to God, angels, and men. God, by his providence, calls us to part with an Isaac sometimes, and we must do it with cheerful submission to his holy will, 1Sa 3:18.The story is now told with exquisite simplicity. "On the third day." From Beer-sheba to the Shalem of Melkizedec, near which this hill is supposed to have been, is about forty-five miles. If they proceeded fifteen miles on the first broken day, twenty on the second, and ten on the third, they would come within sight of the place early on the third day. "Lifted up his eyes." It is scarcely necessary to remind the reader of the Bible that this phrase does not imply that the place was above his point of view. Lot lifted up his eyes and beheld all the vale of Jordan Genesis 13:10, which was considerably below the position of the observer. "And return unto you." The intimation that he and the lad would return, may seem to have rested on a dim presentiment that God would restore Isaac to him even if sacrificed. But it is more in keeping with the earnestness of the whole transaction to regard it as a mere concealment of his purpose from his servants. "And he bound Isaac his son." There is a wonderful pathos in the words his son, his father, introduced in the sacred style in this and similar narratives. Isaac, when the trying moment came, seems to have made no resistance to his father's will. The binding was merely a sacrificial custom. He must have concluded that his father was in all this obeying the will of God, though he gave him only a distant hint that it was so. Abraham is thoroughly in earnest in the whole procedure.4. on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, &c.—Leaving the servants at the foot [Ge 22:5], the father and son ascended the hill, the one bearing the knife, and the other the wood for consuming the sacrifice [Ge 22:6]. But there was no victim; and to the question so naturally put by Isaac [Ge 22:7], Abraham contented himself by replying, "My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering." It has been supposed that the design of this extraordinary transaction was to show him, by action instead of words, the way in which all the families of the earth should be blessed; and that in his answer to Isaac, he anticipated some substitution. It is more likely that his words were spoken evasively to his son in ignorance of the issue, yet in unbounded confidence that that son, though sacrificed, would, in some miraculous way, be restored (Heb 11:19). God will provide himself a lamb; either,

1. Literally, though I know not how; for his wisdom and power are infinite: or,

2. Mystically, as Christ, whose type Isaac was, is called a Lamb. Thus Abraham prudently reveals the matter to him by degrees, not all at once.

And Abraham said, my son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering,.... In which answer Abraham may have respect to the Messiah, the Lamb of God, John 1:29, whom he had provided in council and covenant before the world was; and who in promise, and type, and figure, was slain from the foundation of the world, Revelation 13:8; and whom in due time God would send into the world, John 10:36, and make him an offering for sin, Isaiah 53:10, and accept of him in the room and stead of his people: and this was a provision that could only be made by the Lord, and was the produce of his infinite wisdom, and the fruit of his grace, favour, and good will and of which Abraham had a clear sight and strong persuasion, see John 8:56; though as the words may be considered as a more direct answer to Isaac's question, which related to the sacrifice now about to be offered, they may be regarded as a prophecy of Abraham's, and of his faith in it, that God would, as in fact he did, provide a lamb or ram in the room of that he was called to offer; or he may mean Isaac himself, whom he was bid to take and offer, and so was a lamb of God's providing; though he did not choose directly to say this, but puts him off with such an answer, suggesting that it was best for him to leave it with God, who, as he had called them to such service, would supply them with a proper sacrifice; and in speaking in this manner he might give room for Isaac to suspect what was intended, and so by degrees bring him to the knowledge of it. Some Jewish writers (e) say, that Abraham to this answer added in express terms,"my son, thou art the lamb:"

so they went both of them together; they proceeded on in their journey until they came to the place they were directed to go. The Targum of Jonathan says,"they went both of them with a perfect heart as one;''the Jerusalem Targum is,"with a quiet, easy, and composed mind or heart;''and Jarchi,"with a like heart;''all intimating that Isaac was thoroughly acquainted with what was to be done, that he was to be the sacrifice, and that he heartily agreed to it, and that he and his father were of one mind in it, and that he went with the same will to be offered up, as his father did to offer him; and indeed the expression being repeated from Genesis 22:6, seems to suggest something remarkable and worthy of attention.

(e) Pirke Eliezer, ut supra. (c. 31.)

And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a {d} burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

(d) The only way to overcome all temptation is to rest on God's providence.

8. provide himself] Heb. see for himself, cf. Genesis 41:33. Abraham’s words express his self-control and his faith, and have a reference to Genesis 22:14. The provision by God of a lamb for a burnt-offering lies at the root of the interpretation of the present passage in its typical application to the Sacrifice of Christ. Cf. the mention of the Lamb in John 1:29; John 1:36; 1 Peter 1:19; Revelation 5:12. The present passage is the first Lesson for the morning of Good Friday.

so they went … together] In the brief words of this simple and moving description is compressed a world of intense feeling. Cf. a similar phrase in 2 Kings 2:6; 2 Kings 2:8.

Verse 8. - And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: - the utterance of heroic faith rather than the language of pious dissimulation (vide on Ver. 5) - so they went both of them together. To see in this twice-repeated expression a type of the concurrence of the Father and the Son in the work of redemption (Wordsworth) is not exegesis. Genesis 22:8When in sight of the distant mountain, Abraham left the servants behind with the ass, that he might perform the last and hardest part of the journey alone with Isaac, and, as he said to the servants, "worship yonder and then return." The servants were not to see what would take place there; for they could not understand this "worship," and the issue even to him, notwithstanding his saying "we will come again to you," was still involved in the deepest obscurity. This last part of the journey is circumstantially described in Genesis 22:6-8, to show how strong a conflict every step produced in the paternal heart of the patriarch. They go both together, he with the fire and the knife in his hand, and his son with the wood for the sacrifice upon his shoulder. Isaac asks his father, where is the lamb for the burnt-offering; and the father replies, not "Thou wilt be it, my son," but "God (Elohim without the article - God as the all-pervading supreme power) will provide it;" for he will not and cannot yet communicate the divine command to his son. Non vult filium macerare longa cruce et tentatione (Luther).
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