Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
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)
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 thence 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)
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)
Will return. He hoped, perhaps, that God would restore Isaac to life: (Hebrews xi. 19.) and he could not well express himself otherwise to the men, who were not acquainted with the divine decree. (Calmet)
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)
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)
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)
Hast not spared. Thus the intentions of the heart become worthy of praise, or of blame, even when no exterior effect is perceived. (Haydock)
He took; God having given him the dominion over it. (Calmet)
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.
Own self; as he could not swear by any one greater. (Hebrews vi. 13; Jeremias xxii. 5.)
Stars and dust, comprising the just and sinners. --- Gates, shall judge and rule. (Haydock)
Children. These are mentioned here, to explain the marriage of Isaac with Rebecca, the grand-daughter of Nachor and Melcha.
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)
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)