Genesis 22 – God Tests Abraham

  • God gave Abraham a test. For whose benefit? If God is omniscient, then it could not have been for his.
  • God clarifies his command really well. He tells Abraham to take his son, his only son, whom he loved, and sacrifice him. In order words, God showed that he knew of Abraham’s love for his son Isaac and did not view this as sufficient reason to withdraw his demand.
  • God also gave specific instructions as to where the sacrifice was to be performed.
  • The journey to the place of the sacrifice took a few days – enough time for Abraham to think over it and change his mind (22:4).
  • Abraham told his servants that he and Isaac were coming back (22:5). Was this a lie or did he believe that God would let him keep Isaac (e.g. by bringing him back from the dead)?
  • Verse 12 is my Problem verse. God tells Abraham not to hurt Isaac and adds; “Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son”. Did God not know this previously? Why is He then suggesting that He just found it out?
  • In verses 15-18, God blesses Abraham because he had obeyed Him but this is no new blessing. It is the same blessing that had been given in 17:3-8, 15:4, 5, 15:18-21, etc. God would basically give Abraham many descendants and bless them. The interesting thing is that God says this is as a result of Abraham’s obedience in attempting to sacrifice his son. It seems there are a number of ways to look at this:
  1. God already knew that Abraham would obey Him and so made the promise in advance, then reconfirmed it after the test. (He seemed to reconfirm it a lot). But verse 12 says that God did not know that Abraham feared Him.
  2. God did not know whether Abraham would pass the test but made the promise anyway with the intention of withdrawing it if Abraham failed the test. The promise was conditional, afterall, I think.
  3. God did not know whether Abraham would pass the test but made the promise anyway and would have gone on with it even if Abraham had failed the test. But if so, why carry out the test.

There are other things to think about too, but I must stop here.

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Tracy

I’m Tracy

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