A Daily Genesis

Genesis 22:13-24

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 22:13 . .When Abraham looked up, his eye fell upon a ram, caught in the thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering in place of his son.[/B]

The covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy a few centuries later would not have allowed Abraham to substitute a ram for Isaac. (Lev 27:28-29, cf. Jgs 11:30-35)

According to a documentary I recently watched on NetFlix; approximately 2,000 Muslim butchers assemble for Mecca every year and slaughter something like 700,000 to 800,000 sheep to commemorate the ram that Abraham sacrificed in his son's stead. Islam of course believes the son was Ishmael instead of Isaac.

The animals aren't consumed by the hajis. Instead; they're processed, packaged, and shipped to poor people around the world. Well; it would be nice if some of the people of Somalia and North Korea got a number of those sheep because they could sure use them. Ironically, Islamic militants have been thwarting efforts to get aid to the Somalian people. Where's the spirit of Mecca in that?

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 22:14 . . And Abraham named that site Adonai-yireh, whence the present saying: On the mount of God there is vision.[/B]

One of Webster's definitions of "vision" is: unusual discernment or foresight. For example: it was men of vision who crafted the United States Constitution, and men of vision who built railroads, and more men of vision who pushed for construction of New York City's central park, and a man of vision who persuaded the Oregon legislature to preserve all of Oregon's beaches as public domain so nobody could fence portions of it off for their own private use.

Men of no vision think only of the here and now; while men of vision think of the future.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 22:15-18 . .The angel of God called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said: By Myself I swear, God declares; because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your favored one, I will bestow My blessing upon you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven and the sands on the seashore; and your descendants shall seize the gates of their foes. All the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your seed, because you have obeyed My command.[/B]

Abraham obtained God's oath because "you have obeyed My command". What command was that? The command to offer his son as a burnt offering (Gen 22:2). See? Abraham didn't make a mistake. He understood God perfectly; and would have slit Isaac's throat and burned him to ashes had not God pushed the stop button in the final moments.

Far from being scolded for offering a human sacrifice, Abraham is highly commended for complying; and the promises God made in previous chapters are now reaffirmed. He lost nothing; but the rather, gained a spiffy bonus: the Almighty's oath.

Concerning those promises: the first time around, God merely gave His word (which is normally good enough, and in and of itself quite immutable). Another time He passed between the pieces; thus notarizing the promises (double whammy). But this time, God anchored the promises with an oath (grand slam). That is extremely notable.

Would Abraham have failed to obtain the promises had he refused to offer his son? No. He would still have obtained them because the original promises-- made prior to the oath --are unconditional and guaranteed by the immutability of God's integrity. What Abraham would have failed to obtain was the oath.

So then, God has gone to every possible length to assure Abraham's seed of the certainty of those original promises with: 1) His testimony, 2) His passing between the pieces, and 3) His oath. You won't find God taking oaths very often in the Bible.

This particular oath is part and parcel of the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Deut 29:9-15.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 22:19 . . Abraham then returned to his servants, and they departed together for Beer-sheba; and Abraham stayed in Beer-sheba.[/B]

Isaac isn't specifically named in either the return or the departure, except that the words "departed together" are highly suggestive of the very same togetherness of verses 6 and 8. And back in verse 5, Abraham told the servants that he and Isaac would both return. If Isaac had not been with Abraham on the return trip, the servants would have surely asked where he was.

The Targums have a pretty interesting postscript at this point.

[COLOR=#008000][B]T.[/B][/COLOR] And the angels on high took Izhak and brought him into the school (medresha) of Shem the Great; and he was there three years. And in the same day Abraham returned to his young men; and they arose and went together to the Well of the Seven, and Abraham dwelt at Beira-desheva. And it was after these things, after Abraham had bound Izhak, that Satana came and told unto Sarah that Abraham had killed Izhak. And Sarah arose, and cried out, and was strangled, and died from agony. (Targum Jonathan)

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 22:20 . . Some time later, Abraham was informed: Milcah too has borne children to your brother Nahor:[/B]

Just exactly how much time had passed after The Akedah until this announcement is uncertain.

Nahor was one of Abraham's brothers and Milcah was Abraham's niece through Haran, another brother: who was also Lot's dad. Milcah was Nahor's real wife. He also had a concubine named Reumah.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 22:21-24 . . Uz the first-born, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram; and Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel"-- Bethuel being the father of Rebecca. These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham's brother. And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore children: Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.[/B]

Bethuel and Rebecca are the only two who really stand out in that list. However, Genesis records everybody because God, apparently for reasons of His own, thinks they're all important in some way.

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