Genesis 22:1-18

Genesis 22:1-18
Easter Vigil C


IAfter these thingsII GodIII testedIV Abraham.V He said to him, “Abraham!”

And he said, “Here I am.”VI 

Notes on verse 1

I {untranslated} = hayah. This is to be or become, to happen.
II “things” = dabar. From dabar (to speak, declare, discuss). This is speech, a word, a matter, an affair, charge, command, message, promise, purpose, report, request. It is a word, which implies things that are spoken of in a wide sense.
III “God” = Elohim.
IV “tested” = nasah. This is to test, prove, try, tempt, or attempt.
V “Abraham” = Abraham. From the same as Abiram (exalted father, a high father – lofty) {from ab (father literal or figurative) + rum (rise, bring up, being high, extol, exalt, haughty; to raise in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Abraham, father of many nations or father of a multitude.
VI “here I am” = hinneh. From hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!

He said, “TakeVII, VIII your son,IX your onlyX son Isaac,XI

Notes on verse 2a

VII “take” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.
VIII {untranslated} = na. This particle is used for requests or for urging. It can be we pray, now, I ask you, oh. This is the same “na” in “hosanna.”
IX “son” = ben. From banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.
X “only” = yachid. 12x in OT. From yachad (to join, be united). This is united, sole, solitary, only, or desolate. It can also mean beloved or darling.
XI “Isaac” = Yitschaq. From tsachaq (to laugh, mock, play, make sport; this is laughing out loud whether in joy or in a scornful way). This is Isaac, meaning “he laughs.”

whom you love,XII and goXIII to the landXIV of Moriah,XV

Notes on verse 2b

XII “love” = aheb. This is to love, beloved, friend. It is to have affection for sexually or otherwise.
XIII “go” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
XIV “land” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
XV “Moriah” = Moriyyah. Related to {untranslated} in v1. 2x in OT. Perhaps from raah (to see, show, stare, think, view; to see in a literal or figurative sense) + Yah (the shortened form of the name of the God of Israel; God, Lord); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; God, Lord; the self-existent or eternal one); from havah (to become) or hayah (see note I above)}}. This is Moriah, perhaps meaning “seen of the Lord.”

and offerXVI him there as a burnt offeringXVII on oneXVIII of the mountains that I shall showXIX you.” 

Notes on verse 2c

XVI “offer” = alah. This is to go up, approach, ascend, be high, be a priority; to arise in a literal or figurative sense.
XVII “burnt offering” = olah. Related to “offer” in v2. From alah (see note XVI above). This is a step, stairs, or some kind of ascent. It is also used for whole burnt offerings, being the offering in which the whole things is burned and rises as smoke. Burnt offerings were the least common of the offerings: most were eaten, shared with the priest and the one bringing the offering.
XVIII “one” = echad. Perhaps from achad (to unify, continue on a path; figuratively, to gather one’s thoughts). This is the number one, first, united. It can also be alone, altogether, a certain, a few.
XIX “show” = amar. Literally, say or tell.

So Abraham rose earlyXX in the morning,XXI saddledXXII his donkey,XXIII and took twoXXIV of his young menXXV with him, and his son Isaac;

Notes on verse 3a

XX “rose early” = shakam. This is leaning one’s shoulder into a burden or load, whether a person or an animal. Thus, it meant starting or rising early.
XXI “morning” = boqer. From baqar (to seek, plow, break forth, admire, care for). This refers to the break of day. So it is dawn, early, morning, or morrow.
XXII “saddled” = chabash. This is to wrap tightly or bind, to bandage, or heal. It can be to saddle an animal or wrap a turban. Figuratively, it can mean to stop or to govern.
XXIII “donkey” = chamor. From chamar (to be red, blush). This is a male donkey.
XXIV “two” = shenayim. From sheni (double, again, another, second); from shanah (to fold, repeat, double, alter, or disguise). This is two, both, second, couple.
XXV “young men” = naar. May be from na’ar (to shake, toss up and down, tumble around). This is a child or a servant. It is a child in their active years so they could be aged anywhere from infancy to adolescence.

he cutXXVI the woodXXVII for the burnt offering, and set outXXVIII and went to the placeXXIX in the distance that God had shown him. 

Notes on verse 3b

XXVI “cut” = baqa. This is to break open, breach, divide, rip, shake, tear. It can also mean dash into pieces or being ready to burst.
XXVII “wood” = ets. Perhaps from atsah (to shut, fasten, firm up, to close one’s eyes). This is tree or other things related to trees like wood, sticks, or stalks. It can also refer to wood products like a plank or staff or gallows. Additionally, this can refer to a carpenter.
XXVIII “set out” = qum. To arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide. This is rising as in rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action. It can also be standing in a figurative sense.
XXIX “place” = maqom. Related to “set out” in v3. From qum (see note XXVIII above). This is a standing, which is to say a spot or space a place. It can also refer to a locality or a physical/mental condition. HaMaqom is also a Jewish name for God – the place, i.e. the Omnipresent One.

On the thirdXXX day Abraham looked upXXXI and sawXXXII the place far away.XXXIII 

Notes on verse 4

XXX “third” = shelishi. From the same as shalosh (three, fork, triad). This is third or one-third of something.
XXXI “looked up” = nasaayin. Literally “lifted up Abraham his eyes.” Nasa is to lift in a broad sense, literally and figuratively. So it could be to carry, take, or arise. It could also be bring forth, advance, accept. Ayin is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).
XXXII “saw” = raah. Perhaps related to “Moriah” in v2. See note XV above.
XXXIII “far away” = rachoq. From rachaq (to widen, become distant, cast, or remove in a literal or figurative sense). This is distant or far, whether of space or of time.

Then Abraham said to his young men, “StayXXXIV here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship,XXXV and then we will come backXXXVI to you.” 

Notes on verse 5

XXXIV “stay” = yashab. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.
XXXV “worship” = shachah. This is to bow down, make a humble entreaty, to do homage to royalty or to God.
XXXVI “come back” = shub. To turn back, return, turn away – literally or figuratively. Doesn’t necessarily imply going back to where you started from. This is also the root verb for the Hebrew word for repentance “teshubah.”

Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laidXXXVII it on his son Isaac, and he himselfXXXVIII carriedXXXIX the fireXL and the knife.XLI So the two of them walkedXLII on together.XLIII 

Notes on verse 6

XXXVII “laid” = sim. This is to put or place in a literal or figurative sense. It can be appoint, care, change, make, and may other things.
XXXVIII “himself” = yad. Literally “in his hand.” This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.
XXXIX “carried” = laqach. Same as “take” in v2. See note VII above.
XL “fire” = esh. This is fire, burning, flaming, hot. It is fire in a literal or figurative sense.
XLI “knife” = maakeleth. 4x in OT. From akal (to eat, devour, burn up, or otherwise consume; eating in a literal or figurative sense). This is something used to eat, which is to say, a knife.
XLII “walked” = halak. Same as “go” in v2. See note XIII above.
XLIII “together” = yachad. Related to “only” in v2. See note X above.

Isaac said to his fatherXLIV Abraham, “Father!”

And he said, “Here I am, my son.”

He said, “XLVThe fire and the wood are here, but where is the lambXLVI for a burnt offering?” 

Abraham said, “God himself will provideXLVII the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.

Notes on verses 7-8

XLIV “father” = ab. Related to “Abraham” in v1. See note V above.
XLV {untranslated} = hinneh. Same as “here I am” in v1. See note VI above.
XLVI “lamb” = seh. Perhaps from sha’ah (to make a loud noise or crash, devastate, rush). This is a lamb, sheep, or goat – a part of a flock.
XLVII “provide” = raah. Same as “saw” in v4. See note XXXII above.

When they cameXLVIII to the place that God had shown him, Abraham builtXLIX an altarL there and laid the wood in order.LI He boundLII his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 

Notes on verse 9

XLVIII “came” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
XLIX “built” = banah. Perhaps related to “son” in v2. See note IX above.
L “altar” = mizbeach. From zabach (to kill, slay, offer; slaughtering an animal to offer as a sacrifice). This is an altar.
LI “laid…in order” = arak. This is to arrange by setting in a row. It can also mean to set a battle, estimate, put in order, or compare.
LII “bound” = aqad. 1x in OT.  This is to tie or bind as with straps.

10 Then Abraham reached outLIII his handLIV and took the knife to killLV his son. 

Notes on verse 10

LIII “reached out” = shalach. This is to send out, away, send for, forsake. It can also mean to divorce or set a slave free.
LIV “hand” = yad. Same as “himself” in v6. See note XXXVIII above.
LV “kill” = shachat. This is to slaughter, slay, or beat. It can be slaying for a sacrifice or in a massacre.

11 But the angelLVI of the LordLVII calledLVIII to him from heaven,LIX and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”

And he said, “Here I am.” 

Notes on verse 11

LVI “angel” = malak. This is a messenger, an angel, or a deputy of some kind. Can be used for human messengers literally or for prophets, priests, or teachers as messengers of God. Also used for supernatural messengers i.e. angels.
LVII “Lord” = YHVH. Related to {untranslated} in v1 & “Moriah” in v2. See note XV above.
LVIII “called” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
LIX “heaven” = shamayim. Root may mean being lofty. This is sky, the air, or heaven. It is in a dual noun form so this might refer to the part of the sky where the clouds move on the one hand and the part beyond that where the sun, moon, and stars are on the other hand.

12 He said, “Do not layLX your hand on the boyLXI or doLXII anythingLXIII to him;

Notes on verse 12a

LX “lay” = shalach. Same as “reached out” in v10. See note LIII above.
LXI “boy” = naar. Same as “young men” in v3. See note XXV above.
LXII “do” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
LXIII “anything” = meumah. From the same as mum (defect – an ethical one or a literal bodily one). Its root may mean to stain. This can mean a speck or fault. More broadly, it can also refer to anything or nothing.

for now I knowLXIV that you fearLXV God, since you have not withheldLXVI your son, your only son, from me.” 

Notes on verse 12b

LXIV “know” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.
LXV “fear” = yare. This is to fear, be afraid, dreadful. It can also refer to fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect.
LXVI “withheld” = chasak. This is to restrain, refrain, or hold back. It can mean to spare, to preserve or to punish, depending on the context.

13 And Abraham looked upLXVII and sawLXVIII a ram,LXIX caughtLXX in a thicketLXXI by its horns.LXXII Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham calledLXXIII that place “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

Notes on verses 13-14

LXVII “looked up” = nasaayin. Literally “lifted up Abraham his eyes.” See note XXXI above.
LXVIII {untranslated} = hinneh. Same as “here I am” in v1. See note VI above.
LXIX “ram” = ayil. From the same as ul (mighty, strength, body, belly; root may mean to twist and that implies strength and power). This is strength so it is used to indicate things that are strong or powerful: political chiefs, rams, posts, trees, oaks.
LXX “caught” = achaz. This is to grasp, catch, seize, take and hold in possession. It can also be to be afraid or hold back.
LXXI “thicket” = sebak. 4x in OT. From sabak (to tangle, entwine). This is a thicket or copse.
LXXII “horns” = qeren. This is horn or hill. It can be a flask or cornet, ivory, altar corner, mountain peak, or figuratively power.
LXXIII “called” = qarashem. Literally “called Abraham the name.” Qara is the same as “called” in v11. See note LVIII above. Shem is related to “laid” in v6. Perhaps from sim (see note XXXVII above). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.

15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a secondLXXIV time from heaven, 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn,LXXV saysLXXVI the Lord: Because you have done this,LXXVII and have not withheld your son, your only son, 

Notes on verses 15-16

LXXIV “second” = sheni. Related to “two” in v3. See note XXIV above.
LXXV “sworn” = shaba. Perhaps from sheba (seven – the number of perfection/sacred fullness). This is to swear, curse, vow, make a covenant. Properly, it can mean to be complete. This is to seven oneself – as in affirming something so strongly it is as though it were said seven times.
LXXVI “says” = neum. From na’am (to speak a prophecy; properly, to whisper, which implies saying an oracle). This is an utterance or speaking an oracle.
LXXVII {untranslated} = dabar. Same as “things” in v1. See note II above.

17 I will indeed blessLXXVIII you, and I will make your offspringLXXIX as numerousLXXX as the starsLXXXI of heaven

Notes on verse 17a

LXXVIII “indeed bless” = barak + barak. This is to kneel, to bless. It is blessing God as part of worship and adoration or blessing humans to help them. It can be used as a euphemism to say curse God. The word is repeated twice – the first time as an Infinitive Absolute. The Infinitive Absolute serves to emphasize the sentiment of the word. It is rather like Foghorn Leghorn’s speech pattern, “I said, I said.”
LXXIX “offspring” = zera. From zara (to sow or scatter seed; conceive or yield). This is seed or sowing. It can, thus, mean a fruit, plant, sowing time, child, offspring, or posterity.
LXXX “make…numerous” = rabah + rabah. This is increasing in any aspect whether quantity, authority, size, quality, greatness, etc. The first is also an infinitive absolute (see note LXXVIII above).
LXXXI “stars” = kokab. Perhaps from the same as kavah (to prick, blister, burn, scorch). This is a star as shining, stargaze. Figuratively, can mean prince.

and as the sandLXXXII that is on the seashore.LXXXIII And your offspring shall possessLXXXIV the gateLXXXV of their enemies,LXXXVI 

Notes on verse 17b

LXXXII “sand” = chol. From chul (whirling around so dancing as in a circle or writhing in pain; used particularly for the pain of childbirth or from writhing due to fear; can also be falling in pain or waiting). This is sand, perhaps because of its roundness or the way that the grains can whirl.
LXXXIII “seashore” = saphah + yam. Saphah is lip, edge border, bank – used for a boundary. It can also be speech or language. Yam root may mean to roar. This is the sea, often referring to the Mediterranean. It comes from the root in the sense of the roar of crashing surf. This word is sometimes used for rivers or other sources of water. It can mean to the west or to the south.
LXXXIV “possess” = yarash. This is inheriting or dispossessing. It refers to occupying or colonizing – taking territory by driving out the previous inhabitants and living there instead of them. By implication, it can mean to seize or rob, to expel, ruin, or impoverish.
LXXXV “gate” = shaar. May be related to sha’ar (to calculate or reckon; may come from a root that means to open up or split). This is a gate, door, or other opening like a port.
LXXXVI “enemies” = oyeb. From ayab (to hate or be hostile to). This is a foe or enemy as one that you are hostile to.

18 and by your offspring shall all the nationsLXXXVII of the earthLXXXVIII gain blessingLXXXIX for themselves, because you have obeyedXC my voice.”XCI 

Notes on verse 18

LXXXVII “nations” = goy. From the same root as gevah (the back, person, or body); related to gev (among); related to gaah (to rise up). This is nation or people. Often used to refer to Gentiles or foreign nations. It can also be used figuratively for a group of animals. This is where the Yiddish “goy” comes from.
LXXXVIII “earth” = erets. Same as “land” in v2. See note XIV above.
LXXXIX “gain blessing” = barak. Same as “indeed bless” in v17. See note LXXVIII above.
XC “obeyed” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
XCI “voice” = qol. This is a sound, used often for human voices. Also used when God speaks or angels, animals or instruments. It can be a cry or a noise, thunder or earthquakes and so on.

Image credit: “Binding of Isaac” at the Or Torah Synagogue in Acre, Israel.

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply