Genesis 22:1-18

Genesis 22:1-18
Holy Saturday ABC


After these thingsA GodB testedC Abraham.D He said to him, “Abraham!”

And he said, “Here I am.”E 

Notes on verse 1

A “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.
B “God” = Elohim.
C “tested” = nasah. This is to test or tray or assay.
D “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.
E “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, “TakeF your son, your onlyG son Isaac,H whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah,I and offerJ him there as a burnt offeringK on one of the mountains that I shall showL you.” 

Notes on verse 2

F {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.”
G “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.
H “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.”
I “Moriah” = moriyyah. 2x in OT. Perhaps from raah (to see in a literal or figurative sense; also to experience or discern) + 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 (to be, become, happen)}. This is Moriah, perhaps meaning “seen of the Lord.”
J “offer” = alah. This to go up, approach, ascend, be high, be a priority; to arise in a literal or figurative sense.
K “burnt offering” = olah. Related to “offer” in v2. From alah (see note J 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.
L “show” = amar. Literally tell or say.

3 So Abraham rose earlyM in the morning,N saddledO his donkey,P and took two of his young menQ with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the woodR for the burnt offering, and set outS and went to the placeT in the distance that God had shown him. 

Notes on verse 3

M “rose early” = shakam. This is leaning one’s should into a  burden or load, whether a person or an animal. Thus, it meant starting or rising early.
N “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.
O “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.
P “donkey” = chamor. From chamar (to be red, blush). This is a male donkey.
Q “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.
R “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.
S “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.
T “place” = maqom. Related to “set out” in v3. From qum (see note S 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.

4 On the third day Abraham looked upU and sawV the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, “StayW here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship,X and then we will come backY to you.”

Notes on verses 4-5

U “Abraham looked up” = nasa + Abraham + et + ayin. 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).
V “saw” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense, to think or view.
W “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.
X “worship” = shachah. This is to bow down, make a humble entreaty, to do homage to royalty or to God.
Y “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 laid it on his son Isaac, and he himselfZ carried the fire and the knife.AA So the two of them walked on together.BB Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!”

And he said, “Here I am, my son.”

He said, “CC The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lambDD for a burnt offering?” 

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

Notes on verses 6-8

Z “himself” = yad. Literally “in his hand.”
AA “knife” = maakeleth. 4x in OT. From akal (to eat in a literal or figurative sense; devour, consume). This is something used to eat, which is to say, a knife.
BB “together” = yachad. Related to “only” in v2. From yachad (see note G above). This is alike, together, both, a unit.
CC {untranslated} = hinneh. Same as “here I am” in v1. See note E above.
DD “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.
EE “provide” = raah. Same as “saw” in v4. This is “provide” in the sense of “see to.”

When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham builtFF an altarGG there and laid the wood in order.HH He boundII his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 

Notes on verse 9

FF “built” = banah. Perhaps related to “son” in v2. This is to build in a literal or figurative sense, fashion, rebuild, restore, or have children.
GG “altar” = mizbeach. From zabach (this is to kill, slay, offer; slaughtering an animal to offer as a sacrifice). This is an altar.
HH “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.
II “bound” = aqad. 1x in OT. This is to bind or tie down with strips.

10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to killJJ his son. 11 But the angelKK of the LordLL called to him from heaven,MM and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”

And he said, “Here I am.” 

Notes on verses 10-11

JJ “kill” = shachat. This is to slaughter, slay, or beat. It can be slaying for a sacrifice or in a massacre.
KK “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.
LL “Lord” = YHVH. Perhaps related to “Moriah” in v2. See note I above.
MM “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 layNN your hand on the boy or do anythingOO to him; for now I knowPP that you fearQQ God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 

Notes on verse 12

NN “lay” = shalach. Same as “reached out” in v10.
OO “anything” = meumah. From the same as mum (blemish or defect whether literal or ethical). This is a speck, which implies a fault. With a negative word, it means nothing.
PP “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.
QQ “fear” = yare. From the same as yare (to fear, be afraid, dreadful; also fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect). This is fearful or morally reverent.

13 And Abraham looked upRR and sawSS a ram,TT caught in a thicketUU by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 

14 So Abraham called that place “The Lord will provide”;VV as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

Notes on verses 13-14

RR “Abraham looked up” = nasa + Abraham + et + ayin. Same as v4. See note U.
SS {untranslated} = hinneh. Same as “here I am” in v1. See note E.
TT “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.
UU “thicket” = sebak. 4x in OT. From sabak (to entwine, wrap around, interweave). This is a thicket or copse.
VV “Lord will provide” = YHVH + raah. YHVH is same as “Lord” in v11 – see note LL above. Raah is the same as “saw” in v4 – see note V.

15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn,WW saysXX the Lord: Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will indeed blessYY you, and I will make your offspringZZ as numerousAAA as the starsBBB of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possessCCC the gate of their enemies, 18 and by your offspring shall all the nationsDDD of the earth gain blessing for themselves, because you have obeyedEEE my voice.”

Notes on verses 15-18

WW “sworn” = sheba. From sheba (seven, by sevenfold; it can also be used to imply a week or an indefinite number; symbolically, this is the number of fullness, sacredness, perfection). This verb, properly means to be complete – literally, to seven yourself. In terms of oath taking, this is to swear with the same seriousness as if you had declared the thing seven times.
XX “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.
YY “will 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.”
ZZ “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.
AAA “make…numerous” = rabah + rabah. This is increasing in any aspect whether quantity, authority, size, quality, greatness, etc. The first of these two verbs is also an Infinitive Absolute.
BBB “stars” = kokab. Perhaps from the same as kavah (to prick, blister, burn, scorch). This is a star as shining, stargaze. Figuratively, can mean prince.
CCC “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.
DDD “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.
EEE “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.

Image Credit: “Sacrifice of Isaac” from the Samaritan Museum on Mount Gerizim.

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