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AFTER these things, God tempted Abraham, and said to him: Abraham, Abraham. And he answered: Here I am.

Ver. 1.  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.  Ch.


2 He said to him: Take thy only begotten son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and go into the land of vision: and there thou shalt offer him for a holocaust upon one of the mountains which I will shew thee.

Ver. 2.  Thy only begotten, or thy most beloved, as if he had been an only child; in which sense the word is often taken, 1 Par. xxix. 1.  Ismael was still living; but Isaac was the only son of Sara, the most dignified wife.


--- Lovest. Heb. "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.  Sept. "high," being situated on Mount Moria, by which name it was afterwards distinguished, ver. 14.  M.


--- 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.  H.

3 So Abraham rising up in the night, saddled his ass: and took with him two young men, and Isaac his son: and when he had cut wood for the holocaust he went his way to the place which God had commanded him.

Ver. 3.  In the night: de nocte, Heb. "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.  C.

4 And on the third day, lifting up his eyes, he saw the place afar off. 5 And he said to his young men: Stay you here with the ass: I and the boy will go with speed as far as yonder, and after we have worshipped, will return to you.

Ver. 5.  Will return.  He hoped, perhaps, that God would restore Isaac to life: (Heb. xi. 19.) and he could not well express himself otherwise to the men, who were not acquainted with the divine decree.  C.

6 And he took the wood for the holocaust, and laid it upon Isaac his son: and he himself carried in his hands fire and a sword. And as they two went on together, 7 Isaac said to his father: My father. And he answered: What wilt thou, son? Behold, saith he, fire and wood: where is the victim for the holocaust?

Ver. 7.  Holocaust.  These were probably the only sacrifices yet in use.  C.


--- The conversation of Isaac could not fail to pierce the heart of his father.  M.

8 And Abraham said: God will provide himself a victim for an holocaust, my son. So they went on together. 9 And they came to the place which God had shewn him, where he built an altar, and laid the wood in order upon it: and when he had bound Isaac his son, he laid him on the altar upon the pile of wood.

Ver. 9.  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.  H.


10 And he put forth his hand and took the sword, to sacrifice his son.

Ver. 10.  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: (C.) 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.  H.

The Trial Of Abrahams Faith

The Trial Of Abrahams Faith

And he put forth his hand and took the sword, to sacrifice his son.

11 And behold an angel of the Lord from heaven called to him, saying: Abraham, Abraham. And he answered: Here I am.

Abraham Sacrifices Isaac

Abraham Sacrifices Isaac

And behold an angel of the Lord from heaven called to him, saying: Abraham, Abraham. And he answered: Here I am.

12 And he said to him: Lay not thy hand upon the boy, neither do thou any thing to him: now I know that thou fearest God, and hast not spared thy only begotten son for my sake.

Ver. 12.  Hast not spared.  Thus the intentions of the heart become worthy of praise, or of blame, even when no exterior effect is perceived.  H.


13 Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw behind his back a ram amongst the briers sticking fast by the horns, which he took and offered for a holocaust instead of his son.

Ver. 13.  He took; God having given him the dominion over it.  C.

14 And he called the name of that place, The Lord seeth. Whereupon even to this day it is said: In the mountain the Lord will see.

Ver. 14.  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.  M.


--- Or, he will provide, alluding to what was said, v. 8.

15 And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, saying: 16 By my own self have I sworn, saith the Lord: because thou hast done this thing, and hast not spared thy only begotten son for my sake:

Ver. 16.  Own self; as he could not swear by any one greater.  Heb. vi. 13.  Jer. xxii. 5.


17 I will bless thee, and I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand that is by the sea shore: thy seed shall possess the gates of their enemies.

Ver. 17.  Stars and dust, comprising the just and sinners.


--- Gates, shall judge and rule.  H.

18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice.


19 Abraham returned to his young men, and they went to Bersabee together, and he dwelt there.

20 After these things, it was told Abraham that Melcha also had borne children to Nachor his brother.

Ver. 20.  Children.  These are mentioned here, to explain the marriage of Isaac with Rebecca, the grand-daughter of Nachor and Melcha.

21 Hus the firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Camuel the father of the Syrians,

Ver. 21.  Hus, who peopled Ausitis in Arabia, the desert, where Job lived.


--- Buz, from whom sprung Elihu the Busite, the Balaam of the Jews.  S. Jerom


--- Syrians, called Camiletes, to the west of the Euphrates; or father of the Cappadocians.  C.

22 And Cased, and Azau, and Pheldas, and Jedlaph, 23 And Bathuel, of whom was born Rebecca: These eight did Melcha bear to Nachor Abraham's brother. 24 And his concubine, named Roma, bore Tabee, and Gaham, and Tahas, and Maacha.

Ver. 24.  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.  H.

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Holy Spirit