“He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.’” (Genesis 22:2, ESV)
The land of Moriah corresponds with Jerusalem. Mount Moriah is the most likely location of the Temple Mount. Many believe that Mount Moriah is the site of Isaac’s close call, but scripture doesn’t share the exact hill in the land of Moriah. Many believe—and I lean in this direction—that the binding of Isaac took place on Mount Gihon, also known as Mount Calvary and Golgatha.
Many scholars put the age of Isaac at the time of his binding (since he was never actually sacrificed) at between 18 and 37. Adam Clark puts him at 33. Rabbinic tradition puts him at 37. At any rate, he was old enough to carry all the wood necessary to burn up a sacrificial lamb up a mountain!
Scripture records that Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born (Genesis 21:5). So, that puts him at somewhere between 118 and 137 years old at the time of Isaac’s binding. Much is made of Abraham’s faith as he prepared to plunge his knife into the chest of the son through whom God had promised to multiply Abraham’s descendants. But for me, I see the obedience and faith of Isaac even more.
“And Isaac said to his father Abraham, ‘My father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ He said, ‘Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’ “Abraham said, ‘God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son….’” (Genesis 22:7-8a, ESV)
Isaac’s relative youth not only gave him the strength to carry the load of wood up the mountain, but it gave him the strength and speed to have fought off and escaped a man 100 years his senior. And yet, he silently allowed himself to be bound and laid on the altar! He knew full well what was coming, and he didn’t resist. Even as Abraham raised the knife, there was no effort on Isaac’s part to squirm away. Sound familiar? It should!
“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7, ESV)
The story continues as an angel of the LORD stops Abraham from sacrificing his son. At that point, Abraham sees a ram caught by its horns in a bush, and sacrifices the ram instead. After this, Abraham called the place Jehovah Jireh.
Jireh has often been translated as “provide,” in keeping with Abraham’s words in Genesis 22:8a: “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” But according to Spiros Zodhiates (Complete Word Study Dictionary: OT And NT For E-SWORD By Spiros Zodhiates) it is literally “the LORD will see to it.” Both words come from the same root, which carry the primary meaning “to see.” The difference in translation is nuanced, but I think looking at it from both translations serves to open our eyes.
God saw to it that a sacrifice, eternally efficacious, was provided.
Most of the time, when people use the name Jehovah Jireh, they take it to mean that God will provide for our needs, as He has promised elsewhere (e.g., Philippians 4:19). But Abraham’s actions are prophetic, foreshadowing God’s provision (seeing to it) of a Lamb that would take away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
We are called to bear the Name of the God who will “see to” the salvation we have received by faith in Jesus with all diligence.
As always, these are the musings of a mindful disciple. Blessings on your week!
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