The Kraig Josiah Rice
Devotional Bible Commentary on Genesis

Genesis chapters 22 and 23

Kraig J. Rice
www.7-star-admiral.com

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
(Clicking on these links will move you down this web page)
Genesis chapters twenty two and twenty three
  Chapter 22- Abraham's only son a sacrifice
  Gen. 22:1 - 19 God tested Abraham
  God tests the faith of individuals
  Does God have our total commitment?
  The bible Doctrine of Substitution
  Jehovah Jireh: God will provide
  Isaac was willing to die
  Wood had to be carried uphill
  A 3 day journey was made
  God provided a ram
  God's motive was love
  We might lose someone in death
  Abraham's only son?
  Faith should lead to good works
  Abraham had physical and spiritual seed
  Human sacrifice was stopped for awhile
  Gen. 22:20 - 24 God had a godly wife for Isaac
  Chapter 23- The death and burial of Sarah
  Gen. 23:1 - 20 Sarah's obituary
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I mostly quote scriptures from the Old King James Translation of the Bible (the authorized 1611 version)
Many words on this web page are color coded:

The words of God are in red that symbolize His shed blood.
The words of Scripture are in purple that symbolize His royalty.
A devotional commentary is different from an exegetical commentary. In a devotional commentary like this one I can give the application of a verse rather than just the interpretation of a verse.






Genesis Chapter 22
Abraham's only son a sacrifice

Abraham was tested:
"And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him:
"Abraham"
and he said, behold, here I am. And He said:
"take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of."
"And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, my father: and he said, here am I, my son. And he said, behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, my son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And The Angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said:
"Abraham, Abraham"
and he said, Here am I. And He said:
"Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from Me."
And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah jireh: as it is said to this day, in the mount of the Lord it shall be seen. And The Angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, and said:
By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed My voice." "So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba"
(Genesis 22:1-19).

God spoke to Abraham and told him to take his son, Isaac, to the land of Moriah. The name Moriah has two meanings. One name means "bitterness of the Lord." The other name means "chosen by Jehovah". On top of one of the mountains in this mountain range, Mount Moriah, was where the city of Jerusalem would eventually be built. God told him to offer Isaac there as a burnt sacrifice. Some folks in other nations were offering their children in the fire as worship to the god of this world, Satan. Abraham was concerned that he might be doing the devil's bidding. But, Abraham went to the place where God told him. Where was this place? It was a mountain top later to be called Mount Calvary. It was a journey of three days for Abraham and his friends.

And there on Mount Calvary, Abraham made a stone altar, and took a knife to slay his only son. I can see where the name "bitterness of the Lord" appears pertinent here. But God stopped him and offered a ram as a substitute. Then God blessed him for his obedience. The name for the mountain "chosen by Jehovah" appears to fit quite nicely at this instance.

What was going on in these happenings? What was God doing? What is He telling us in these passages of scripture? God was showing us what He planned to do with His own Son many years later. Abraham offering his son is a type of God the Father offering His Son. God (the Father) was going to send His own Son (Jesus Christ) to the very same mountain top and God was going to let Him be slain there as a sacrifice of love. A sacrifice for what? A sacrifice to God for the sins of mankind. But there would be no substitute for Him. Christ had to die. However, the love story does not end there. At the end of three days, Christ resurrected from the grave being victorious over death, hell, and the grave.

So God acted out in the life of Abraham with his son, Isaac, His plan for the spiritual salvation of the human race.


"Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition..."
(1 Corinthians 10:11).
There are many nuggets of truth that we can glean from this true story. Let us take a look at some of them:


God tests the faith of individuals:
The word tempt is better translated "test." God put Abraham's faith and obedience to the test. It was a trial of faith about the mystery of the Father giving the Son to die for the sins of mankind
(Hebrews 11:17-20). Tests and trials come our way to help us grow in our faith. The ultimate goal is to make us more like Christ. Many times God receives praise, honor, and glory when one of His children pass such a test. It has been said that God did not want the sacrifice of Isaac as much as He wanted the surrender of Abraham's will.

God did not want Isaac's life
He wanted Abraham's heart

Does God have our total commitment to Him?
Do you or I hold something back in our life rather than offering it all to God? Some folks may want to hold on to some material possession they own, hold on to a failed relationship, hold on to their children or grandchildren, or hold on to their sin or something else. They place that in front of their relationship with God. God wants one hundred percent. Abraham did not hold anything back from God. He willingly offered it all. Do you and I have the faith and commitment to God to do the same thing?


Substitution:
The bible Doctrine of Substitution is revealed here. As the ram was substituted for Isaac (the ram took Isaac's place), so Christ was substituted for you and I. You and I deserved to die for our own sins. As Isaac arose to life again from the altar (the intent was for him to die) so also Christ arose from the grave (after He died). This is life coming forth from death. Christ died in our place as our substitute. He died so that you and I could live (eternally).


Jehovah Jireh:
God is called Jehovah Jireh meaning "God will provide." What did God provide for Abraham? He provided a sacrificial ram. And God's timing was absolutely perfect. How is that relevant? The prophet Isaiah revealed part of what God provided for us in regards to the passion (the suffering and death) of Christ in
Isaiah 53:5.


Isaac was willing to die:

Isaac, as a type of Christ, was "obedient unto death"
(Philippians 2:8). It is possible that Isaac was about 33 years old or so at this time. Jesus Christ was 33 years old when He was sacrificed there. Christ laid His life down there because of the great love that He has for you.

Christ and Isaac were each appointed to die on the same identical mountain top. This mountain top is also called Mount Calvary (where Golgotha, the place of the skull is located). Abraham offered Isaac on this mountain top. God the Father offered Christ on this same mountain top many years later. Jerusalem is there today. By using the same mountain top, God linked this true story in Genesis with the death and resurrection of Christ. In other words, many years later, the Son of God, on that very same mountain top, would offer Himself as a divine sacrifice for the forgiveness of the sins of all humanity.

The sacrifice of Isaac is a type of the sacrifice of Christ. Isaac was the only begotten son of his father. Christ is called the only begotten Son of God
(John 3:16). These verses have deep spiritual meaning in reference to God the Father who "spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all"
(Romans 8:32). Isaac was a willing sacrifice and Christ was a willing sacrifice. What are you and I willing to die for?


Wood had to be carried uphill:
Isaac carried the wood (for the sacrifice) up the hill as Christ carried His cross made of wood (for His sacrifice on our behalf) up the same hill
(John 19:17). Isaac was laid on an altar while Christ was laid on a cross. The cross of Christ becomes our altar, and, spiritually speaking, this is where we meet God.



A three day journey was made:
There was a three day journey. On the third day, Abraham received Isaac back alive, figuratively speaking, from the dead. Christ was raised bodily on the third day from the dead.


God provided a ram:
Abraham was a prophet (Genesis 20:7). He spoke prophetically when he referred to the Lamb of God that God would provide for Himself (years later)
(John 1:29). But the animal that God chose that day with Abraham was not a lamb but a ram. The ram was sacrificed in the Old Testament to show the owner's consecration to God and for a sin and trespass offering
(Leviticus 8:22, 19:22). The word consecration means "to have declared sacred." Abraham had a consecrated life to God. Do you and I have a consecrated life to God?


God's motive was love:
Love, in the form of sacrifice, was being exchanged between father and son. Abraham's son was spared because an animal was substituted for the sacrifice
(Hebrews 11:19). God's Son was not spared because God's love would not allow it
(John 3:16). Roman nails did not hold Christ to the cross. He could have called for 12 legions of angels to deliver Him
(Matthew 26:53). The only thing that held Christ to that cross was His love. His great love that He has for you.

The Angel of the Lord is Jesus Christ before He came to earth as a human. God had Abraham act out the redemption story that showed God's great love and goodness towards mankind. Abraham was allowed to feel part of what God would feel (on that same mountain top many years later) when God sacrificed His only Son there. In a sense, one might say that Christ was beholding His own sacrifice. Abraham longed to see this day of Christ and did see it in representation
(John 8:56). This representation might have been an answer to Abraham's prayers.


Abraham's only son?
Abraham had more than one son. Why does God make the statement that Abraham had only one? Ishmael and his sons by Keturah were not counted as Abraham's sons in this instance because the blood line of the Messiah flowed through Isaac only. God's covenant blessing included Isaac only because Ishmael and the rest had been cast away and disinherited, leaving Isaac as the only legal son and heir left. Do the Arabs today, descendants of Ishmael, have any claim on the land promised to Israel? No. That land was promised by God to Israel and it belongs to them by covenant deed to Abraham through Isaac- and the national history of Israel also proves it.


Faith should lead to good works:
Faith and works are seen here. Abraham was a man of faith because he believed God. When God told him something, Abraham believed God and acted upon it. Abraham demonstrated his faith by his righteous actions. Faith has to produce something. In other words faith leads to action. Faith without action is no good (dead). The Apostle James mentions the works of faith in
(James 2:21-23). Some folks may not be able to look at your heart but they can know you by your works- by what you do or don't do. Abraham was justified before God by his faith and he was known by men because of his works.


Abraham had physical seed (descendants) and spiritual seed:
All physical descendants of Abraham are his physical seed including the nation of Israel. This is because of God's covenant with Abraham.

The gentiles (non-Hebrews) are not included in this physical seed from Abraham so how can God's promise "in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" be true? It is true because God has spiritual seed as well as physical seed
(Galatians 3:29). When a person accepts Jesus Christ, then Christ adopts that person. When we are spiritually united to Christ then we are also spiritually united to Abraham. We become Abraham's spiritual children. God adopts His gentile children to be His own heirs and His promise is also to them spiritually
(Romans 8:15 & 23, 9:4; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5). The Apostle Paul further explains this spiritual connection. It appears that God's saved gentile children, like once rejected branches, are now grafted spiritually, by faith, onto the root and fatness of the olive tree, Israel, through Christ
(Romans 11:17-24). So, the church can claim Abraham as one of it's spiritual fathers
(Galatians 3:14-16). Christ is the great blessing of the world because He became a sacrifice for the salvation of mankind. The only blessing that all nations have today is what they have through Christ. The church has been blessed because of God's promise to Abraham
(Acts 3:25).

Some folks think that all saved gentiles are spiritual Hebrews. You can have that opinion if you want to, but, in my opinion, Hebrews are different from gentiles in many ways
(Acts 15:20, 29; 21:25).


We might lose someone in death:
Isaac was bound unto death- his hands and feet were probably tied. Abraham was about to lose his son. You and I can lose a loved one by death. Sometimes, God, by His providence, calls us to part with our Isaac by death. We may dearly love that person
(1 Samuel 18:3) but we are comforted in knowing that he or she rests safely in the arms of Jesus.

Isaac showed his faith in God by allowing himself to be tied up and sacrificed
(Genesis 17:15-17). Do you and I have faith in God to trust Him when things seem to be spinning out of control in our life? When nothing in life seems to make any sense? When faith seems far away and out of reach? There is an old saying: "when you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on."



Human sacrifice was stopped for awhile:
Abraham witnessed to his pagan neighbors about God. Some of the Philistines at that time offered human lives to Molech. They stopped doing this for a time due to Abraham's witness to them that God hated human sacrifice.


God was preparing a godly wife for Isaac:
"And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor; Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram, and Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel. And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham's brother. And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah"
(Genesis 22:20-24).

Entire families who love the Lord are a real blessing to God in many ways. In this instance, God was already preparing a godly wife for Isaac.

Isaac did not know what God was doing for him. What God was doing for him was wonderful. God wanted Isaac to trust Him. In the same way, you and I may not know what God is doing for us. Whatever it is, it is wonderful
(Matthew 7:7-11). God wants you and I to trust Him.






Genesis Chapter 23
The death and burial of Sarah

Sarah's obituary:
"And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her. And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying: I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight. And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him: hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead. And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth. And he communed with them, saying: if it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and entreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you. And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying: nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead. And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land. And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying: but if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there. And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him: my lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead. And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant. And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city. And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan. And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a buryingplace by the sons of Heth"
(Genesis 23:1-20).

This chapter deals with Sarah's obituary. Why is her obituary in the bible? What is God telling us? I believe that Sarah was a good example for all women to follow
(Proverbs 31:10-31).

Here is a possible obituary for her:
She loved the Lord and was a lady of faith.
She prayed and listened to the Lord.
She loved her husband and son. She was a good wife and mother.
She was faithful to Abraham and never cheated on him.
She had a quiet and gentle spirit.
She was a good cook.
She had an inner beauty of the heart- good moral character.
She was physically attractive.
When she was not at her best, it was still ok.
And she had other qualities that are not listed here.

Sarah was 127 years old when she died. She was buried in the Promised Land. Why? Because she and her husband had the hope of a national future in that land. Their actions were based on faith in what God had said.

Her final resting place was in the literal Promised Land. Our final resting place should be in the spiritual Promised Land (Heaven). That is our ultimate goal and we will make it with God's help.

Abraham and her were strangers and sojourners in the land that God willed them to have. Abraham wanted to be buried in that land so that when the resurrection came, he and Sarah would be raised from the dead there.

Now, Abraham was alone without his wife. He was lonely and had to learn to cope without her. Abraham grieved for her. I lost my wife in death due to breast cancer many years ago. A widower can still keep on loving his wife, even after she is gone. But the years go by and time heals all wounds. And life goes on.

Why did Abraham buy land that God promised would be his? It wasn't his yet. He had to wait until God legally gave that land and that would not happen for hundreds of years in the future. Therefore, he purchased what he needed. Today, Abraham and Sarah's burial place is about 12.4 kilometers (20 miles) south of Jerusalem at Hebron. In recent times, a Moslem mosque was built over the cave.

Sarah was 90 years old when Isaac was born. Isaac was probably 37 years old when she died.

What is the relevance? God wants to remind us that we should look forward to a better life in Heaven than what we have here:
Jesus said unto her, I AM the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live
(John 11:25).



A name study:
Sarah died in Kirjatharba. Kirjath-arba means "city of four" or "fourth city". The same city was also named Hebron that means "friendship or association". So one could say that Sarah died in the fourth friendliest city in the area.

Abraham spoke to the sons of Heth. The name, Heth, has two meanings. One meaning is "to speak" but the other is "trembling". So one could say that Abraham spoke to the sons of Heth while they were trembling.

Abraham bought the field of Ephron, son of Zohar, that was in Machpelah which was before Mamre. The name Ephron means "fawn-like" or "dust", Zohar means "tawny" or "dryness", Machpelah means "double", and Mamre means "set with trees, strength or fatness". So one could say that Abraham purchased a field of dust that was doubly dry but also planted with trees.

Abraham purchase it from a Hittite. The name Hittite means one "who fears" or "to shout". So one could say that Abraham purchased the field from one who feared to sell it.

One can have fun with name meanings in the bible book of Genesis. Perhaps you can come up with some other names and meanings in the book.



Genesis chapter 24






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Genesis chapter 21






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