The Binding of Isaac

Genesis 22:1-24

After all that has happened, God chooses to test Abraham. He tells him to take his only, beloved son, Isaac, and raise him up as an offering on a mountain which He will show him. Abraham takes Isaac, some servants, supplies and the donkey, and heads out early to fulfil God’s wishes.


After three days travelling, Abraham identifies the place from a distance. He tells the servants to stay with the donkey and he and Isaac will complete the offering. Along the way, in the only recorded conversation between the two in the Bible, Isaac asks his father where the lamb for the offering is. Abraham assures his son that God will show them the lamb. The two continue along their way.


When they arrive, Abraham prepares the wood and binds his son,placing him atop the wood. He stretches out his hand to slaughter Isaac, when an angel calls out from heaven to stop him, saying God now knows Abraham would withhold nothing from Him. Abraham then spies a ram caught in a thicket and offers it in place of his son. The angel then calls out again from heaven, telling Abraham that on account of his actions, his blessings will grow and his descendents will inherit the land. The nations of the world will be blessed because of Abraham’s descendants, as well. The Israel Bible points out that we can see the fulfilment of this today, as Israel has become a leader and great contributor in many fields, such as technology, medicine and humanitarian aid, bringing great improvements to the world at large.


Abraham then returns to Beer-sheba with his servants.


After a time, news comes to Abraham that his brother, Nahor, has had children, including Bethuel, father of Rebecca.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

The Torah says Abraham returns with his servants, but there is no mention of Isaac. We know he comes back, though, because next week’s portion deals with his marriage. What do you think happend to him? Where does he end up?

Comments ( 9 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

  • I think there might be 2 reasons:
    1. Jitschaq suddenly became aware of his own responsabilty towards G-d. (he almost lost his life) and needed to put things right with the Almighty One. His father realized that he had grown up and let him choose his own way from now on.
    2 Jitschaq went maybe to the well Lachai Roi (the well of the ONE who sees me) in the desert in order to have an encounter with G-d and was refreshed in that place.

    • David Noel Boehm

      Is it true that Isaac was in his 20's or 30's when Abraham was going to sacrifice him???

  • Suejean and c77 you both make good points. I have always believed they returned together but now I must study again. You both make sense.

  • Later in Genesis 24:62 it says that Isaac came from the way of Beer Lahai Roi for he lived in the South. I understood in 22:19 that Abraham returned to his young men alone and (the young men) "they rose" which I thought indicated they had been waiting either sitting, kneeling or laying down waiting for Abraham and that Abraham and the two young men went to Beersheba. I always thought Isaac went on to live his life after having been taught the most valuable lesson we can learn as a believer that God requires complete surrender on our part especially for the most valuable thing He has given us.

  • This Hebrew word "יַחְדָּו" from verse 22:19 is translated as "together" and the Sages say that Avraham and Yitzak joined with the two waiting for them below and went "together" (in one mind) to Beersheba.
    This is the same word used in verse 22:8 meaning they were in agreement. The Jewish sages say that" this is the third time that father and son went together with the same mind". This is taken from the comments in the Chumash. (R'Hirsch"
    I see nothing in the verse to indicate that they separated at that time…..
    Baruch Hashem.

    • I am forced to agree with you SueJean, because Yitzachk (Isaac) was only a boy then or a teenager, and this was a three days' journey from Mount Moriah to where Abraham lived then. Therefore I don't think Yitzachk stayed behind.

  • It is possible, as Sheila has suggested, that Abraham had faith that somehow Isaac would return, on account of God’s promise. It is also possible that Abraham made what he saw as a pragmatic statement to put the servants at ease and God made sure it eventually came true. Jewish tradition does indicate that Isaac does not leave the mountain when his father does, but instead, after such an intense spiritual experience, remains to commune with God and goes home much later.

  • Herman

    I wonder if Avraham did realise what he said. “G’d will provide the sacrifice”. A very prophetic and deep saying. Though Jitschaq (age 37?) submissively laid down himself, he was not the long expected Messiach, Adam and Chava had already looked forward to. G’d will provide a sacrifice. Afterwards Avraham might have understood. It really was an act of faith for Jischaq. In gratefulness Jitschaq went into the silence to “speak to” and worship his G’d and thank HIM for his life.

  • Sheila

    Gen22:5 —- Abramam told the young men that —- the boy and I will go over there to worship; then we’ll come back to you —- this indicates to me that Abraham believed that if necessary God would raise Isaac from the dead as he was God’s chosen seed line to fulfil the covenant promise, so was raised as that heir in the household. Please through more light on this Ahuva . Thank you.

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