1 And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had spoken. 2 For Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time that God had spoken to him. 3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac 4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac at eight days old as God had commanded him. 5 And Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 6 And Sarah said, God has made me laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.
- The name ‘Isaac’ means laughter.
- Genesis 18:14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD?
- Psalm 126:2-3 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then they said among the heathen, The LORD has done great things for them. 3The LORD has done great things for us; of which we are glad.
7 And she said, Who could have said to Abraham will Sarah nurse children? For I have born him a son in his old age. 8 And the child grew and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the day that Isaac was weaned. 9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born to Abraham, mocking. 10 So she said to Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman will not be heir with my son, with Isaac. 11 And this was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son. 12 And God said to Abraham, Do not let it be grievous in your sight because of the boy, and because of your bondwoman; in all that Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed will be called. 13 And also, from the son of the bondwoman I will make a nation, because he is your seed.
- God grants the desires of our hearts.
- He makes nations.
- God comforted Abraham with outrageous blessings for Ishmael also.
- The Maker of all things is more delightful than all the things that He has made.
- Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD; and he will give you the desires of your heart.
14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she left and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.
- Abraham trusted these two people into God’s care.
- He loved Ishmael and therefore was grieved.
- He sent them away with very little provision though he was very rich.
- He knew that God’s dealing with them would bring eternal results, not just temporal comfort.
- No matter how much provision Abraham made for Hagar and Ishmael, they needed to learn to depend on the God who is always with us providing for our needs.
- Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
God hears our cries
15 And the water in the skin was consumed, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. 16 And she went and sat down opposite him about a bowshot away: for she said, Do not let me see the death of the child. And she sat opposite him and lifted up her voice and wept. 17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, What’s wrong with you, Hagar? Do not fear; for God has heard the boy’s voice where he is. 18 Get up, lift up the boy and hold him with your hand; for I will make him a great nation.
- Thirteen years earlier God had found Hagar in the desert and provided what she needed.
- God hears and responds to our cries for help.
- God attends to all His creation.
- Job 38-42 shows His care and delight over the animal kingdom.
- He promises great things to all. Many of the Arab groups are descendants of this promise.
- Jeremiah 33:3 Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.
19 And God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water; and she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. 20 And God was with the boy; and he grew and lived in the wilderness and became an archer. 21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.
- Hebrews 13:5 Let your way of life be without covetousness; and be content with what things you have: for he has said, I will never leave you or forsake you.
22 And it happened at that time that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his army spoke to Abraham, saying, God is with you in all that you do: 23 Now therefore swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my son or with my son's son: but do to me according to the kindness that I have done to you and to the land where you have visited. 24 And Abraham said, I will swear. 25 And Abraham rebuked Abimelech because of a well of water that Abimelech's servants had violently seized. 26 And Abimelech said, I do not know who has done this thing and you did not tell me. I have not heard of it until today. 27 And Abraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant.
- This was a peace treaty.
- God had promised in Genesis 12:3 to make Abraham’s name great. Now we see that 23 years later this king and army commander show proof of God’s fulfillment of that promise. God has made Abraham powerful and this Philistine king asked Abraham for a peace treaty with him.
28 And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves. 29 And Abimelech said to Abraham, What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs that you have set by themselves? 30 And he said, You will take these seven ewe lambs from my hand so that they may be a witness to me that I dug this well. 31 So he called that place Beersheba/well of the oath because the two of them swore an oath there. 32 By this they made a contract at Beersheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his army, and they returned to the land of the Philistines.
The LORD is the everlasting God
33 And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba and there he called on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God. 34 And Abraham visited in the Philistines' land many days.
- This title LORD in capital letters means self-existence, eternal, as stated by the words of this verse.
- How stunning it is that we possess and are possessed by the only One who is eternally permanent and unchangeable.
- The word ‘Lord’ with lower case letters is from the Hebrews word ‘Adon’ or ‘Adonai’ the intensive form meaning ‘sovereign’ or ‘controller’ because God controls all things. Within this control He allows freewill.
- Psalm 90:2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or you had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.
1 And it happened after these things, that God tested Abraham and said to him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. 2 And he said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you of.
- Abraham had wanted a son most of his life. God promised a son to him.
- God fulfilled that promise when it was physically impossible, building up Abrahams faith in Him.
- God gave Abraham his son Isaac around BC 1897.
- The test occurred around BC 1872.
- Abraham had enjoyed God’s gift of Isaac for 25 years.
- Did He love the gift more than the Giver of the gift? The Giver of life?
- God promised to make Abraham’s seed as plentiful as the stars. If Abraham killed his son how could God keep the promise?
- The only way would be to raise him from the dead.
- ‘Your only Son whom you LOVE,’ this is the first use of the word love in the Bible—a father for his only son.
3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, saddled his ass, took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son. He split the wood for the burnt offering and rose up and went to the place that God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place far away. 5 And Abraham said to his young men, Stay here with the ass; the boy and I will go over there and worship and return to you.
- These words show us that Abraham fully expected to bring his son alive with him off the mountain after obeying God’s command.
- ‘The place God had told him of’ was Mt. Moriah—a solid piece of rock going through Jerusalem to Calvary where there is an imprint of a skull and a garden tomb: where David bought a threshing floor from Ornan the Jebusite to offer sacrifice and stop a plague (I Chronicles 21).
- It became the site of the temple Solomon built for the Lord.
- Today the Dome of the Rock sits there where Jews hope to rebuild the Lord’s temple.
- In Abraham’s mind, his son was going to die.
- This lasted for three days as Christ was in the heart of the earth three days before His resurrection (Matthew 12:40).
- After this, Isaac will not be mentioned again in scripture until the servant is sent to bring Isaac a bride in Genesis 24 just as Jesus ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father until He calls for His bride.
6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they both went together. 7 And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, My father: and he said, Here I am, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood. but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
God provided Himself
8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they both went together. 9 And they came to the place that God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, laid the wood in order, and tied Isaac his son and laid him on the altar on the wood.
- John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming unto him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.
- Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth: he was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he did not open his mouth.
10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. 11 And the angel of the LORD called to him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here I am. 12 And he said, do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him: for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son from me.
- The words ‘from me’ show that the angel of the Lord was God.
- God stopped the test before the sacrifice.
- God doesn’t condone murder even for a high purpose.
- Remember Abraham does have another son. Ishmael.
- Yet God repeated this phrase your son, your only son.
- Ishmael was the son of a faithless act, not the son of promise.
- God blessed that son also. But Isaac is the promised one, picturing God giving His only Son.
- God hates the heathen customs of child sacrifice and destroys nations for it (Leviticus 18:21).
13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and saw 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 place of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it will be seen. 15 And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham out of heaven the second time, 16 And said, By myself I have sworn, said the LORD, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son: 17 in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven and as the sand on the seashore; and your seed will possess the gate of his enemies;
- God has given blessing upon blessing.
- Astronomers now estimate that the number of stars in the universe is equal to the number of grains of sand on planet earth. Only God can count that high.
- This promise speaks of Abraham’s physical descendants and his spiritual descendants—children of faith.
- As stars rule the night, the church is the light of the world.
- Stars are heavenly—Revelation 22:16, Daniel 12:3.
- Sand is earthly.
- Stars and sand coexist in harmony.
- “your seed will posses the gate of his enemies,” is a promise of ruling over their enemies.
- Daniel 12:3 And they that are wise will shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.
18 And in your seed all the nations of the earth will be blessed; because you have obeyed my voice. 19 So Abraham returned to his young men and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham lived at Beersheba. 20 And it happened after these things that Abraham was told, Behold, Milcah has borne children to your brother Nahor; 21 Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram, 22 And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel. 23 And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham's brother. 24 And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, she also bore Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah.
1 Sarai was a 127 years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah. 2 And Sarah died in Kirjath-arba; which is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. 3 And Abraham stood up from before his dead and spoke to the sons of Heth saying, 4 I am a foreigner and a visitor with you: give me a possession for a burying place with you so that I may bury my dead out of my sight.
- Seventeen years after God’s test, Sarah died. Isaac was 42 years old.
- She is the only woman in the Bible whose age, death, and burial are recorded.
- Hebron means communion.
- 2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
- Philippians 1:23 to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.
5 And the children of Heth answered Abraham saying to him, 6 Hear us my lord: you are a prince of God among us: bury your dead in the best of our tombs; none of us will withhold his tomb from you so that you may bury your dead. 7 And Abraham stood up and bowed himself to the people of the land, to the children of Heth. 8 And he communed with them saying, If it is your desire that I bury my dead out of my sight, hear me and request for me from Ephron the son of Zohar, 9 That he may give me the cave of Machpelah that he has, that is in the end of his field for as much money as it is worth. He will give it to me for a possession of a burying place among you.
- God had promised to make Abraham’s name great in Genesis 12.
- Verse 6 records God’s faithfulness in fulfilling that promise.
- A mosque stands over this cave today with grates on the floor that you can look through and see into the cave
- Abraham and Sarah will be resurrected from this place.
- Resurrection is the reason many American Jews have their remains buried in Israel, so that they can be raised from the dead in their homeland.
10 And Ephron lived among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the children of Heth, all that went in at the gate of his city saying, 11 No my lord, listen to me: I give you the field and the cave that is in it, I give them to you; in the presence of the sons of my people I give it to you: bury your dead. 12 And Abraham bowed himself down before the people of the land. 13 And he spoke to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land saying, If only you would hear me: I will give you money for the field; take it from me and I will bury my dead there. 14 And Ephron answered Abraham, saying to him, 15 My lord, listen to me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that between me and you? Bury your dead. 16 And Abraham listened to Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, that he had arranged in the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current value with the merchant. 17 And the field of Ephron that was in Machpelah, that was before Mamre, the field and the cave that was in it and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the surrounding borders were certified/deeded 18 to Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth before all that went in at the gate of his city.
- These formalities of respect in greeting and trade are still part of Middle Eastern culture.
- Certified means that they were registered as legal exchange.
- Abraham had the title deed to the property. Abraham wanted this to be a permanent possession in the land God had promised but not yet given to him.
God will raise the dead
19 And after this Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: which is Hebron in the land of Canaan. 20 And the field with the cave that is in it were deeded to Abraham for a possession as a burying place by the sons of Heth.
- Sarah, Abraham, Rebekah, Jacob, and Leah are all buried in this cave.
- Isaiah 26:19 Your dead men will live, together with my dead body they will rise. Awake and sing, you that dwell in dust: for your dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth will cast out the dead.
- John 10:28-29 And I give to them eternal life; they will never perish neither will any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who gave them to me is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
- John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet he will live: 26 And whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?
- 1Thessalonians 4:13-18 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning those that are asleep, that you not sorrow not as others that have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even those also that sleep in Jesus God will bring with him. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord will not precede those that are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead in Christ will rise first: 17 Then we that are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so will we always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
SUMMARY: Genesis 21-23
- God visited Sarah and kept His impossible promise
- He hears our cries
- He is the everlasting god
- God tests our love
- He provided Himself as the sacrifice
- God takes us home to be with Him at death
- He will raise the dead