Genesis 22:16
And said, By myself have I sworn, said the LORD, for because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son:
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(16) By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord (Jehovah).—This solemn interposition of an oath (Hebrews 6:17), of which the present is the sole instance in Holy Scripture, plainly indicates that this trial of Abraham’s faith was of no common kind, and that its typical teaching is of no ordinary value. Abraham might have appealed to God’s own attributes, and said, Far be it from thee, Lord, to command a human sacrifice, and bid a father slay his son. He might have pleaded the promises bound up with Isaac’s life. But no, as soon as he is convinced that the command comes from God. he obeys, and, against hope, still believes that the promises will all be fulfilled in the sacrificed Isaac. He is thus the highest and most perfect example of faith, and by his offering of his son the Church received the assurance that the Son of God incarnate in the flesh would upon that very mountain offer the sacrifice Divinely necessary for the pardon of man’s sins.

The blessing now given to Abraham differs from those that precede it in three particulars. First, it is no longer a promise, but a solemn compact ratified by an oath. Next, it assures Abraham’s seed of victory, whereby the spiritual Israel is certified of the ultimate triumph of the Gospel. Lastly, it transfers to Abraham’s offspring the promise of being the means of blessedness to all mankind.

22:15-19 There are high declarations of God's favour to Abraham in this confirmation of the covenant with him, exceeding any he had yet been blessed with. Those that are willing to part with any thing for God, shall have it made up to them with unspeakable advantage. The promise, ver. 18, doubtless points at the Messiah, and the grace of the gospel. Hereby we know the loving-kindness of God our Saviour towards sinful man, in that he hath not withheld his Son, his only Son, from us. Hereby we perceive the love of Christ, in that he gave himself a sacrifice for our sins. Yet he lives, and calls to sinners to come to him, and partake of his blood-bought salvation. He calls to his redeemed people to rejoice in him, and to glorify him. What then shall we render for all his benefits? Let his love constrain us to live not to ourselves, but to Him who died for us, and rose again. Admiring and adoring His grace, let us devote our all to his service, who laid down his life for our salvation. Whatever is dearest to us upon earth is our Isaac. And the only way for us to find comfort in an earthly thing, is to give it by faith into the hands of God. Yet remember that Abraham was not justified by his readiness to obey, but by the infinitely more noble obedience of Jesus Christ; his faith receiving this, relying on this, rejoicing in this, disposed and made him able for such wonderful self-denial and duty.Abraham has arrived at the moral elevation of self-denial and resignation to the will of God, and that in its highest form. The angel of the Lord now confirms all his special promises to him with an oath, in their amplest terms. An oath with God is a solemn pledging of himself in all the unchangeableness of his faithfulness and truth, to the fulfillment of his promise. The multitude of his seed has a double parallel in the stars of heaven and the sands of the ocean. They are to possess the gate of their enemies; that is, to be masters and rulers of their cities and territories. The great promise, "and blessed in thy seed shall be all the nations of the earth," was first given absolutely without reference to his character. Now it is confirmed to him as the man of proof, who is not only accepted as righteous, but proved to be actually righteous after the inward man; "because thou hast obeyed my voice" Genesis 26:5. The reflexive form of the verb signifying to bless is here employed, not to denote emphasis, but to intimate that the nations, in being blessed of God, are made willing to be so, and therefore bless themselves in Abraham's seed. In hearing this transcendent blessing repeated on this momentous occasion, Abraham truly saw the day of the seed of the woman, the seed of Abraham, the Son of man. We contemplate him now with wonder as the man of God, manifested by the self-denying obedience of a regenerate nature, intrusted with the dignity of the patriarchate over a holy seed, and competent to the worthy discharge of all its spiritual functions.

With the nineteenth verse of this chapter may be said to close the main revelation of the third Bible given to mankind, to which the remainder of this book is only a needful appendix. It includes the two former Bibles or revelations - that of Adam and that of Noah; and it adds the special revelation of Abraham. The two former applied directly to the whole race; the latter directly to Abraham and his seed as the medium of an ultimate blessing to the whole race. The former revealed the mercy of God offered to all, which was the truth immediately necessary to be known; the latter reveals more definitely the seed through whom the blessings of mercy are to be conveyed to all, and delineates the leading stage in the spiritual life of a man of God. In the person of Abraham is unfolded that spiritual process by which the soul is drawn to God. He hears the call of God and comes to the decisive act of trusting in the revealed God of mercy and truth; on the ground of which act he is accounted as righteous. He then rises to the successive acts of walking with God, covenanting with him, communing and interceding with him, and at length withholding nothing that he has or holds dear from him. In all this we discern certain primary and essential characteristics of the man who is saved through acceptance of the mercy of God proclaimed to him in a primeval gospel. Faith in God Genesis 15, repentance toward him Genesis 16, and fellowship with him Genesis 18, are the three great turning-points of the soul's returning life. They are built upon the effectual call of God Genesis 12, and culminate in unreserved resignation to him Genesis 22. With wonderful facility has the sacred record descended in this pattern of spiritual biography from the rational and accountable race to the individual and immortal soul, and traced the footsteps of its path to God.

The seed that was threatened to bruise the serpent's head is here the seed that is promised to bless all the families of the earth. The threefold individuality in the essence of the one eternal Spirit, is adumbrated in the three men who visited the patriarch, and their personal and practical interest in the salvation of man is manifested, though the part appropriated to each in the work of grace be not yet apparent.

Meanwhile, contemporaneous with Abraham are to be seen men (Melkizedec, Abimelek) who live under the covenant of Noah, which was not abrogated by that of Abraham, but only helped forward by the specialities of the latter over the legal and moral difficulties in the way to its final and full accomplishment. That covenant, which was simply the expansion and continuation of the Adamic covenant, is still in force, and contains within its bosom the Abrahamic covenant in its culminating grandeur, as the soul that gives life and motion to its otherwise inanimate body.

13-19. Abraham lifted up his eyes … and behold … a ram, &c.—No method was more admirably calculated to give the patriarch a distinct idea of the purpose of grace than this scenic representation: and hence our Lord's allusion to it (Joh 8:56). By myself have I sworn: so the Lord swears by his name, Jeremiah 44:26; by his soul, in the Hebrew text, Jeremiah 51:14; by his holiness, Amos 4:2; which is the same with by himself here. Hence also it appears that the Angel who speaks here is Christ and God, because this is God’s prerogative to swear by himself, as appears from Hebrews 6:13.

Because thou hast done this thing; not that Abraham by this act did properly merit or purchase the following promises, as plainly appears, because the same things for substance had been freely promised to Abraham long before this time and action, Genesis 12:2 13:16, only what before was promised is now confirmed by an oath, as a testimony of that singular respect which God had to Abraham, and to this heroical instance of faith and obedience. And said, by myself have I sworn, saith the Lord,.... Which Aben Ezra observes is a great oath, and abides for ever; for because he could swear by no greater, he swore by himself, his own nature, perfections, and life, Hebrews 6:13; hence it appears, that the Angel that called to Abraham was a divine Person, the true Jehovah:

for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son,

thine only son; that is, from the Lord, as in Genesis 22:12; and is here repeated as being a most marvellous thing, a wonderful instance of faith in God, and fear of him, and of love and obedience to him; for, with respect to the will of Abraham, and as far as he was suffered to go, it was as much done as it was possible for him to do, and was looked upon as if actually done: yet this is not observed as meritorious of what follows; the promise of which had been made before, but is now repeated to show what notice God took of, and how well pleased he was with what had been done; and therefore renews the promise, which of his own grace and good will he had made, for the strengthening of Abraham's faith, and to encourage others to obey the Lord in whatsoever he commands them.

And said, By {h} myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:

(h) Signifying, that there is none greater then he.

16. By myself have I sworn] Cf. Exodus 32:13; Isaiah 45:23; Hebrews 6:13-17.

The remembrance of this oath is frequently invoked, cf. Genesis 24:7, Genesis 26:3, Genesis 50:24; Psalm 105:9, “the covenant which he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac”; Luke 1:73, “the oath which he sware unto Abraham our father.”

saith the Lord] Lit. “the Oracle” or “revelation of Jehovah”; a rare expression in narrative, cf. Numbers 14:28, 1 Samuel 2:30; but common in the Prophets, e.g. Jeremiah 18:5. The Angel, speaking in the first person, identifies Himself with Jehovah (cf. Genesis 16:10, Genesis 21:18, Genesis 31:13). The introduction of the prophetic formula, “Oracle of Jehovah,” into the words spoken by the Angel impersonating Jehovah, is peculiar.Having arrived at the appointed place, Abraham built an altar, arranged the wood upon it, bound his son and laid him upon the wood of the altar, and then stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
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