28sn (11:28) The phrase of the Chaldeans is a later editorial clarification for the readers, designating the location of Ur. From all evidence there would have been no Chaldeans in existence at this early date; they are known in the time of the neo-Babylonian empire in the first millennium B.C.
29tn (11:28) Heb “upon the face of Terah his father.”
30sn (11:29) The name Sarai (a variant spelling of “Sarah”) means “princess” (or “lady”). Sharratu was the name of the wife of the moon god Sin. The original name may reflect the culture out of which the patriarch was called, for the family did worship other gods in Mesopotamia.
47sn (15:17) A smoking pot with a flaming torch. These same implements were used in Mesopotamian rituals designed to ward off evil (see E. A. Speiser, Genesis, 113-14).
48tn (15:17) Heb “these pieces.”
31sn (11:29) The name Milcah means “Queen.” But more to the point here is the fact that Malkatu was a title for Ishtar, the daughter of the moon god. If the women were named after such titles (and there is no evidence that this was the motivation for naming the girls “Princess” or “Queen”), that would not necessarily imply anything about the faith of the two women themselves.
1sn (22:1) The Hebrew verb used here means “to test; to try; to prove.” In this passage God tests Abraham to see if he would be obedient. See T. W. Mann, The Book of the Torah (Atlanta: John Knox, 1988), 44-48. See also J. L. Crenshaw, “A Monstrous Test: Genesis 22,” in A Whirlpool of Torment (Philadelphia: Fortress Press), 9-30; and J. I. Lawlor, “The Test of Abraham,” GTJ 1 (1980): 19-35.
2tn (22:1) Heb “he”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
3tn (22:2) Heb “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
4sn (22:2) Take your son…Isaac. The instructions are very clear, but the details are deliberate. With every additional description the commandment becomes more challenging.
5sn (22:2) There has been much debate over the location of Moriah; 2 Chr 3:1 suggests it may be the site where the temple was later built in Jerusalem.
6sn (22:2) A whole burnt offering signified the complete surrender of the worshiper and complete acceptance by God. The demand for a human sacrifice was certainly radical and may have seemed to Abraham out of character for God. Abraham would have to obey without fully understanding what God was about.
7tn (22:2) Heb “which I will say to.”
8tn (22:3) Heb “Abraham rose up early in the morning and saddled his donkey.”
9tn (22:3) Heb “he arose and he went.”
10tn (22:4) Heb “lifted up his eyes and saw.”
11tn (22:5) Heb “And Abraham.” The proper name has been replaced in the translation by the pronoun (“he”) for stylistic reasons.
12tn (22:5) The Hebrew verb is masculine plural, referring to the two young servants who accompanied Abraham and Isaac on the journey.
13tn (22:5) The disjunctive clause (with the compound subject preceding the verb) may be circumstantial and temporal.
14tn (22:5) This Hebrew word literally means “to bow oneself close to the ground.” It often means “to worship.”
15sn (22:5) It is impossible to know what Abraham was thinking when he said, “we will…return to you.” When he went he knew (1) that he was to sacrifice Isaac, and (2) that God intended to fulfill his earlier promises through Isaac. How he reconciled those facts is not clear in the text. Heb 11:17-19 suggests that Abraham believed God could restore Isaac to him through resurrection.
16sn (22:6) He took the fire and the knife in his hand. These details anticipate the sacrifice that lies ahead.
17tn (22:7) The Hebrew text adds “and said.” This is redundant and has not been translated for stylistic reasons.
18tn (22:7) Heb “Here I am” (cf. Gen 22:1).
19tn (22:7) Heb “and he said, ‘Here is the fire and the wood.’” The referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Here and in the following verse the order of the introductory clauses and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
20tn (22:8) Heb “will see for himself.” The construction means “to look out for; to see to it; to provide.”
sn (22:8) God will provide is the central theme of the passage and the turning point in the story. Note Paul’s allusion to the story in Rom 8:32 (“how shall he not freely give us all things?”) as well as H. J. Schoeps, “The Sacrifice of Isaac in Paul’s Theology,” JBL 65 (1946): 385-92.
21sn (22:9) Abraham built an altar there. The theme of Abraham’s altar building culminates here. He has been a faithful worshipper. Will he continue to worship when called upon to make such a radical sacrifice?
22sn (22:9) Then he tied up. This text has given rise to an important theme in Judaism known as the Aqedah, from the Hebrew word for “binding.” When sacrifices were made in the sanctuary, God remembered the binding of Isaac, for which a substitute was offered. See D. Polish, “The Binding of Isaac,” Judaica 6 (1957): 17-21.
23tn (22:10) Heb “in order to slaughter.”
24sn (22:11) Heb “the messenger of the LORD” (also in v. 15). Some identify the angel of the LORD as the preincarnate Christ because in some texts the angel is identified with the LORD himself. However, see the note on the phrase “the LORD’s angel” in Gen 16:7.
25tn (22:12) Heb “Do not extend your hand toward the boy.”
26tn (22:12) Heb “and he said, ‘Do not extend…’”; the referent (the angel) has been specified in the context for clarity. The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
27sn (22:12) For now I know. The test was designed to see if Abraham would be obedient (see v. 1). The angel indicates that God has acquired the information he needs. (This assumes that the angel speaks on behalf of God—note “me” at the end of the verse.) Some theologians call this an anthropomorphism because, they reason, an omniscient God cannot learn new facts since he already knows everything. Others take the language at face value and reason that the God who created human beings with some degree of freedom has placed certain limitations upon himself. For a further discussion of these issues see J. Sanders, The God Who Risks (Downers Grove: IVP, 1998), 52, 74.
28sn (22:12) In this context fear refers by metonymy to obedience that grows from faith.
29tn (22:13) Heb “lifted his eyes.”
30tn (22:13) Heb “and saw, and look.” The particle hN@h! (h!N@h, “look”) draws attention to what Abraham saw and invites the audience to view the scene through his eyes.
31tc (22:13) The translation follows the reading of the MT; a number of Hebrew MSS, the LXX, Syriac, and Samaritan Pentateuch read “one” (dj*a# [a#j*d]) instead of “behind him” (rj^a^ [a^j^r]).
32tn (22:13) Heb “Abraham”; the proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“he”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.
33tn (22:14) Heb “the LORD sees” (ha#r=y] hw`hy+ [y+hw`h y]ra#h], traditionally transliterated “Jehovah Jireh”; see the note on the word “provide” in v. 8). By so naming the place Abraham preserved in the memory of God’s people the amazing event that took place there.
34sn (22:14) On the expression to this day see B. Childs, “A Study of the Formula ‘Until this Day’,” JBL 82 (1963): 279-92.
35sn (22:14) The saying connected with these events has some ambiguity, which was probably intended. The Niphal verb could be translated (1) “in the mountain of the LORD it will be seen/provided” or (2) “in the mountain the LORD will appear.” If the temple later stood here (see the note on “Moriah” in Gen 22:2), the latter interpretation might find support, for the people went to the temple to appear before the LORD, who “appeared” to them by providing for them his power and blessings. See S. R. Driver, The Book of Genesis, 219.
36tn (22:16) Heb “By myself I swear.”
37tn (22:16) Heb “the oracle of the LORD.” The phrase refers to a formal oracle or decree from the LORD.
38tn (22:17) The use of the infinitive absolute before the finite verbal form (either an imperfect or cohortative) emphasizes the certainty of the blessing.
39tn (22:17) Here too the infinitive absolute is used for emphasis before the following finite verb (either an imperfect or cohortative).
sn (22:17) I will greatly multiply. The LORD here ratifies his earlier promise to give Abram a multitude of descendants. For further discussion see R. B. Chisholm, “Evidence from Genesis,” in A Case for Premillennialism, 35-54.
40tn (22:17) The Hebrew term ur^z\ (z\r^u) occurring here and in v. 18 may mean “seed” (for planting), “offspring” (occasionally of animals, but usually of people), or “descendants” depending on the context.
41tn (22:17) Or “inherit.”
42tn (22:17) Heb “gate,” which here stands for a walled city. To break through the gate complex would be to conquer the city, for the gate complex was the main area of defense (hence the translation “stronghold”).
43tn (22:18) In the Hebrew text this causal clause comes at the end of the sentence. The translation alters the word order for stylistic reasons.
sn (22:18) Because you have obeyed me. Abraham’s obedience brought God’s ratification of the earlier conditional promise (see Gen 12:2).
44tn (22:18) Traditionally the verb is taken as passive (“will be blessed”) here, as if Abraham’s descendants were going to be a channel or source of blessing to the nations. But the Hitpael is better understood here as reflexive/reciprocal, “will bless [i.e., pronounce blessings on] themselves/one another” (see also Gen 26:4). Elsewhere the Hitpael of the verb “to bless” is used with a reflexive/reciprocal sense in Deut 29:18; Ps 72:17; Isa 65:16; Jer 4:2. Gen 12:2 predicts that Abram will be held up as a paradigm of divine blessing and that people will use his name in their blessing formulae. For examples of blessing formulae utilizing an individual as an example of blessing see Gen 48:20 and Ruth 4:11. Earlier formulations of this promise (see Gen 12:2; 18:18) use the Niphal stem. (See also Gen 28:14.)
45tn (22:19) Heb “and they arose and went together.”
46tn (22:19) Heb “and Abraham stayed in Beersheba. This has been translated as a relative clause for stylistic reasons.
29tn (31:19) This disjunctive clause (note the pattern conjunction + subject + verb) introduces a new scene. In the English translation it may be subordinated to the following clause.
30tn (31:19) Or “household gods.” Some translations merely transliterate the Hebrew term <yp!r*T= (T=r*p!m) as “teraphim,” which apparently refers to household idols. Some contend that possession of these idols guaranteed the right of inheritance, but it is more likely that they were viewed simply as protective deities. See M. Greenberg, “Another Look at Rachel’s Theft of the Teraphim,” JBL 81 (1962): 239-48.
3tn (35:2) Heb “which are in your midst.”
4sn (35:2) The actions of removing false gods, becoming ritually clean, and changing garments would become necessary steps in Israel when approaching the LORD in worship.
9tn (35:4) Heb “in their hand.”
10sn (35:4) On the basis of a comparison with Gen 34 and Num 31, Wenham argues that the foreign gods and the rings could have been part of the plunder that came from the destruction of Shechem (G. Wenham, Genesis 16-50, 324).
11sn (35:4) Jacob buried them. On the burial of the gods, see E. Nielson, “The Burial of the Foreign Gods,” ST 8 (1954/55): 102-122.
12tn (35:4) Or “terebinth.”
1tn (24:2) Heb “your fathers.”
2tn (24:2) Heb “the river,” referring to the Euphrates. This has been specified in the translation for clarity.
3tn (24:2) Or “served.”