Genesis 22:7b “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

8Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. ...

12“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

13Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram a caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.


The operative word in Gen 22:7, and 8 is שֶׂה (seh) which is any animal from the flock, mostly a sheep (young or old) or even a goat. BDB gives this:

שֶׂה noun masculine Genesis 30:32 and (less often) feminineJeremiah 50:17 one of a flock, a sheep (or goat) (Assyrian šuju, Arabic plural , , etc. (also wild ox), compare Egyptian sau, sheep Bondi65, compare IdBa NB§ 2 b ς); — absolute שֶׂה Genesis 30:32 +, construct שֵׂה Isaiah 43:23 +; suffix שֵׂיוֺ Deuteronomy 22:1, שְׂיֵ֫הוּ 1 Samuel 14:34; not in plural; —

1 a sheep, or goat, noun of individual meaning of צֹאן: as property Genesis 32:32 (twice in verse) (J; + צֹאן collective, כְּשָׂבִים, עִזִּים), Exodus 21:37 (twice in verse) (+ שׁוֺר, צֹאן collective), Exodus 22:3 (+ שׁוֺר, חֲמוֺר, V:8 (id.), V:9 (id; all E); Deuteronomy 22:1 (+ שׁוֺר), 1 Samuel 17:34 (זה Kt van d. H. erroneous, see Baer Dr), roaming pasture Isaiah 7:25, straying Psalm 119:176 (simile), slaughtered Isaiah 53:7 (in simile) ...

Thus, a better translation of Gen 22:7, & 8 might be "an animal from the flock" (not necessarily a lamb. The fact that this turned out to be a ram caught by the horns, is consistent with the meaning of שֶׂה (seh).

  • Hi D. Where in your sources do you see "young or old"? I don't see it. And I think "even a goat" is misleading as it would more likely be a goat than a sheep, I should think. Thanks. – Ruminator Dec 26 '20 at 20:57
  • @Ruminator - the word occurs 47 times on the OT and sometimes it means "lamb", or, "sheep" or "goat" (see BDB). For example: Gen 30:32 means either spotted sheep (NASB) or even cattle (KJV); Ex 12:3 appears to be "lamb"; Ex 22:1 appears to be "sheep"; Lev 27:26 is "sheep"; see also Eze 34:20, 22. See the full material in BDB (I have only partly quoted it above.) – Dottard Dec 26 '20 at 21:08
  • The only example of "lamb" you provide is Gen 30:32 but I don't see it as "lamb". – Ruminator Dec 26 '20 at 21:10
  • @Ruminator - You missed Ex 12:3-5 whose foot note in the BSB and NIV says "the Hebrew word can mean lab or kid" - consistent with BDB. See also Lev 5:7, 12:8, etc. The NIV in Lev 5:7 translates, "lamb or kid", etc. – Dottard Dec 26 '20 at 21:21
  • Without some support, your post, as it stands, is not structurally sound, IMHO. – Ruminator Dec 26 '20 at 21:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.