Genesis 22

7 Then Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!”

“Here I am, my son,” he replied.

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

8 Abraham answered, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two walked on together.

9 When they arrived at the place God had designated, Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood. He bound his son Isaac and placed him on the altar, atop the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.

Does anything in the text or surrounding passages indicate that Isaac either struggled, or calmly submitted to his father?

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    – Dottard
    Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 22:34
  • I've always thought that it was Isaac's choice to be bound, lest his own faith not be as strong as his father's. Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 23:55
  • 3
    This can only be a matter of opinion. The text is silent on this matter. We can conjecture, but that is all we can do.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 6:47

1 Answer 1


We are not explicitly told the answer to the question of whether Isaac struggled in Gen 22. However, we are aware of the following facts:

  • Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born (Gen 21:5) and at this stage, and if we suppose that Isaac was at this time about 20 years old(??), then Abraham would have been about 120 years old. Isaac would have been much stronger, faster and more agile than Abraham.
  • Isaac would not have been tied up by surprise! Abraham would have had an agonizing conversation with Isaac before binding him, to which Isaac would have had to submit, else Abraham could not had done it.
  • In this enacted parable/metaphor of the coming substitutionary Messiah, Christ was a willing sacrifice, 1 Peter 2:23, Luke 22:42, etc.

Note Ellicott's comments:

(9) Abraham . . . bound Isaac.—Jewish commentators agree that this was done with Isaac’s consent, nor could it well have been otherwise. Thus his youthful faith was tried equally with that of his father, his future life sanctified, and himself ennobled by being made a type of Christ (1 Peter 2:23).

Similarly, Benson says this:

Genesis 22:9. After many a weary step, and with a heavy heart, he arrives at length at the fatal place; builds the altar, an altar of earth, we may suppose, the saddest that ever he built; lays the wood in order for Isaac’s funeral pile; and now tells him the amazing news. Isaac, for aught that appears, is as willing as Abraham; we do not find that he made any objection against it. God commands it to be done, and Isaac has learned to submit.

The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary says this -

  1. Abraham built an altar, &c.—Had not the patriarch been sustained by the full consciousness of acting in obedience to God's will, the effort would have been too great for human endurance; and had not Isaac, then upwards of twenty years of age displayed equal faith in submitting, this great trial could not have gone through.
  • +1 I can't improve.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 23:42
  • @Dottard All is great, but I tend to think that Isaac was probably the same age that Jesus, 33. Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 1:33
  • @ארקדיוס - that is theoretically possible but we do not know. All we can be a little more sure of is that it was before Isaac was married at 40 years old.
    – Dottard
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 3:23

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