Just then, Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught in a thicket. Abraham offered the ram as the burnt offering instead of Isaac. The place was then called, “The Lord will Provide.”
Abraham puts the altar to use. Just after God spares Isaac from death, Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns.
He took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. Abraham’s statement to Isaac earlier, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son,” proved truer than Abraham might have meant it. We are told in the book Hebrews that Abraham expected God to resurrect his son, “He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type” (Hebrews 11:19). The phrase “he also received him back as a type” can also be translated as something like, “Abraham did receive his son from the dead, metaphorically speaking.”
Isaac seemed doomed to die as a sacrifice to God, and while Abraham expected God to raise Isaac back to life, God instead provided a ram in Isaac’s place. In this way, Abraham received Isaac back from the dead, as Abraham had already determined to give him up. Isaac was, in a sense, saved from death and raised into a new life, while God sent something else to die in his place. This of course foreshadowed the death of Jesus, the lamb of God, dying in the place of each human in payment of their sins.
This also mirrors Hagar’s rescue in the wilderness in the previous chapter. Just as God directed Hagar’s eyes to the water well to save her from death (Genesis 21:19), now Abraham sees a ram at just the right moment in his crisis. By grace, God provided a ram for the sacrifice. It is clear that God never intended for Isaac to be killed and burned. The real sacrifice God desired came from Abraham’s heart.
After making a sacrifice of the ram, Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide.
The site becomes sacred. Abraham gives it a name to commemorate the main point of the event, from his perspective. Therefore, Abraham names the place “Jehovah-Jireh” (The Lord Will Provide).
This mountain’s name apparently developed into a saying which lasted at least until the time of the writing of Genesis, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.” Although there is no direct evidence, this same mount is believed to later become the location of the temple built by Solomon (2 Chron 3:1).
Everything belongs to God. All things come from Him and must be acknowledged as God’s possession. Those who obey what God asks of them, in faith, can trust that God will provide His best for their needs. Three times a year the people of Israel brought their best to God as a sacrifice, trusting that He would provide for their needs. This is a pattern or prototype for the Sinai setting (Numbers 10:33), where the tabernacle’s “altar of burnt offering” is erected (Exodus 40:29). “Mountain of God” is a common reference to Mount Sinai (Exodus 3:1, 4:27, 18:5, 24:13; 1 Kings 19:8), while “Mountain of the house of the Lord” describes Jerusalem’s temple mount (Isaiah 2:3; Micah 4:2).
13 Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the 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 Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.”
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