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Garfield Joseph | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Sep 25 2010 6:14 PM

I am preparing a sermon Genesis 22.  Abraham's call to sacrifice his son Isaac.

There are three important questions I need to answer.

  1. How old was Abraham when he got the call to sacrifice his son?
  2. How many years after he left Haran did he get this call?
  3. Where was he physically living when he was asked to Sacrifice his son.

Can someone help me in telling me how I would search my resources to get answer to these questions.

I need to learn the skill of knowing how to search my resource to answer these kinds of questions in the future.

Posts 3578
steve clark | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 25 2010 6:30 PM

Garfield Joseph:

  • How old was Abraham when he got the call to sacrifice his son?
  • How many years after he left Haran did he get this call?
  • Where was he physically living when he was asked to Sacrifice his son.
  •  

    1. If the Genesis is in chronological order from ch 21 through ch 23, then he was between 100 and 137 (23:1-20 when Sarah dies, there was a 9 or 10 year difference in their ages Gen 17:1 and 17:17). Obviously he is several years past 100 (when Issac was born) and Issac is old enough to walk with him on this 3 day journey. And Issac is old enough to carry the wood up the mountain as Abraham takes the wood off the donkey and places it on Issac's back.

    2. He was 75 when he left Haran (Gen 12:4), so it would depend on his age when he was called to sacrifice Issac.

    3. around a 3 days journey from mount Moriah (Gen 22:4)

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    David P. Moore | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 25 2010 6:34 PM

    Garfield Joseph:
    How old was Abraham when he got the call to sacrifice his son?

    The following resource says Abraham was 115 (listed in a chronological table):

    Benware, P. N. (1993). Survey of the Old Testament (Revised) (46). Chicago: Moody Press.

    Benware's explanation:

    This chronology is based upon some key verses that assign specific lengths of time between important Old Testament events. These verses are 1 Kings 6:1 and Exodus 12:40. If these verses are taken at face value, then the list given below is relatively accurate.

    Posts 584
    David P. Moore | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 25 2010 6:44 PM

    Garfield Joseph:
    Where was he physically living when he was asked to Sacrifice his son.

    Boice, J. M. (1998). Genesis : An expositional commentary (704), says "We are told that the journey from Beersheba, where Abraham was living, to Moriah, where the sacrifice was to be performed, was a three-day journey."

    Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (1045), says "During the years of Isaac’s adolescence, Abraham was living in Philistine territory (Gn 21:34)."

    Hope this helps!

    Posts 5933
    DIsciple II | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 25 2010 7:00 PM

    Garfield Joseph:

    Can someone help me in telling me how I would search my resources to get answer to these questions.

    I need to learn the skill of knowing how to search my resource to answer these kinds of questions in the future.

    These are tricky questions to answer because often they are not directly answered, at least not in the biblical text and so as Steve has suggested you need to try and narrow things down based on what the biblical text tell us.  To try and find information to help me in narrowing down an answer I would start off with the following search:

    Abraham,Abram NEAR "years old"

    running it first against your bible(s) doing a bible search

    and then against your other resources doing a basic search

    After that you could try a basic search something along the lines of: Abraham,Abram NEAR haran,canaan,Moriah to see what other information you might be able to glean on your questions.

     

    Posts 19
    Garfield Joseph | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 25 2010 7:04 PM

    thanks for a prompt an useful response.

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    MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 25 2010 7:17 PM

    I can't give you the answers but I know the first step: get Logos to offer

    The Last Trial: On the Legends and Lore of the Command to Abraham to Offer Isaac As a Sacrifice : The Akedah  by Shalom Spiegel and Judah Goldin

    Akedah: The Binding of Isaac by Louis A. Berman

    Abraham on Trial by Carol Delaney

    The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son: The Transformation of Child Sacrifice in Judaism and Christianity by Jon D. Levenson

    Abraham: Trials of Family and Faith (Studies on Personalities of the Old Testament) by Terence E. Fretheim

    Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

    Posts 5933
    DIsciple II | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 25 2010 7:28 PM

    Wink

    MJ. Smith:
    the first step: get Logos to offer

    Posts 19356
    Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 25 2010 8:10 PM

    Andrew McKenzie:
    Abraham,Abram NEAR "years old"

    I squirmed when I saw that syntax because I figured surely the list operator (comma) with its operands needed to be enclosed in parentheses, but apparently not; it must have higher precedence than NEAR. However for clarity/readability I would still prefer to put it in parentheses, even though you get the same result.

    (Abraham,Abram) NEAR "years old"

    Another possible thing to search for would be

    (Abraham,Abram) NEAR chronology

    or

    (Abraham,Abram) NEAR timeline

    Using the latter will turn up this useful chart in The ESV Study Bible near Genesis 13:7:

    It's missing Abram's age at the time of Gen 22, and if you read the Scripture passages from Gen 21-23, you won't find enough details to get it pinned down exactly. But others have estimated it based on the description of Isaac in the story. He was old enough to carry the wood his father put on him, old enough to raise the issue of where is the sacrifice, and yet still young enough to be called a boy. So he was probably somewhere around 12-16 years old, I'm guessing. So that would put Abraham at around 112-116.

    To find out something about the geographical question, you could search your Bible dictionaries for Moriah (the place God called Abraham to sacrifice Isaac). One article I turned up was in Anchor Bible Dictionary, which gives an answer to your question:

    MORIAH (PLACE) [Heb mōriyyâ (מֹרִיָּה)]. 1.      “The land of Moriah,” mentioned in Gen 22:2, where God sent Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on one of the hills in the region. The passage in which the name occurs (Gen 22:1–19) is known as the Aqedah in Jewish tradition (the “binding” of Isaac). It derives mainly from the E source.

    The MT also calls the place yahweh yir˒eh, “Yahweh will see” in v 14. This seems to be a corruption of an original ˒elohı̂m yir˒eh. “God will see” (found in the Sahidic Coptic version and the unpublished Qumran manuscript 4QGen Exa; see Davila, fc.). The corruption arose through a folk etymology that associated Moriah with the Hebrew root r˒h, “to see,” and the divine name Yah, short for Yahweh; thus “vision of Yahweh” or the like. This etymology is incorrect; it does not explain the o vowel in the name. The actual meaning is unknown.

    This Moriah is described as being in a hilly region, about 3 days’ journey from Beer-sheba (Gen 22:4). However, this information is not helpful in establishing where Moriah was found since “the third day” may simply be an epic convention for a short journey. The location of the place is disputed (see below).

    2.      “The hill of Moriah,” according to 2 Chr 3:1, the site in Jerusalem where Solomon built the Temple of Yahweh. It is also identified in the same verse with the threshing floor of Ornan (Araunah) the Jebusite (cf. 2 Sam 24; 2 Chr 21). See ARAUNAH. The text of the rest of the verse is corrupt. It appears to refer to the story in the passages just cited, in which David carries out a census and is punished by Yahweh with three days of plague over the whole country, delivered by Yahweh’s angel. 2 Chr 3:1 seems to say that this location is where Yahweh (reading with the) appeared to David, and that David appointed the threshing floor as the site for the future temple.

    The obvious question at this point is how the two Moriahs are related. It is generally agreed that the location in Gen 22:2 cannot be the same as the one in 2 Chr 3:1. Jerusalem is in a wooded area, to which it would not be necessary to carry firewood (Gen 22:6). Also, it does not make sense that the whole land should be called Moriah if the word is a name for the Temple Mount, nor that the hill bearing the name should be called merely “one of the hills” in the area (Skinner Genesis ICC, 1910: 328–29).

    Two possibilities have been suggested. First, it may be that Moriah was originally associated with the binding of Isaac, and that the Chronicler or his source erroneously identified the site of the Temple Mount with Moriah in order to give the temple and Jerusalem a more ancient sanctity (Gold IDB 2: 438–34).

    A more likely explanation is that Moriah was originally the name of the Temple Mount, and that the actual location given in Genesis 22 was suppressed and replaced by Moriah in order to associate the patriarch with the site of the future temple in Jerusalem. There is no indication that the writer of 1 Chr 3:1 was aware of any connection between Abraham and Mt. Moriah; he only mentions its association with David and Solomon. Surely he would have referred to the binding of Isaac if Moriah had appeared in Genesis 22 in his time (von Rad Genesis OTL, rev. ed. 1972: 240). Instead, it is probable that the name that originally stood in Gen 22:2 was replaced by Moriah sometime after the time of the Chronicler, but before the translation of the LXX. Various possibilities have been advanced for the original name. One is the land of the Amorite [ha˒emōrı̂], reading with the Syriac Peshitta (Skinner Genesis ICC, 1910: 328–29). This name looks somewhat like Moriah, and the similarity could have suggested the change to a scribe. Another possibility is the land of Jeruel [yerū˒ēl], from 2 Chr 20:16 (Gunkel Genesis2 HAT, 169–71). It seems to be derived from ˒ēl, “God” and the root r˒h, so its meaning is similar to the false etymology for Moriah. Such a similarity could have led to the substitution of the latter for the former.

    Today the site of Mt. Moriah, the temple platform, is located in the SE corner of the Old City of Jerusalem and is occupied by the Muslim shrines known as the El-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. The latter is the third most holy place for Islam, after Mecca and Medina. According to Muslim tradition it was from the Temple Mount that Muhammad ascended into heaven (the vision is described in Sura 17 of the Quran). The W side of the platform includes the Western Wall or Wailing Wall, where Jews have traditionally come to mourn the loss of the temple.

     

      Bibliography

      Davila, J. R. fc. The Name of God at Moriah. An unpublished fragment from 4QGenExa.

           JAMES R. DAVILA

     

     

    From this dictionary's assertion that Beer-sheba was the place from which the 3 days' journey in Gen 22:4 was measured, I'd want to go and verify this with other sources. Search for Beer-sheba in Biblical Places. It will give all the biblical references as well as dictionary articles to read more. The verses of interest, closest to Abraham's journey to Moriah, are Gen 21:14, 22-34; 22:19; 26:1-33. So it appears Abraham was indeed in the area of Beer-sheba, both before and after the story with Isaac, if we can assume that it is in its proper place chronologically.

    Posts 5933
    DIsciple II | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 25 2010 8:13 PM

    Rosie Perera:
    I squirmed when I saw that syntax because I figured surely the list operator (comma) with its operands needed to be enclosed in parentheses, but apparently not; it must have higher precedence than NEAR. However for clarity/readability I would still prefer to put it in parentheses, even though you get the same result.

    I did squirm a few times playing around with some search options on this but agree for clarity it use of parentheses is a good idea, even when not required.

     

    Edit Note:

    Rosie Perera:
    (Abraham,Abram) NEAR chronology

    This is also a good option Smile

    Posts 19356
    Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 25 2010 8:35 PM

    Andrew McKenzie:

    Rosie Perera:
    (Abraham,Abram) NEAR chronology

    This is also a good option Smile

    I'd forgotten to go back and edit my post before you responded to it. The chart I pasted actually came from doing this search:

    (Abraham,Abram) NEAR timeline

    Of course they could be combined using

    (Abraham,Abram) NEAR (chronology,timeline)

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