22 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!”“Here I am,” he answered.2 “Take your son,” he said, “your only son Isaac, whom you love, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”3 So Abraham got up early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took with him two of his young men and his son Isaac. He split wood for a burnt offering and set out to go to the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there to worship; then we’ll come back to you.” 6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac. In his hand he took the fire and the knife, and the two of them walked on together.7 Then Isaac spoke to his father Abraham and said, “My father.”And he replied, “Here I am, my son.”Isaac said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide[a] the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” Then the two of them walked on together.9 When they arrived at the place that God had told him about, Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood. He bound his son Isaac[b] and placed him on the altar on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”He replied, “Here I am.”12 Then he said, “Do not lay a hand on the boy or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your only son from me.” 13 Abraham looked up and saw a ram[c] caught in the thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son. 14 And Abraham named that place The Lord Will Provide,[d] so today it is said: “It will be provided[e] on the Lord’s mountain.”15 Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn,” this is the Lord’s declaration: “Because you have done this thing and have not withheld your only son, 17 I will indeed bless you and make your offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your offspring will possess the city gates of their enemies. 18 And all the nations of the earth will be blessed[f] by your offspring because you have obeyed my command.”19 Abraham went back to his young men, and they got up and went together to Beer-sheba. And Abraham settled in Beer-sheba.
20 Now after these things Abraham was told, “Milcah also has borne sons to your brother Nahor: 21 Uz his firstborn, his brother Buz, Kemuel the father of Aram, 22 Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.” 23 And Bethuel fathered Rebekah. Milcah bore these eight to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. 24 His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.
23 Now Sarah lived 127 years; these were all the years of her life. 2 Sarah died in Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.3 Then Abraham got up from beside his dead wife and spoke to the Hethites: 4 “I am an alien residing among you. Give me burial property among you so that I can bury my dead.”[g]5 The Hethites replied to Abraham,[h] 6 “Listen to us, my lord. You are a prince of God[i] among us. Bury your dead in our finest burial place.[j] None of us will withhold from you his burial place for burying your dead.”7 Then Abraham rose and bowed down to the Hethites, the people of the land. 8 He said to them, “If you are willing for me to bury my dead, listen to me and ask Ephron son of Zohar on my behalf 9 to give me the cave of Machpelah that belongs to him; it is at the end of his field. Let him give it to me in your presence, for the full price, as burial property.”10 Ephron was sitting among the Hethites. So in the hearing[k] of all the Hethites who came to the gate of his city, Ephron the Hethite answered Abraham: 11 “No, my lord. Listen to me. I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. I give it to you in the sight[l] of my people. Bury your dead.”12 Abraham bowed down to the people of the land 13 and said to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, “Listen to me, if you please. Let me pay the price of the field. Accept it from me, and let me bury my dead there.”14 Ephron answered Abraham and said to him, 15 “My lord, listen to me. Land worth four hundred shekels of silver—what is that between you and me? Bury your dead.” 16 Abraham agreed with Ephron, and Abraham weighed out to Ephron the silver that he had agreed to in the hearing of the Hethites: four hundred standard shekels[m] of silver. 17 So Ephron’s field at Machpelah near Mamre—the field with its cave and all the trees anywhere within the boundaries of the field—became 18 Abraham’s possession in the sight of all the Hethites who came to the gate of his city. 19 After this, Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave of the field at Machpelah near Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20 The field with its cave passed from the Hethites to Abraham as burial property.
A Wife for Isaac
24 Abraham was now old, getting on in years,[n] and the Lord had blessed him in everything. 2 Abraham said to his servant, the elder of his household who managed all he owned, “Place your hand under my thigh, 3 and I will have you swear by the Lord, God of heaven and God of earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I live, 4 but will go to my land and my family to take a wife for my son Isaac.”5 The servant said to him, “Suppose the woman is unwilling to follow me to this land? Should I have your son go back to the land you came from?”6 Abraham answered him, “Make sure that you don’t take my son back there. 7 The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from my native land, who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘I will give this land to your offspring’—he will send his angel before you, and you can take a wife for my son from there. 8 If the woman is unwilling to follow you, then you are free from this oath to me, but don’t let my son go back there.” 9 So the servant placed his hand under his master Abraham’s thigh and swore an oath to him concerning this matter.10 The servant took ten of his master’s camels, and with all kinds of his master’s goods in hand, he went to Aram-naharaim, to Nahor’s town. 11 At evening, the time when women went out to draw water, he made the camels kneel beside a well outside the town.12 “Lord, God of my master Abraham,” he prayed, “make this happen for me today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13 I am standing here at the spring where the daughters of the men of the town are coming out to draw water. 14 Let the girl to whom I say, ‘Please lower your water jug so that I may drink,’ and who responds, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels also’—let her be the one you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”15 Before he had finished speaking, there was Rebekah—daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor—coming with a jug on her shoulder. 16 Now the girl was very beautiful, a virgin—no man had been intimate with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came up. 17 Then the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please let me have a little water from your jug.”18 She replied, “Drink, my lord.” She quickly lowered her jug to her hand and gave him a drink. 19 When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I’ll also draw water for your camels until they have had enough to drink.”[o] 20 She quickly emptied her jug into the trough and hurried to the well again to draw water. She drew water for all his camels 21 while the man silently watched her to see whether or not the Lord had made his journey a success.22 As the camels finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing half a shekel, and for her wrists two bracelets weighing ten shekels of gold. 23 “Whose daughter are you?” he asked. “Please tell me, is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?”24 She answered him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.” 25 She also said to him, “We have plenty of straw and feed and a place to spend the night.”26 Then the man knelt low, worshiped the Lord, 27 and said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not withheld his kindness and faithfulness from my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.”28 The girl ran and told her mother’s household about these things. 29 Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban, and Laban ran out to the man at the spring. 30 As soon as he had seen the ring and the bracelets on his sister’s wrists, and when he had heard his sister Rebekah’s words—“The man said this to me!”—he went to the man. He was standing there by the camels at the spring.31 Laban said, “Come, you who are blessed by the Lord. Why are you standing out here? I have prepared the house and a place for the camels.” 32 So the man came to the house, and the camels were unloaded. Straw and feed were given to the camels, and water was brought to wash his feet and the feet of the men with him.33 A meal was set before him, but he said, “I will not eat until I have said what I have to say.”So Laban said, “Please speak.”34 “I am Abraham’s servant,” he said. 35 “The Lord has greatly blessed my master, and he has become rich. He has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male and female slaves, and camels and donkeys. 36 Sarah, my master’s wife, bore a son to my master in her[p] old age, and he has given him everything he owns. 37 My master put me under this oath: ‘You will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites in whose land I live 38 but will go to my father’s family and to my clan to take a wife for my son.’ 39 But I said to my master, ‘Suppose the woman will not come back with me?’ 40 He said to me, ‘The Lord before whom I have walked will send his angel with you and make your journey a success, and you will take a wife for my son from my clan and from my father’s family. 41 Then you will be free from my oath if you go to my family and they do not give her to you—you will be free from my oath.’42 “Today when I came to the spring, I prayed: Lord, God of my master Abraham, if only you will make my journey successful! 43 I am standing here at a spring. Let the young woman[q] who comes out to draw water, and I say to her, ‘Please let me drink a little water from your jug,’ 44 and who responds to me, ‘Drink, and I’ll draw water for your camels also’—let her be the woman the Lord has appointed for my master’s son.45 “Before I had finished praying silently, there was Rebekah coming with her jug on her shoulder, and she went down to the spring and drew water. So I said to her, ‘Please let me have a drink.’ 46 She quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and said, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels also.’ So I drank, and she also watered the camels. 47 Then I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She responded, ‘The daughter of Bethuel son of Nahor, whom Milcah bore to him.’ So I put the ring on her nose and the bracelets on her wrists. 48 Then I knelt low, worshiped the Lord, and blessed the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who guided me on the right way to take the granddaughter of my master’s brother for his son. 49 Now, if you are going to show kindness and faithfulness to my master, tell me; if not, tell me, and I will go elsewhere.”[r]50 Laban and Bethuel answered, “This is from the Lord; we have no choice in the matter.[s] 51 Rebekah is here in front of you. Take her and go, and let her be a wife for your master’s son, just as the Lord has spoken.”52 When Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed to the ground before the Lord. 53 Then he brought out objects of silver and gold, and garments, and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave precious gifts to her brother and her mother. 54 Then he and the men with him ate and drank and spent the night.When they got up in the morning, he said, “Send me to my master.”55 But her brother and mother said, “Let the girl stay with us for about ten days.[t] Then she[u] can go.”56 But he responded to them, “Do not delay me, since the Lord has made my journey a success. Send me away so that I may go to my master.”57 So they said, “Let’s call the girl and ask her opinion.”[v]58 They called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?”She replied, “I will go.” 59 So they sent away their sister Rebekah with the one who had nursed and raised her,[w] and Abraham’s servant and his men.60 They blessed Rebekah, saying to her:Our sister, may you become
thousands upon ten thousands.
May your offspring possess
the city gates of their[x] enemies.61 Then Rebekah and her female servants got up, mounted the camels, and followed the man. So the servant took Rebekah and left.62 Now Isaac was returning from Beer-lahai-roi,[y] for he was living in the Negev region. 63 In the early evening Isaac went out to walk[z] in the field, and looking up he saw camels coming. 64 Rebekah looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she got down from her camel 65 and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?”The servant answered, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself. 66 Then the servant told Isaac everything he had done.67 And Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah and took Rebekah to be his wife. Isaac loved her, and he was comforted after his mother’s death.
So God promises Abraham a son and now he is asking him to sacrifice him? That is a question that possibly is swirling through your head as you begin to read today’s reading. Abraham, by this point, has messed up the promise of God by sleeping with his slave Hagar but God delivered on His promise. Spoiler alert: He always delivers on His promises!
God puts Abraham to a test. The test is: Do you really trust me? Abraham passes the test with flying colors. What a difficult test. You aren’t able to have children and now God has promised you one and blessed you by fulfilling that promise, only to then ask you to sacrifice that child. Here is the question for us…to what lengths will we go to show we trust God and His plan?