Genesis 21–23: On Ishmael’s Expulsion, Isaac’s Sacrifice, and Abraham’s Graveyard (Bible Talk, Ep. 7)

Moses spends so much time cultivating an expectation for Isaac’s birth. But then, out of nowhere, the Lord tests Abraham, telling him to sacrifice his son, his only son whom he loves.

Alex Duke chats with Jim Hamilton & Sam Emadi about Genesis 21–23.

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1:45 / We’ve been waiting forever for the birth of Isaac. So why is it so understated? Where’s the drama

5:05 / Ishmael laughs at Isaac, and Sarah’s had enough. What’s happening here?

7:45 / Sam tells us that Isaac and Ishmael are almost the exact same person. But there’s one important difference . . .

10:30 / Jim explains why Sarah was justified in wanting to send Ishmael and Hagar away.

15:05 / Someone could read this passage and question God’s character. How could he send this boy and his mom out to the wilderness?! Why is that the wrong response?

17:08 / Sam helps us read Old Testament narratives better. His advice? Pay attention to the dialogue.

19:55 / What’s the deal with Abimelech and this “lame” story about a well? Jim tries to correct Alex and Sam for calling it “lame.”

24:30 / How does this story of Abimelech in Genesis 24 compare to the first time we meet him?

25:55 / Sam claims the story of Isaac’s birth is “a story of resurrection.”

29:25 / The promised son comes. And then come the jaw-dropping events of Genesis 22. For the next several minutes—until 54:55—Jim slowly walks through the passage as Sam provides color commentary.

31:25 / Is God commanding human sacrifice?

34:00 / What’s the significance of “Mount Moriah”?

36:20 / Is there any significance to the “third day”? How does all this lead to Jesus?

38:40 / Does Abraham really believe that God will raise Isaac from the dead? Is that the same kind of faith we need?

43:00 / Moses basically gives us a slow-motion account of Abraham about to kill his son. Why?

44:15 / Is this test for the Lord’s benefit? Or for Abraham’s? (Also: Sam mentions The Princess Bride, and Alex shamefully mentions that he’s never seen it.)

47:15 / What emotions does this passage evoke?

49:15 / Is this the first Day of Atonement? How does Genesis 22 pave the way for Jesus’ eventual substitutionary sacrifice?

51:40 / What does Genesis 22:15–19 mean? Why are we talking about gates and enemies? Is God finally going to do what he said he was going to do because of Abraham’s obedience?

54:55 / Sam reflects more on genealogies. There’s always good application here!

57:00 / Abraham and some guy named Ephron the Hittite haggle over the price of a cave. Why in the world does this matter?

59:25 / Abraham finally gets a down-payment on the promised land. But it’s not what you think . . .


1:00:20 / How would you explain the events of Genesis 22 to a non-Christian who finds them repugnant? (Jim gets mad at Richard Dawkins.)

Image: The Sacrifice of Isaac, Caravaggio (1602)

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