How old was Isaac when he was offered as a sacrifice?
According to Jewish tradition, Isaac was 37 years old when Abraham wanted to sacrifice him, which is fully supported by the Book of Jasher. But what is this book of Jasher? It is an important book because it is also referred to in the Tanach (Old Testament), namely in the book of Joshua:
„And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day.”
In the Torah (which is actually the books of Moses) we cannot read the age of Isaac when Abraham took him to Mount Moriah to sacrifice him. However, there are interesting “clues” in the word of God and other apocryphal books can help us. But why is Isaac's age important? It is important in all respects because Christianity generally believes that Isaac may have been around the age of 10 (but this is not true), who was forcibly abducted, bound, as if he had no choice. But we do not read this in the word of God, it is merely an unfounded assumption.
But by the way, 2Samuel 1:18 also refers to the book of Jasher. But let's read the details of the story from the book of Genesis:
„After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I." He said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you." And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together.”
We read that Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac. How much wood could it be?
When someone offered a burnt offering to the Lord, he had to provide enough wood for the sacrifice to burn completely. So it wasn’t enough to burn it, it had to be completely digested by the fire. It takes a lot of wood. A little boy can’t carry as many trees, especially while going up the mountain. Furthermore, we can see the full cooperation from Isaac, he knew well what awaited him. Although this is exactly what many people think differently, because of a misunderstood question:
„And Isaac said to his father Abraham, "My father!" And he said, "Here am I, my son." He said, "Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" Abraham said, "God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son." So they went both of them together.”
Isaac asked this question not because he did not know what awaited him, but because he knew well what God had promised:
„God said, "No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him.”
God promised Abraham to strengthen his covenant with Isaac, and also with His seed, who is Jacob (he is Israel). What God promises will be so. This is why Abraham was certain that Isaac would live, as we read in Genesis 22:
„Then Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you."”
Although Abraham did not know that he would not have to sacrifice Isaac, he believed that God would raise him:
„By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.”
Sarah's death also suggests that Isaac was 37 years old at the time. Sarah was 90 years old when she gave birth to Isaac and died at the age of 127. According to records, Sarah was in great spiritual pain as Abraham was about to sacrifice her only son. Yet her death was caused by joy when she received the news that Isaac had returned alive from the road.
We read at the end of Genesis 24 that Isaac mourned his mother and was comforted only when he married Rebekah. Isaac was then 40 years old (Genesis 25:20).
I thought it important to talk about this because it allowed us to gain a deeper insight into the faith of Isaac and Abraham, and perhaps to increase your hunger for the word of God, as Jesus said:
„Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
(September 4, 2021)