For most of my life, the conversation around Abraham sacrificing Isaac was almost purely about Abraham.
After all, it was Abraham that was being put to the test.
It was him that God asked to make the trek up the mountain.
It was Abraham who would have to actually drive the knife into his son.
But what about Isaac?! Wasn’t he the one that would actually be the one dying?
It’s time we talk about the faith of Isaac. Not only is it one of the most understated stories in Scripture, but it also reveals a great deal about the relationship he had with his father.
Let’s dive in.
Isaac Knew the Situation
It’s hard to know how old Isaac was at this point. He’s obviously old enough to notice that there’s no animal for the sacrifice (Genesis 22:7), but young enough that Abraham refers to him as “a lad.”
That term “lad” is no help either. It’s used both in Exodus 2:6 to refer to a baby, and again in 2 Samuel 14:21 when talking about Absalom as a “young man.” Quite a range there.
Either way, he’s old enough for Abraham to feel comfortable loading him up with wood (Genesis 22:6) and have him haul it up the mountain, so he can’t have been too young.
Which also leads me to believe that he had some inkling of what was going on. After he goes up the mountain and notices the lack of a sacrifice, he then is “bound” by Abraham and lays down on the altar.
Yet, through it all, not a peep of protest is made by Isaac.
This is perhaps the most amazing part of this entire story. Isaac never once — at least as far as we know — objects to the idea of being made into a human sacrifice. His trust in his father is 100% set in stone.
What Did Isaac Know?
It’s hard to get into the mind of someone who knows that they’re about to die. We can only guess as to what Isaac felt in those final moments before he thought the knife would come down on top of him.
Betrayal by Abraham?
Shock at the command of God?
Resignation to his fate?
We don’t know for sure, but what we do know is what Abraham believed.
In Hebrews 11:19, the writer mentions that Abraham “considered” that God had the ability to resurrect Isaac from the dead. Is it possible that he communicated this thought to his son on the way up the mountain? They did walk for three days, after all. That’s a lot of time for casual and/or serious conversation.
No one really knows, but if Abraham did tell Isaac his beliefs on resurrection, it shows Isaac’s faith even more — that even if his own father killed him, God could raise him up.
A feat that, by this point in Scripture, had never been done before.