In telling the story of Isaac it is very important to tell about his father Abram. Once Lord ordered Abram to leave his country, his people and his father’s household and to go to the land that God was going to show him. After that God made promises which were fulfilled in the rest of the Genesis. The first was making Abram into a great nation. Naturally question arises: how can man be made into a great nation? The answer is that through one’s heir that in its term will give more and more heirs (children) one can be made into nation.
Then God promised that he would bless Abram, making his name great, that he would bless those who bless him, that he would curse those who curse him, and finally that through Abram all nations would be blessed. At that time Abram was seventy-five years old, so he followed the Lord’s will and took his wife Sarai, nephew Lot, and moved to Canaan. While Abram was traveling at the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem, God appeared to him and told him that through his offspring he would receive that land. Because there was a famine in that land Abram went to Egypt. But there was a problem.
Abram knew how beautiful his wife Sarai was, also he knew what would happen to her if Egyptians saw her; moreover, he knew what would happen to him if they would have learned that Abraham was her husband- he would be dead. So they decided to pretend as if she was his sister.
But once Pharaoh’s officials saw her so they took her to the palace. Sarai became Pharaoh’s wife, Pharaoh in his term treated well to Abraham(he gave cattle, sheep, different servants). But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Egypt, Pharaoh understood that that was all because of Sarai and he gave back her to Abram.
Then he made orders about them to his men and they sent him on his way. All that time Lot was with them. They came to the Negev, after that they moved to Bethel, there Abraham called on the name of the Lord. Land could not support all of them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great. So Abram decided: let Lot go to the left and himself to the right.
In the telling of the story of Isaac, it is very important to notice that he was part of the covenant of the Lord with Abram. Since God promised to make Abraham into a great nation Abraham wondered how, because he was childless. He even thought of making the child of his servant, Hagar, to be his heir. Abraham and Hagar had a son in the name of Ishmael.
Once God appeared to Abram in the vision telling them that he was his reward but Abram wondered what Lord could give to him since he remained childless and the only son of his servant would be his heir. God gave a definite answer that only his own son would be his heir.
God required a sacrifice and said that he, Abram, will have his own son. Also, he told that his descendants will be strangers in the country of not their own and they will be enslaved and mistreated for hundred years, but God would punish that nation and afterward, they will come out with great possessions. Hagar was despised and she runs out of that house, but she met an angel in the desert who told her that her descendants would be multiplied so that it would be impossible to count them also he ordered her to come back to Sarai and submit to her.
When Abram was ninety-nine years old God appeared to him again and proclaimed that he would confirm their covenant and that from that moment Abram would be Abraham and his wife Sarai would be called Sarah. The Lord promised that their descendants would be numerous and that every male among them should be circumcised. Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah and did what he had promised, she became pregnant and gave a son to Abraham in his old age, he gave him the name Isaac. When he was eight years old he was circumcised, as God commanded him.
Once Sarah told to Abraham to get rid of Ishmael and Hagar because she didn’t want Ishmael to share an inheritance with Isaac. Abraham was confused about that matter because Ishmael was his son too, but God advised him to follow the will of Sarah and not to worry about Ishmael because he would be made into a nation too. The next morning Hagar left with the boy and wandered in the desert of Beersheba. They were about dying there, but God saved them and promised to make Ishmael into a great nation. Let come back to Abraham. One of the most well-known Old Testament stories is the test of Abraham.
God said that he wanted him to take his son, Isaac, to take him to the region of Moriah, and to sacrifice as a burnt offering on one of the mountains he would point him out. The next morning Abraham saddled the donkey and went to the place God told him about. They walked for three days then when Abraham saw the place of their destination he left his servants and then went only with Isaac. (by the way, many biblical scholars think that God chose the place of the sacrifice that was in the three days journey far from their place because for this big period of time Abraham could change his mind many times)
He took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on Isaac and they went to the mountain. While they were walking Isaac asked his father about the lamb for the offering, but Abraham replied that God would provide it. He made an altar up there, then bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, and right at that moment when Abraham was about to pierce him the voice from the sky stopped him. Thus Abraham proved his faith in God so God told him that he would surely bless him and make his son into a great nation.
When Abraham was old he ordered his chief servant to find a wife for Isaac among his relatives, but not from Canaanites among whom he was living and certainly not to bring Isaac to his homeland because God gave him that land. So the servant went to the home-land of Abraham, he reached the spring where women came to draw water and prayed to God to help him to find the girl.
He asked if he says to the girl: “Please let down your jar so I can have a drink” and she would reply: “Drink and I will water your camels too “-let her be the one God chose for Abraham. Right at that moment Rebekah, daughter of Bethuel, showed up and happened the same dialog he was expecting. Then the servant talked to her parents, told them the situation, that it was the will of the Lord so her parents agreed and let Rebekah become the wife of Abraham’s son, Isaac.
Parents asked to leave the daughter for ten days, but the servant insisted so they immediately went back to Abraham’s home. Then Isaac married Rebekah. At that time Abraham was forty years old. His wife, Rebekah was barren and he prayed to God because of that so the Lord answered his prayer and she became pregnant.
An interesting fact: the babies jousted each other within her and she asked why did it happen? The Lord told her that two people were within her and that from her two nations would be separated, one would be stronger than the other and the older will serve the younger.
The firstborn was a boy with red skin so they named him Esau the second one had a hand on Esau’s heel, he was named Jacob. When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter and Jacob was a quiet man who stayed among the tents so Isaac loved Esau and Rebekah loved Jacob. Esau despised his birthright when he came very hungry and Jacob was cooking stew; Esau asked to give him some but Jacob requested first to swear to sell his birthright (brothers!). Isaac left that land to go to Abimelech, king of Philistines in Gerar because there was a famine in that land, then he wanted to go down to Egypt, but the Lord ordered him not to go there.
God promised that he would give him all that lands and also to bless him. So Isaac stayed in Gerar. Then happens the same story as with Abraham he was afraid that someone who sees his wife Rebekah might kill him because she was very beautiful and he decided to tell everybody that she was his sister.
In this place, Isaac showed his weak belief in God because in Genesis 26:3 God promises that he would be with Isaac, moreover he would bless him! In the whole Genesis there is no such a verse when God says: “Isaac, you have to tell everybody that Rebekah is your sister because I won’t be able to protect you if somebody finds out that she is your wife “.
By the way, there is no such verse which says that all women at that time were so ugly, that to meet pretty woman was practically impossible, that civilized men ( who were sophisticated enough to write such books as Genesis ) would not greet the man with a beautiful wife, but they would kill him! So the conclusion is: Isaac didn’t believe that God would be able to protect him. Once Abimelech looked out of the window and saw Isaac caressing Rebekah so he understood that she was Isaac’s wife, he was surprised but ordered his men not to molest this couple. Then Isaac moved to the Valley of Gerar, his servants discovered fresh water in that land.
After that, he moved to Beersheba … When Isaac was very old and his eyes were so weak that he could not see any more he wanted to give his blessings before he dies. So he asked Esau to go hunting for wild games, to prepare tasty food for him, and to receive blessings before he dies. Rebekah heard all of this and because she loved Jacob more they decided to deceive Isaac. Jacob took Esau’s clothes covered his skin on his hands with goatskin, gave the food which Isaac required, and finally received the blessings. When Esau came back it was late because Isaac had given all his blessings already. Isaac lived one hundred and fifty years when he died Esau and Jacob buried him …