BibleAsk Team

Who was Isaac in the Bible?

The name Isaac, means “he laughs.” This name was a continuous reminder of the happy time when the faith of Abraham and Sarah became reality (Genesis 17:17; 18:12; 21:6). The Lord promised the parents that they will get a miracle child at their old age.

The birth of Isaac

At the appointed time, Sarah got pregnant and gave birth to Isaac. But Isaac was Abraham’s second son; his first, Ishmael, was by Sarah’s maidservant, Hagar. In desperation for a child, Sarah urged Abraham to marry her maid in order to get a child (Genesis 16:1-2). But when the Lord fulfilled His divine promise to Abraham, and gave them the miracle child Isaac, Sarah asked Abraham to send her maid and her son away because Ishmael mocked Isaac publicly (Genesis 21:9). Sarah feared that Ishmael’s animosity to Isaac will jeopardize his life and right as the legal heir (Genesis 21:3-12).

Isaac’s submission to God

When Isaac was a young lad, the Lord tested Abraham loyalty by asking him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice (Genesis 22:1-14). Abraham, in obedience, took Isaac and two of his servants and left to Mount Moriah. Abraham and Isaac alone climbed the mountain. Then, Isaac asked his father about the lamb for the offering. So, Abraham answered that God would provide the lamb. Abraham built the altar and told his son that he is the sacrifice. Isaac submitted fully to his aged father and didn’t resist. When Abraham lifted his hand to slay Isaac, the angel of the Lord stopped him. And Abraham saw a ram in the thicket which he used for the offering. The patriarch passed the test of faith and it was credited to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). While the Lord saved Isaac, He Himself offered His only Son as a sacrifice to redeem sinful humans from the penalty of their sin (John 3:16). There is no greater love than this (John 15:13).

At the age of forty

After the death of Sarah, Abraham sent his servants to find a wife for Isaac from among his relatives. For he didn’t want his son to marry a pagan Canaanite woman and lose the covenant blessing of God (Genesis 24:1-51). The servant sought the Lord’s guidance in prayer concerning this serious matter. And the Lord heard his prayer and directed him to the house of Rebekah who was the daughter of Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother (Genesis 25:15). Isaac married Rebekah and loved her (Genesis 24:67) when he was 40 years old (Genesis 25:20).

At the age of sixty

The Lord blessed Isaac with twins—Jacob and Esau at the age of sixty (Genesis 24:24-26). Isaac favored his elder son, Esau, and Rebekah favored, Jacob. But Esau despised his birth right and sold it to Jacob for a meal of lentils (Genesis 25:29-34). And Rebekah helped Jacob to steal his father’s blessing by disguising as Esau. Isaac refused to take Jacob’s blessing back after finding out that he was tricked. After Esau pleaded for it, Isaac gave him a lesser blessing (Genesis 27:34–40). Esau got very angry and planned to kill Jacob. But Jacob escaped for his life to his uncle Laban. There, he fell in love with his uncle’s daughter, Rachel, and married her (Genesis 29).

At the age of seventy-five

When Isaac was seventy-five, Abraham, his father, died (Genesis 25:5). At the funeral, both Isaac and Ishmael buried their father (Genesis 25:9).

Later, there was a famine in the land, and God appeared to Isaac and told him not to go to Egypt but to stay in the land. And the Lord promised to be with him and bless him and give the land to his offspring. And He reiterated to Isaac His covenant with Abraham saying that He will make his descendants numerous as the stars and bless all the nations of the earth through them (Genesis 26:1–6).

Faithfully, the Lord began to fulfill His promise of blessing and “Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold” (Genesis 26:12). But the philistines were jealous of his prosperity and stopped up all the wells which his father’s servants dug (v. 15). With time, the Philistine king realized that Isaac had been blessed by God and made a pact of peace with him (Genesis 26:26–31).

At the age of 180

Isaac died at the age of 180 and was buried by both of his sons (Genesis 35:27-29). Esau and Jacob had been reconciled for about 23 years. Isaac was a godly devout man who humbly submitter to God’s will. He was a good-natured person and generous toward his fellow men. Therefore, the Lord affirmed His covenant with him and with his son, Jacob (Israel) as He did with Abraham his father. And through his linage, many centuries later, the Messiah came to redeem mankind (Matthew 1:1,2).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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