Mount Moriah (Genesis 22)

Genesis 22

“Mount Moriah”, according to 2 Chronicles 3:1, was the location in Jerusalem where Yahweh appeared to David, inspiring him to build an altar and make a sacrifice. Solomon later constructed the temple on the same site.

Some scholars are hesitant to identify this location as being synonymous with the site where God tested Abraham’s faith by the near-sacrifice of Isaac because Genesis 22:2 names Moriah as a region, not a specific mountain. Also, it seems incongruous that Abraham would have carried wood to Jerusalem, a forested area, rather than gathering it at the site of the planned sacrifice. On the other hand, it may not seem surprising that Abraham would have gone prepared to make the sacrifice and would not have wanted to go to the trouble of seeking out suitably dried wood after his arrival. Also, Mount Moriah at Jerusalem can reasonably be described as about a three-day trek from Beersheba.

Genesis 22:14 indicates that the latter generations would know this site as “the mountain (or hill) of the Lord”, language commonly used elsewhere for Zion/Jerusalem (see Psalm 24, Isaiah 2:3, Zecheriah 8:3). The name Moriah might be associated with a Hebrew verb meaning “to see” or “to provide”, a theologically significant term appearing repeatedly throughout Genesis 22:1-19. In Jerusalem, as in no other place, the Lord would subsequently be “seen” and would “provide” for His people through the benefits of the sacrifices He would ordain. Based upon this association the Biblical authors may have assumed that Abraham was prepared to offer his sacrifice on the same mountain on which the Iraelites would later offer theirs – Mount zion in Jerusalem.

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