The use of the word 'lad' or 'boy' (Strong's 5288) to describe Isaac at
this time has led many to envision Abraham preparing to sacrifice his
young son. It is therefore difficult for many to consider that at this
time Isaac was actually nearly 30 years old.
In this text the men who accompany Abraham and Isaac are also described
in the Hebrew as 'young men', but our translations do not depict them as
'lads' or 'boys'. We also find Joshua in Exod 33:11 described by the same
Hebrew word and yet Joshua at this time is apparently mature enough to
lead an army into battle (refer Josh 17:8-9).
Scripture seems to be indicating that a man reaches full maturity at the
age of 30 years, the age when the sons of Levi were permitted to work in
the tabernacle of meeting, Num 4:3.
By describing Isaac as a 'young man' Scripture is placing an upper limit
upon the age of Isaac. Since the solution to the 400 year period requires
an age for Isaac of about 30 years or greater (the situation if the
choosing of the fathers was an event following the birth of Jacob) this
maintains a very tight control over the derivation of Isaac's age at the
time of this event.
Few have realized the willingness of Isaac to offer himself as a sacrifice,
that the will of God may be fulfilled, was how Isaac qualified (ie proved
It is also interesting to note that the promises made by God to Abraham
are not recorded by Scripture as being passed from Abraham to Isaac!
(However, the passing of the promises from Isaac to Jacob (Gen 27) and
from Jacob to the sons of Joseph (Gen 48) were recorded.) What is not at
first clear is that the promises were passed on to Isaac directly by God,
by God giving an oath to Isaac,
- 1Chron 16:16, 'His oath to Isaac'
- Psalm 105:9, 'His oath to Isaac'.
The oath to Isaac and the confirmation of the promises to Abraham occurred
at this time!