Isaac Offered as a Sacrifice to God – 1871 B.C. & Custom and Law in Ancient Mesopotamia

I see You made the promise good about the child.  I’m anxious to see what happens next.  This is an interesting story, You should write it out and get it published, I bet it would be a best seller.

There is no data proving when the following occurred, but according to Jewish Historian Titus Flavius Josephus, it happened in 1871 B.C., when Isaac was 25 years old.

Isaac Offered as a Sacrifice to God 1871 B.C.

“And it came to pass after these things that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. 

Mount Moriah (Mt. Gerizim)
In the Old Testament, Abraham was commanded to sacrifice his Son, Isaac in Genesis 22. In order to properly present the sacrifice, Abraham and Isaac ascended Mt. Moriah. It was on this mountain that God saw Abraham’s faithfulness and rewarded him, sparing Isaac.
No one is quite sure where this mountain is because the names of mountains have changed over time. However, many believe that Mt. Moriah is the same mountain as Mt. Gerizim.
The Samaritans considered Mt. Gerizim to be the same as Mt. Moriah, and have considered it a holy place since ancient times. They went to Mt. Gerizim to worship and present their offerings.

And he said, take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of  2 Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. 

Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. 

And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. 

And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son.  And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? 

And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

And they came to the place, which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. 

And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 

And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. 

And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen” (Gen 22:1-14).

1 This symbolizes the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (Jn 3:16). 

God wouldn’t let Abraham kill Isaac, nor would God let Jesus stay dead. 

Abraham hadn’t known that He would or even could resurrect Isaac after he killed him, but it didn’t matter, he did what God told him to do because he trusted Him.

The mountains associated with Jerusalem today are Mount Ophen, Mount Zion and Mount Moriah. It’s believed that Mount Ophen is actually part of Mount Moriah which rises to 2,549 feet.

The Temple Mount sets at 2,428 feet. I believe the entire City of David was built on the lowest part of Mount Moriah.

2 Mount Moriah is the rocky hilltop of Jerusalem north of the old Jebusite city of Jerusalem where Solomon built the temple.  Actually the place earlier had been called the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, David bout it so he could offer a substitutionary sacrifice for himself and his house after he met the angel of death there during the great plague (2 Sam 24:17). 

The writer of 2 Chr 3:1 calls the site Mount Moriah.  Joseph, the first century Jewish historian, linked the site of the offering of Isaac with the site of the temple (Antiquities I, xiii.2)

Rabbinic literature follows this identification, and so does Muslim folklore concerning the Dome of the Rock, which stands there now.  Substitutionary sacrifices of Abraham and David at the site and the whole sacrificial system of the temple point forward to the substitutionary work of Christ on the cross.

Custom and Law in Ancient Mesopotamia

The Ur-Nammu law code is the oldest known, written about 300 years before Hammurabi’s law code.
When first found in 1901, the laws of Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC) were heralded as the earliest known laws.
Now older collections are known: They are laws of the town Eshnunna (ca. 1800 BC), the laws of King Lipit-Ishtar of Isin (ca. 1930 BC), and Old Babylonian copies (ca. 1900-1700 BC) of the Ur-Nammu law code , with 26 laws of the 57.
This cylinder is the first copy found that originally had the whole text of the code, and it is the world’s oldest law code.
Further it actually mentions the name of Ur-Nammu for the first time.

Laws from ancient Meso­potamia provide various interesting parallels to the Genesis stories. In particular, numerous regulations illustrate the marriage and inher­itance issues found in the accounts of the patriarchs.

For example: Just as Sarai procured an heir for Abram through her maid, the Sumerian laws of Ur-Nammu (founder and ruler of Ur’s Third Dynasty, c.2044—2007 B.C. allowed a husband to take a concubine after waiting in vain for his primary wife to bear children.

As in Sarai’s case, the primary wife might even have initiated the arrangement.

Hurrian law at Nuzi (mid-second mil­lennium B.C.) and the Code of Hammurabi in Babylonia (early 18th century B.C.) allowed a man to adopt as legitimate heirs any children he may have fathered through a slave woman.

In Sumer, the eldest son inherited the whole of his father’s estate and assumed responsibility for his siblings. But in Assyria and Nuzi brothers divided their father’s estate, with the eldest son receiving a double portion.

Nuzi law permitted inheritance rights to be transferred to a son born to the primary wife after she had adopted her surrogate’s son.

In a similar manner Isaac (although born after Ishmael) had the right to be Abraham’s chief heir.

Neo-Babylonian law included the pro­vision that sons born to a concubine would be subordinate to any sons born to the pri­mary wife and that the combined sons of the primary wife would inherit two-thirds of the estate.

The disinheritance of a son, a practice allowed in certain societies, generally required a court order that might be officially overturned if the father were found to have acted unfairly.

Some scholars, based upon such a prohibition in Nuzi law, have questioned the legality of Sarah’s demand to expel Hagar and Ishmael, which by analogy may indi­cate that Abraham lived under similar customs and laws.

Neo-Babylonian, about 555-540 BC – From Sippar, southern Iraq This clay cuneiform cylinder was discovered in the Temple of Shamash at Sippar.

It records the pious reconstruction by Nabonidus (reigned 555-539 BC) of the temples of the moon-god Sin in Harran and of the sun-god Shamash and goddess Anunitum at Sippar.

He tells us that during the work at Sippar, inscriptions of older kings Naram-Sin (2254-2218 B.C.) and Shagaraki-shuriash (1245-1233 B.C.) were discovered, and Nabonidus offers dates that considerably exaggerate their age.

Nabonidus came to the throne after the assassination of two of the successors of Nebuchadnezzar, even though he had no direct family connection with the Babylonian royal family.

He was old enough to have a mature son (Bel-shar-usur, the biblical Belshezzar – the story of him wetting his pants and being killed by God is in the Book of Daniel) and was almost certainly an experienced soldier.

A number of Nabonidus’ inscriptions include historical references intended to show that his irregular accession to the throne had the blessing of the gods and of earlier Babylonian kings. Linked to this concern for legitimacy are the recurring references to Nabonidus’ search for earlier buildings in the course of his own reconstruction work.

Collecting ancient documents and objects was already practised, for example, at Ashurbanipal’s library at his palace at Nineveh. In the ruins of the Northern Palace at Babylon a museum-like collection of ‘antiquities’ was found, apparently collected by Nebuchadnezzar and his successors.

This was probably still visible in Persian times.

Indeed, Abraham was hesitant to comply with Sarah’s wish and did so only after divine inter­vention.

In addition to family legislation, cer­tain laws and customs concerning con­tracts and other agreements mentioned in Genesis had parallels in Mesopotamia.

Treaties discovered at Mari and modern Tell Leilan (from the early 2nd millen­nium B.C.) are strikingly similar to the treaty reports in Gen 21,26, 31:

* In each case a formal oath was requested and given.

* The oaths were followed by reports of stipulations, frequently including a pledge of non-hostility.

* The oaths generally involved ceremonial feasts or sacrifices (Gen 26:30) and a gift exchange of sorts, particularly if the parties to the agreement had met in person.

The Mesopotamian cultural milieu from which the patriarchs emerged helps us to understand patriarchal social structures and practices reported throughout Genesis.

A Child is Promised and The Patriarchal Period: Mesopotamia During the Time of Abraham

I’m guessing that Melchizedek was one of Your many angels since he didn’t have parents. 

The relative of Abram mentioned in the Bible is Lot, didn’t  Abram and Sarai have children?

“After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. 

And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? 

And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.

According to most interpretations, the unnamed “…slave, the elder of the household, who controlled all that was his” in Genesis (Chayei Sarah) 24:2 who acted as a marriage broker (shadchan; Hebrew: שַׁדְּכָן‎ shadkhán) for Isaac was this Eliezer. Although his name is not spelled out in the Bible, but he is only described there as “the servant of Abraham” (Genesis 24:34 ff), Jewish tradition has that this man, who found Rebeccah and facilitated her marriage with Isaac, bore the name Eliezer.

And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 

And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to Number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.  And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. 

And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?” (Gen 15:1-8).

“And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 

And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;

And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 

And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; 1 thou shalt be buried in a good old age.  But in the fourth generation, they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full” (Gen 15:12-16).

1 God decides when we die.  Many suicide attempts fail because it wasn’t their time.  I read many years ago about a boy tried to kill himself by shooting himself in the face.  He destroyed his face, but lived in torment for ten more years. 

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27). 

God decides, we don’t.  Furthermore, there is no past life, that idea is hog wash.

Even though God decides when we die He allows us to choose where we will spend eternity, it is Heaven or Hell, there is no Purgatory or reincarnation.

For 400 years there was going to be problems in Egypt because the people were self-righteous and wicked.  How the people acted at that time was nothing compared to what they were doing to become.

Anyone that belongs to Jesus is an offspring of Abraham (Gal 3:29). 

Abraham is the father of all them that believe (Rom 4:11), being a Jew Does Not make anyone an offspring of Abraham.

God never breaks a promise, yet, He also never tells when or where the promise He made will take place.  That’s what faith it all about. 

God told Abraham that his heir would come from his own loins and even him and Sara were already over 90 years old, Abram believed what God told him.

The Patriarchal Period:
During the Time of Abraham

Near the end of the third millennium B.C., the Sumerian Third Dynasty of Ur lost the predominate influence it had enjoyed over most of Mesopotamia.

A well and tamarisk tree at Beersheba

The Amorites dominated Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine from 2000 to about 1600.

They originated in Arabia then traveled to Mesopotamia and then moved into Syria.

Then they traveled East, into Canaan.

The Amorites destructed Ur and Sumer but did not win the battle, just weakened their city-states.

The Amorites developed kingdoms instead of city-states.

Amorite refers to a Semitic people who occupied the country west of the Euphrates from the second half of the third millennium B.C., and also the god they worshiped, Amurru.

Religion and Culture:

There seem to have be cults of the moon-god Sin, Amurru and Marduk, their supreme god.

In the Enuma Elish an explanation is given for why Marduk was lifted up to the supreme god, replacing Ea and Enlil. With this myth, legitimacy was given for the Amorite conquest and replacement of national kings.

The Amorites are also mentioned in the Old Testament in the Bible, whom they were the first people Moses fought upon returning with the Hebrew from Sinai.

Their Appearance:

They have been described to have had fair skin, light hair, blue eyes, and pointed beards.


They had reorganized the government of the Sumerians. Instead of having many city-states, they just had cities.

The monarch was giving all the power instead of each individual city; as a result the monarch became more powerful.

They used this power to collect taxes and build strong armies.

The entire region experienced severe political instability as its city-states continually challenged one another, as well as those in northern Syria, and power frequently changed hands.

Kings with Amorite names ruled many of these city-states during the patriarchal period. The Amorites comprised a large and diverse group of northwestern Semitic tribes from Syria-Arabia.

Many scholars once thought them to have been mostly nomadic invaders who brought with them the widespread political instability mentioned above, as well as the urban decline characterizing the end of the third millennium B.C.

However, texts from Mar and elsewhere indicate that the Amorites included both semi-nomadic pastoralists (raisers of livestock) and sedentary groups, generally organized around patriarchal figures who began settling in Mesopotamian villages and urban centers as early as the middle of the third millennium B.C. 

This cultural pattern is similar to the one we see occurring in portraits of the patriarchs of the Bible.

By the turn of the third millennium B.C.  even larger numbers of Amorites had migrated south into Canaan and southeast into Mesopotamia, perhaps pressured by the Hurrians from the north.

Many Amorites worked their way into positions of leadership. The most famous of these were Shamshi-Adad I in Assyria (late 19th to early 18th centuries B.C.).

The Biblical patriarchs most likely lived within this early second-millennium period.

The cross-cultural interaction taking place among the Sumerians, Akkadians and Amorites, as well as the Hurrians and Hittites to the north is clearly reflected in the patriarchal narratives in terms of social customs, laws and languages.

 Far from being anachronistic, the details of the Biblical stories of the patriarchs fit well into the historical environment of the late second millennium B.C.  There is no evidence that should lead scholars to question their authenticity.

Adam Feeds the Animals & Euphrates and Mesopotamia

How did Adam and the animals get their names?

“And out of the ground, the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature that was the name thereof.  And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field…” (Gen 2:1920).

Euphrates and Mesopotamia

The Tigres and Euphrates Rivers dominate Mesopotamia.  Both rivers originate in the high mountains foe aster  Turkey and flow south-Southeastward to the Persian Gulf.

Lower Mesopotamia is located the modern country of Iraq, while Upper Mesopotamia is in Syria and Turkey.
Mesopotamia is Greek for “between the rivers.”
Specifically, the rivers referenced by this term are the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers that run through modern-day Iraq.
These two rivers, and the land between them, are often called the “cradle of civilization” because the civilization that developed there was likely the first ever on Earth.
If we go back to the characteristics of a civilization, we know that one of the first requirements is a surplus of food.
It makes sense then that the people that settled in Mesopotamia did so to utilize the life (and food) giving waters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
Like other river valley civilizations (Egypt, the people of the Indus River Valley), the people of Mesopotamia relied heavily on fairly regular spring floods that spilled the rivers over their banks, leaving behind extremely fertile soil when the waters receded.
The melting snows that fed the Tigris and Euphrates mountains came from the Taurus Mountains to the northwest in modern Turkey and the Zagros mountains to the north in Iran and Turkey.
The Tigris and Euphrates were of course used as a water supply and to irrigate crops, but they were also important for transportation and trade.
Mesoptamia was a cross-roads of the early ancient world for trade between Egypt, India and China, and the people leaving on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, a region called the Levant.
Like most of the great rivers of the world, the Tigris and Euphrates have been dammed to control flooding and harness the power of the moving waters.
As a result, Mesopotamia is much less “green” in modern satellite images than it would have appeared even a few centuries ago.
The deserts have reclaimed much of the land between the rivers, including much of the marshlands that were once plentiful there.
The deserts also reclaimed a chunk of the Persian Gulf, where the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers join and empty.

Large distances separate the rivers for most of their journey, but near Baghdad they converge to within 20 miles.  Near the head of the Persian Gulf the rivers merge into a marshland, a feature characteristic of both ancient and modern times. 

The Euphrates (1,780 miles long) is longer and slower than the Tigris (1,150 miles long), but more suited for transportation.  All important cities of Mesopotamia are along one of the two rivers.

Both rivers flooded annually, bringing damage to the cities.  Central and southern Mesopotamia maintained sophisticated system of canals, dikes, and dams from earliest times to protect their cities and to distribute water to thirsty fields.

Southern and northern Mesopotamia differs in terms of geography, climate, and natural resources. 

The dividing line between the two is roughly near modern Baghdad, approximately 350 miles.

In the north the summers were very hot, winter’s mild, rainfall scarce, so crops depended entirely on irrigation.

The south lacks many resources; few building materials were available so houses, temples, and palaces were built of mud brick.  Metals and timber had to be imported. 

Yet, crops of barley were excellent, the basic staple used for cakes, beer, and some wheat.

Dates grew in abundance and sesame oil supplied essential carbohydrates for the diet.  Fish from the marshlands and rivers provided much of the meat. 

Babylon and Ur prospered greatly from the vitality of the Mesopotamia area.

North of Baghdad, uplands and steppes contrast with flat plain of the south.  Rolling hills emerge from the high mountains that border Mesopotamia to the north. 

Rainfall amounts are higher here; some sections received up to 20 inches annually.  Summers are somewhat milder than in the south, but winters harsher due to the higher elevations.

Near Mosul in the middle Tigris Valley; Asshur, Nineveh, and Calah (Nimrud) mark the heartland of ancient Assyria. 

Portions of Assyria produced crops of barley and wheat, but not enough for them to be self-sufficient.  Metals necessary for weapons and implements – copper, iron, tin, zinc, and lead – had to be imported along with cedar and food supplies.

Due west of Assyria lay northwest Mesopotamia associated with the Balikh and Habor Rivers. 

Balkh was center of Zoroastrianism in what is now northern Afghanistan.
Today it is a small town in the province of Balkh, about 20 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital, Mazar-e Sharif, and some 74 km (46 mi) south of the Amu Darya.
It was one of the major cities of Khorasan, since the latter’s earliest history. Marco Polo described Balkh as a “noble and great city”.
The ancient city of Balkh was under the Greeks renamed Bactra, giving its name to Bactria.
It was mostly known as the center and capital of Bactria or Tokharistan.
Balkh is now for the most part a mass of ruins, situated some 12 km from the right bank of the seasonally flowing Balkh River, at an elevation of about 365 m (1,200 ft).
Outside the town was a large Buddhist monastery, later known as Naubahar.
Balkh is considered to be the first city to which the Indo-Iranian tribes moved from the North of Amu Darya, between 2000 – 1500 BC.
The Arabs called it Umm Al-Belaad or Mother of Cities due to its antiquity.
The city was traditionally a center of Zoroastrianism.
The name Zariaspa, which is either an alternate name for Balkh or a term for part of the city, may derive from the important Zoroastrian fire temple Azar-i-Asp.
Balkh was regarded as the place where Zoroaster first preached his religion, as well as the place where he died.

The Bible associates Abraham closely with this region.  The biblical term Aram-naharaim (Gen 24:10, Deut 23:4), often translated Mesopotamia,” refers to the land of the Balikh and Habor Rivers.

You will hear more about Nineveh, mostly in the book of Jonah.  It was extremely powerful and cruel.