23. Final Exams (Genesis 22:1-24)Related Media
Fourteen years ago I applied for admission to Dallas Theological Seminary. As I was filling out my application, there were some questions which I had to answer. One concerned an area of biblical interpretation over which many Christians disagree. I well remember saying on my application that while I personally agreed with the seminary’s position, I did not see it proven by the passage cited in its support. Nothing was said about this matter for over three years. So far as I was concerned, it was all forgotten.
Just before my final year in seminary I was called into the dean’s office for a little discussion. To my amazement the matter of the difference between my position and the school’s was brought up. You might be interested to know that my position changed little, even through years of study and after learning a little about the original languages of the Bible. Somewhat reassured by my answers, the seminary allowed me to continue my educational program and graduate the next year.
The point of my illustration is that while this difference of interpretation was allowed to persist, there was a time when it would become an important issue. I find that God often does this same thing. He may allow a particular problem to continue for some time, but sooner or later the problem will become an issue of import and one that must be resolved.
Such was the case with Abraham. At the very outset of his relationship with God he was given a clear command concerning his family:
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you” (Genesis 12:1; emphasis added).
We know, however, that it took years for Abram to be separated from his father; and when it did occur, it was the result of death rather than of deliberate obedience. Next it was Lot from whom Abram was reluctant to separate. In chapter 21 there was the painful act of sending away Ishmael, a son deeply loved by Abraham. In chapter 22 Abraham has come to his ultimate test. Abraham was an elderly man, and Sarah was soon to die. Abraham’s love was now focused upon Isaac, who after chapter 21 is his only son (22:2). God has brought Abraham to the point where he must give priority to either his faith or his family. The greatest test of his faith now confronts Abraham in Genesis 22.
We are not told the exact time of the ultimate test in Abraham’s life, only that it came after the events of chapter 21. Personally, I believe that it was at least ten years later, which would make Isaac a young man of at least the age of Ishmael when he was sent away. This would give ample time for the affections of Abraham for his first son to have been transferred to his second, Isaac. Isaac is thus accurately called his “only son” and the son whom Abraham loved (verse 2).
Contrary to the connotation of the term “tempted” employed by the King James translators in verse 2, God tested Abraham to demonstrate his faith in tangible terms. We know from Scripture that while God tests men to prove their godly character as saints, He never solicits them to sin (cf. James 1:12-18). Thus, in James 2 the apostle can point to this event in Abraham’s life as an evidence of a living faith:
Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? (James 2:21)197
God’s command to Abraham must have caught him totally unprepared:
And He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you” (Genesis 22:2).
The greatest difficulty I find in this chapter is not the conduct of Abraham but the command of God. How can a God of wisdom, mercy, justice, and love command Abraham to offer up his only son as a sacrifice? Infant sacrifice was practiced by the Canaanites, but it was condemned by God (cf. Leviticus 18:21; Deuteronomy 12:31). Furthermore, such a sacrifice would have had no real value:
Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams, In ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my first-born for my rebellious acts, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? (Micah 6:7)
To point out that God stopped Abraham short of carrying out the command does not solve the problem. How could God have given the order in the first place if it were immoral? To hold that God could ever command His children to do wrong, even as a test, is to open the door to all kinds of difficulties.
Several factors must be considered to understand this test in a proper light. First of all, we must admit a strong bias in the matter. We who are parents are repulsed by the thought of sacrificing our children upon an altar. We thus project our abhorrence upon God and suppose that He could never consider such a thing either. Secondly, we view this command from the vantage point of the culture of the day, which did practice child sacrifice. If the pagans did it and God condemned their practice, it must be wrong in any context.
We are forced to the conclusion that the sacrifice of Isaac could not have been wrong, whether only attempted or accomplished, because God is incapable of evil (James 1:13ff; I John 1:5). Much more than this, it could not be wrong to sacrifice an only son because God actually did sacrifice His only begotten Son:
All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand (Isaiah 53:6,10).
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16; cf. Matthew 26:39,42; Luke 22:22; John 3:17; Acts 2:23; II Corinthians 5:21; Revelation 13:8).
In this sense, God did not require Abraham to do anything that He Himself would not do. Indeed, the command to Abraham was intended to foreshadow what He would do centuries later on the cross of Calvary.
Only by understanding the typological significance of the “sacrifice of Isaac” can we grasp the fact that God’s command was holy and just and pure. Abraham’s willingness to give up his only son humanly illustrated the love of God for man, which caused Him to give His only begotten Son. The agony of heart experienced by Abraham reflected the heart of the Father at the suffering of His Son. The obedience of Isaac typified the submission of the Son to the will of the Father (cf. Matthew 26:39,42).
God halted the sacrifice of Isaac for two reasons. First, such a sacrifice would have no benefit for others. The lamb must be “without blemish,” without sin, innocent (cf. Isaiah 53:9). This is the truth which Micah implied (6:7). Second, Abraham’s faith was amply evidenced by the fact that he was fully intending to carry out the will of God. We have no question in our mind that had God not intervened, Isaac would have been sacrificed. In attitude Isaac had already been sacrificed, so the act was unnecessary.
A second difficulty pertains to the silence of Abraham. One of my friends put it well: “How come Abraham interceded with God for Sodom, but not for his son Isaac?” We must remember that the Scriptures are selective in what they report, choosing to omit what is not essential to the development of the argument of the passage (cf. John 20:30-31; 21:25). In this chapter of Genesis, for example, we know that God was to indicate the particular place to “sacrifice” Isaac (verse 2) and that Abraham went to this spot (verse 9), but we are not told when God revealed this to him.
I believe that Moses, under the superintending guidance of the Holy Spirit, omitted Abraham’s initial reaction to God’s command in order to highlight his ultimate response—obedience. Personally (although there is no Scripture to support my conjecture), I believe that Abraham argued and pled with God for the life of his son, but God chose not to record this point in Abraham’s life because it would have had little to inspire us. I know that many of us would not want God to report our first reactions to unpleasant situations either; it is our final response that matters (cf. Matthew 21:28-31).
This helps me as I read the evaluation of Old Testament saints in the New Testament. Except for the words of Peter I would never have considered Lot to be a righteous man (II Peter 2:7-8). In Hebrews 11 and Romans 4 Abraham is portrayed as a man without failure or fault, yet the book of Genesis clearly reports these weaknesses. The reason, I believe, is that the New Testament writers are viewing these saints as God does. Because of Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary, the sins of the saints are not only forgiven but also forgotten. The wood, hay, and stubble of sin is consumed, leaving only the gold, silver, and precious stones (I Corinthians 3:10-15). The sins of the saints are not glossed over; they are covered by the blood of Christ. When these sins are recorded, it is only for our admonition and instruction (I Corinthians 10:1ff, especially verse 11).
Regardless of the struggles which are not reported, Abraham arose early to begin the longest journey of his life:
So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him (Genesis 22:3).
I have said previously that while the early hour may reflect the resolve of Abraham to do God’s will, it may contain some human factors also. First, I would imagine that sleep completely evaded Abraham on that night, especially after God had clearly commanded the sacrifice of Isaac. Some people rise early because all hope of sleep is gone. Then, too, I would not have wanted to face Sarah with my plans for the coming days. While Abraham was resigned to do God’s will, Sarah is not informed of this test (at least so far as the Scriptures record).
After a heart-breaking three-day journey the mountain of sacrifice was in view. At this point Abraham left his servants behind and went on alone with Isaac:
And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship and return to you.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together (Genesis 22:5-6).
In the midst of great anguish of soul there is a beautiful expression of hope and faith in verse 5:
“Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you” (NIV; emphasis added).
I do not believe these words were idly spoken but that they reflected a deep inner trust in God and His promises. The God Who had commanded the sacrifice of Isaac had also promised to produce a nation through him (17:15-19; 21:12).
As the two went on alone climbing the mountain to the place of sacrifice, Isaac put a question to his father which must have broken his heart: “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (verse 7)
The answer was painfully evident to Abraham, and yet there is in his answer not only a deliberate vagueness but also an element of hope: “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son” (verse 8).
At every step Abraham must have hoped for some change of plans, some alternative course of action. The place was reached, the altar built, and the wood arranged. At last there was nothing left but to bind Isaac and place him upon the wood and plunge the knife into his heart.
Only when the knife was lifted high, glistening in the sun, did God restrain Abraham from offering up his son:
But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” And he said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (Genesis 22:11-12).
At the point of death it was evident that Abraham was willing to forsake all, even his son, his only son, for God. While God knew the heart of Abraham, Abraham’s reverence was now evident from experiential knowledge.
Also at the point of total obedience came the provision of God. God did not halt the act of sacrifice; He provided a ram as a substitute for Isaac:
Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son (verse 13).
From this experience it was seen that Abraham’s faith that God would provide a sacrificial offering (verse 8) was honored and that God does indeed provide:
And Abraham called the name of that place The Lord will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the Lord it will be provided” (verse 14).
In addition to God’s intervention to prevent Abraham’s sacrifice of his son, there was the confirmation of God’s promises to Abraham through his son:
“… By Myself I have sworn,” declares the Lord, “because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” (Genesis 22:16-18).
There is little in this divine confirmation that is new,198 although there is one striking change. In previous instances these promises were made unconditionally (cf. 12:1-3; 15:13-16, 18-21). Now the blessings are promised Abraham because he had obeyed God in this test (22:16,18).
The change is not as dramatic as it might first appear, however. In chapter 17 God reaffirmed His promises, beginning with these words: “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless. And I will establish My covenant … ” (verses 1-2).
Furthermore, Abraham was instructed to “keep My covenant” (17:9,10,11). Then in chapter 18 we read:
… Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed? For I have chosen him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice; in order that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him (18:18-19).
We must realize that God’s choice of Abraham included not only the end God purposed (blessings) but also the means (faith and obedience). After his ultimate test on Mount Moriah God can say that the blessings are a result of the obedience which stems from faith. This same sequence is evident in the New Testament:
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:8-10).
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified (Romans 8:28-30).
The work of God begins with a promise which must be accepted by faith. Ultimately this faith, if it is genuine, will be demonstrated by good works (cf. James 2). The promises of God are sure to every believer because God is sovereign at every step—from faith to obedience to blessing.
This incident in Abraham’s life had several results for the patriarch.
(1) It dealt with a problem that had plagued him all of his life—unhealthy attachment to family. It was here that Abraham had to choose between Isaac and God for his first loyalty. His obedience finally put this problem to rest.
(2) His obedience to the revealed will of God justified his profession of faith:
Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, “You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God (James 2:17-23).
James is not disagreeing with Paul here. He would agree that a man is saved by faith, apart from works (cf. Romans 4), but James insists that a saving faith is a working faith. A faith which is professed but not practiced is a dead faith. While Abraham was justified before God by believing the promise of God (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3), he was justified before men by his obedience (Genesis 22, James 2). God could look on Abraham’s heart and know that his faith was genuine; we must look at his obedience to see that his profession was genuine.
(3) Abraham’s obedience resulted in spiritual growth and deeper insight into the person and promises of God. No experience in Abraham’s life made the person and work of Christ more evident. This is why our Lord could say to the Jews of His day: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day; and he saw it, and was glad” (John 8:56). Times of testing are also times of growth in the lives of believers today.
(4) Abraham’s trial on Mount Moriah prepared him for the future. It is no surprise that the next chapter (23) deals with the death of Sarah. What we need to fathom is the fact that God used the offering of Isaac to prepare Abraham for the death of his wife. We know from Abraham’s words (22:5) and from their interpretation by the writer to the Hebrews (11:19) that Abraham’s faith evidenced on Mount Moriah was a faith in the God Who could raise men and women from the dead (cf. also Romans 4:19). While he did not face death until chapter 23, he dealt with it in chapter 22. God’s tests are often preparatory for greater things ahead (cf. Matthew 4:1-11).
Besides dealing with Abraham, God used this incident on Mount Moriah to instruct the nation Israel, who received this book and the other four books of the Law from the pen of Moses. For those who had just received the Law with its complex sacrificial system, this event in the life of Abraham gave a much deeper understanding of the significance of sacrifice. They should perceive that sacrifice was substitutionary. The animal died in place of man just as the ram was provided in Isaac’s stead. But they should also perceive that ultimately a Son, an only Son, must come to pay the price for sin, which no animal can possibly do. Against the backdrop of the sacrifice on Mount Moriah the whole sacrificial system of the Law was seen to have a deeper, fuller significance.
This incident in the life of Abraham was also intended for our edification and instruction (I Corinthians 10:6,11). Let me suggest several ways that we should learn from the life of Abraham as it is depicted in Genesis 22.
(1) This event is a beautiful foreshadow, a type, of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Abraham represents God the Father, Who, out of love for mankind, gave His only Son as a sacrifice for sinners (John 3:16). Isaac is a type of Christ, Who submits to the will of His Father. Isaac bore the wood as our Lord bore His cross (Genesis 22:6; John 19:17). It was three days from the time Abraham left to sacrifice his son until they returned together. After three days Abraham received his son back (Hebrews 11:19). After three days our Lord arose from the dead (John 20; I Corinthians 15:4).
Even beyond all this, Isaac was “sacrificed” at the place where our Lord would give His life centuries later, on Mount Moriah outside Jerusalem. We know from II Chronicles 3:1 that this was the place where the Lord appeared to David and where Solomon built the temple. And so it was that Abraham took his son to a mount near Jerusalem to offer his son, even the same place (or nearly so) where our Lord was to die in years to come. What a beautiful illustration of the infinite wisdom of God and of the inspiration of God’s holy Scriptures.
(2) This passage also reminds us of the importance of obedience for the Christian. It was because Abraham obeyed God that the promised blessings were confirmed once again at the climax of our passage (verses 15-18). While man’s works never save him, saving faith must inevitably be manifested in good works (Ephesians 2:8-10). Trust and obey is the way of the Christian.
(3) We see also that the Christian life is paradoxical. It would seem that it is self-contradictory. Abraham gained his son by giving him up to God. We get ahead in God’s eyes by putting ourselves behind others (Matthew 23:11; Philippians 2:5ff). We lead by serving; we save our lives by losing them (Matthew 16:25). God’s ways are not man’s ways.
(4) The Christian life is not lived without reason or rationality. I greatly fear that many have read this account in Abraham’s life and concluded that God tests us by directing us to do that which is totally unreasonable.
The danger is that we will tend to assume that whatever does not make sense is likely to be the will of God. Many critics have suggested that Christians are those who take their hats and their heads off when they enter the church. This is not so.
On the other hand, we must acknowledge that what Abraham was commanded to do seemed to be unreasonable. Through Isaac Abraham was to be the father of multitudes. How could this be so if Isaac were dead? Putting a son to death must have seemed totally beyond the character of God. Was God not asking Abraham to act on faith without reason? Notice what the writer to the Hebrews says:
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac; and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; it was he to whom it was said, “IN ISAAC YOUR SEED SHALL BE CALLED.” He considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead; from which he also received him back as a type (Hebrews 11:17-19; emphasis added).
The Greek word here, logizomai, clearly expresses the fact that Abraham acted upon reason.199 This was no blind “leap of faith,” as it is sometimes represented. Faith always acts upon facts and reason.
My point is simply this. The world likes to believe that they act upon reason while Christians act without thinking. That is wholly false. The truth is there are two kinds of reasoning: worldly reasoning and godly reasoning. Peter, when he rebuked our Lord for talking of His sacrificial death, was thinking humanly:
But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s” (Matthew 16:23).
There are two mind sets: the godly mind and the worldly mind:
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so (Romans 8:5-7).
The appeal of Paul in Romans 12 is addressed to both our emotions and our minds:
I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith (Romans 12:1-3).
The sacrifice we are called to give to God is that of our living bodies, and it is our logical or rational (Greek, logicos) act of worship. This is accomplished by the renewing of our minds (verse 2). Man’s whole being has been affected by the fall: emotions, intellect, and will. All of these must therefore undergo a radical transformation for us to be conformed to the likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Romans 12:3 we are told to think, think, think. This is the use of our new minds. Christianity is rational, but of a vastly different kind than that of the world.
Christian reasoning is based upon the presuppositional belief that there is a God, Who is both our creator and redeemer (Hebrews 11:1ff). Christian reasoning is based upon the belief that God’s Word is absolutely true and reliable. God had promised a son through Sarah through whom the blessings were to be given. Abraham believed God in this (Genesis 15:6). God also commanded Abraham to sacrifice this son. Abraham believed God and obeyed Him even though human reasoning would question the wisdom of it.
Abraham’s reasoning was also based upon his experience with God over the years. God had continually proven to be his provider and protector. God’s sovereign power had repeatedly been demonstrated, even among the heathen such as Pharaoh and Abimelech. While Abraham and Sarah were “as good as dead” so far as bearing children were concerned, God gave them the promised child (Romans 4:19-21).
Abraham did not understand why he was told to sacrifice his son nor how God would accomplish His promises if Abraham obeyed, but he did know Who had commanded it. He did know that God was holy, just, and pure. He did know that God was able to raise the dead. On the basis of these certainties Abraham obeyed God, contrary to human wisdom, but squarely based upon godly reason. Godly reason has reasons. We may not know how or why, but we do know Who and what. That is enough!
(5) There is a beautiful principle taught in our text: “… In the mount of the Lord it will be provided” (verse 14).
In verse 8 Abraham assured his son that God would provide a lamb, and so He did (verse 13). The principle is not that God will provide at a certain place, but under a certain condition. At the point of faith and obedience, at the point of helplessness and dependence, God will provide. Often, I believe, we do not see God’s provision because we are not at a point of despair.
I remember the story of two sailors who alone survived a shipwreck. They were adrift at sea on a makeshift raft. After all hope of rescue was lost, one asked the other if they should pray. Both agreed, and one had just begun to cry to God for help when the other interrupted, “Hold it, don’t commit yourself, I think I see a sail.”
God sometimes must bring us to the point where we find Abraham on Mount Moriah—totally depending upon God for deliverance. It is there that we must acknowledge that God has provided. This is the point men and women must come to in order to be saved. They must see themselves as lost sinners, deserving of God’s eternal wrath. They must forsake any faith in themselves and any work they might do to win God’s favor. They must look only to God to provide the forgiveness of sins and righteousness required for salvation. God’s provision has been made by the death of His sinless Son, Jesus Christ, on Calvary 2000 years ago. If you have reached the point of despair, my friend, I want you to know it is also the point of help and salvation. Cast all your hope upon the Christ of Calvary, and you will surely find salvation.
(6) Finally, this passage has been used for a tragic evil, the sacrifice of our sons and daughters on the pretext of obeying a divine command. God has never instructed His saints to sacrifice their families for any ministry or any calling. We must put God first, this is true (Matthew 10:37), but obedience to God necessitates provision and instruction of our families (cf. I Timothy 5:8; Ephesians 6:4; I Timothy 3:4-5, 12).
Many parents, like Abraham, view their future as wrapped up in their children. They wish to manipulate their lives so as to live out their hopes and dreams in them. We must give our children to the Lord and submit them, as ourselves, to His keeping and care. Then will we, and they, find God’s blessing.
I must sadly admit that the problem of Abraham is surely foreign to our world today. How little we must worry about undue attachment to our children in this day when abortion is rampant, and mothers and fathers are forsaking their families for a freer lifestyle. In this we see the prophecy of conditions for the end times being fulfilled in our midst:
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these (II Timothy 3:1-5).
In verse 3 the first word, “unloving,” means literally “without love of kindred.” These are days when the natural paternal affections are becoming rare. Surely the Lord’s return is near. May God enable us to love our children so much that we commit them to God’s will for their lives.
197 In this chapter James is not debating Paul’s theology but is stressing a complementary truth: While works cannot save, only a faith that works does save. The justification of which James speaks in chapter 2 is not before God but before men. The faith a man has in his heart justifies him before God, but the faith a man demonstrates by his life justifies his claim to be saved before men.
198 Stigers’ remarks, however, are worthy of repetition: “The phrase ‘gates of their enemies’ (v. 17) is of far-reaching significance as to the future of God’s redemptive program. The other elements of the oath-promise, the innumerable descendants and the blessing to come upon the nations, are the same as those found in 12:1-3; however, the phrase ‘a land I will shew/give thee’ is now replaced by ‘possess the gate of their enemies.’ This enlarges the meaning of the promise of the land: that of assuming the place and power of the previous peoples. But the promise is not localized in any way; any enemy of any time is designated, unless Israel shall deny her God (cf. Ps. 89:30-33). The phrase connotes the ultimate victory of holiness over all things, shared in by God’s people.” Harold Stigers, A Commentary on Genesis (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976), pp. 190-191.
199 “Hence, logizomai means: (a) reckon, credit, rank with, calculate; (b) consider, deliberate, grasp, draw a logical conclusion, decide.” J. Eichler, “Logizomai,” The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978), III, pp. 822-823.