Abraham Overlook

Abraham & Isaac Overlook

Imagine opening the Bible here in Israel and standing at the very place where a biblical event unfolded! Today we are at the Abraham & Isaac Overlook in Jerusalem. Here Abraham and Isaac first beheld Moriah – place of the Sacrifice or Binding of Isaac, following a three day journey from Beersheba. Later King Solomon built Solomon’s Temple on Mount Moriah itself.

Jerusalem panorama

Jerusalem panorama

View of Moriah 
This particular spot on the southern end of Jerusalem is called by locals the Tayelet, which means in Hebrew “promenade”. I like to call it the Abraham and Isaac Overlook overlook since it’s where they beheld Jerusalem and Mount Moriah some 4000 years ago! I’ve been bringing groups here for years- to read and reflect on Abraham’s journey with Isaac from Beersheba, where they lived, to this very spot. God had called Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac and with a heavy but obedient heart sets out on the three day journey, without of course letting Isaac in on the details of exactly what was happening.

Beersheba to Moriah
Here is what the Bible says: “Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, Abraham! Here I am, he replied. Then God said, Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you. Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.” (Gen. 22:1-4)

Where is the lamb?
Upon arrival here, at this southern overlook of Jerusalem, Abraham leaves his servants behind to keep an eye on the camp, while he continues with Isaac on into Jerusalem itself and on up Mount Moriah. He tells them that he was going “yonder” with Isaac to worship and would be back soon. It’s about a 45 minute brisk walk from where we are standing at the Abraham & Isaac overlook to Moriah. On the way Abe & Isaac obviously had time to talk a bit. Isaac, who was younger, stronger, and therefore carrying the wood for the sacrifice, gets to thinking. He turns to his father, saying, hey dad, haven’t we forgotten something? “Where’s the lamb”? Abraham replies, “God will provide.” The rest is history: The angel stops Abraham’s hand as he raised the knife after binding is son on the altar, indeed providing the lamb:

Binding of Isaac
Here is what happens next: “When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, Abraham! Abraham! Here I am, he replied.Do not lay a hand on the boy, he said. Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son. (Genesis 22:10-12)

Abraham takes the ram instead
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.” (Genesis 22:13)

Solomon’s Temple
Almost 1,000 years later, King Solomon builds the Jerusalem Temple on the very spot on Mount Moriah: “Then Solomon began to build the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David. It was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the place provided by David.” (2Chronicles 3:1)

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