14 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.

A small verse, but a significant one. It is a verse that introduces the significance of special holy places, such as mountains, the tabernacle, and the temple. Remember that Abraham wasn’t commanded by God to sacrifice Isaac just anywhere, he was told to go to this very place. It was up in a mountain, and several mountains will be the site of sacred visitations from God, such as the Mount of Transfiguration and Mount Sinai. Mountains were seen as God’s home, a place where one might find and visit with Him.

The meaning of the name Jehovah-jireh is also very significant. Jehovah is, of course, the name of God, and jireh is often translated as “provides.” So “the Lord provides” is the name of the place, which certainly fits, given the lamb caught in the thicket.

However there is a second definition for the word jireh, which is “to see,” such as when it is used in 1 Samuel 16:7: “but the LORD looketh on the heart.” This explains the second part of our verse: “in the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.” Exactly what it was Abraham saw, we do not know. For us looking back we can see in it a clear analogy of God giving up His son as a sacrifice for the world to save our lives. Was Abraham instructed in some of these matters at this time as well? We can’t be sure, the text does not specify.

This name might also be referring to how God saw that Abraham would obey Him in all things. In either case, the name reinforces the notion of mountains, tabernacles, and temples being sacred sites. These were special places to come and see God and be seen by Him.

And I’m sure that both of these interpretations, “to provide” and “to see,” were intended. Abraham had been both provided for in the form of a ram in the thicket, and he been made to see the heart and workings of God, and so he named this place accordingly.

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