Profiles of the patriarchs: Isaac

Isaac, the son of Abraham and Sarah, was given a name that means "he laugheth." (Bible dictionary, p. 707.) His name refers to his parents' response when told that in their extreme old age, they would have a son. The Bible Dictionary observes: "In character he appears to have been a peace-loving shepherd, of great personal piety, full of affection for the members of his own famiy."

He was born in his father's 100th year, 21 generations from Adam. Such was the rejoicing at his arrival and early youth that on his weaning day, Abraham made a great feast to honor the occasion.Some time later, his older half-brother, Ishmael, was seen "mocking," Isaac and his mother, which resulted in Hagar and Ishmael being cast out.

Abraham's test of obedience, when he was commanded to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, was also a test of Isaac's obedience. At the time, Isaac was certainly old enough to be fully aware of what was happening. Because his father was well over 100 years of age at the time, Isaac was old enough to resist becoming a sacrifice. His willingness to be sacrificed was as essential as Abraham's willingness to perform such a sacrifice.

Through his obedience, Isaac inherited the blessings of his father to be the one who would receive Abraham's birthright. Little is said in scripture about Isaac. Rather, the selection of his wife, Rebekah, is seen through the eyes of his father and his father's eldest servant. When Rebekah did not have a child, Isaac "intreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren." (Gen. 25:21.)

His prayer was answered and Rebekah delivered twins, Esau and Jacob. The first grew to be a hunter, but Jacob was "a plain man, dwelling in tents." (Gen. 25:27.)

When a famine in the land became severe, Isaac was commanded not to go to Egypt, but to remain and was promised, "I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars in heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." (Gen. 26:4.) Isaac was blessed with prosperity in the same manner as his father, and he became very wealthy.

Rebekah assisted Isaac, who was blind, to give his birthright to worthy Jacob. Esau, thus deprived, was angry and wanted to kill Jacob, but Jacob fled. Esau earlier had married two Canaanite women and moved into his father's house, where his parents suffered "grief of mind" because of it. (Gen. 26:35.)

This led Isaac and Rebekah to charge Jacob not to take a wife from Canaan, which resulted in his journeying to his mother's homeland in Haran to obtain a wife.

Isaac lived to be 180 years, and after he died he was buried next to his father, Abraham, and mother, Sarah, in the land of Canaan. (Gen. 35:29, 49:29-31.)

Modern revelation indicates that Isaac has been resurrected and sits upon a throne with Abraham and Jacob. (D&C 132:37.)

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