- Given names
called the patriarchs (founding fathers) of the Jews.
ISAAC, pronounced EYE zuhk, the second of the Hebrew patriarchs, was the son of Abraham and his wife Sarah (see ABRAHAM; ISHMAEL). The prediction of his birth caused amusement because his parents were old, and God gave him the name Isaac, which means one laughs.
Isaac was the object of his father's special love because he was a child of divine promise. God's command to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Moriah (Gen. 22) was the greatest test of Abraham's faith. The account of this episode is one of the most dramatic stories in the Book of Genesis. Another story tells how Abraham sent his servant to his old home in Mesopotamia to get a wife for Isaac (Gen. 24). God led the servant to Rebecca. In a typical betrothal scene, she offered the servant water at a well.
Rebecca went with the servant to Canaan (later called Palestine), and became the wife of Isaac. She was childless for 20 years, and then gave birth to twins, Esau and Jacob (see ESAU; JACOB). When Isaac became blind and feeble from old age, he was eager to give his blessing and inheritance to Esau. Rebecca's success in stealing the blessing for Jacob by deceit resulted in a family quarrel. Jacob fled to Mesopotamia. However, Isaac's sons were reconciled before his death (Gen. 33). According to Gen. 35, Isaac died at the age of 180.