By July 6, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Genesis 22: The Sacrifice of Isaac, Texts and Traditions, ed. Lawrence H. Schiffman, Ktav Publishing House, Hoboken NJ, 1998.

Tissot_Isaac_Bears_the_Wood_for_His_SacrificeThe focus of the Bible now narrows to the patriarch, Abraham, who by his devotion and obedience to God, merits the founding of a great nation. God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac was a major test of his faith. For the Bible and later Jewish tradition, it was also the classic condemnation of human sacrifice.

1 Some time afterward, God put Abraham to the test. He said to him, ‘‘Abraham,” and he answered, “Here I am.” 2 And He said, “Take your son, your favored one, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the heights that I will point out to you.” 3 So early the next morning, Abraham saddled his ass and took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. He split the wood for the burnt offering, and he set out for the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his servants, “you stay here with the ass. The boy and I will go up there; we will worship and we will return to you.”

6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and put it on his son Isaac. He himself took the firestone and the knife; and the two walked off together. 7 Then Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he answered, “Yes, my son.” And he said, “Here are the firestone and the wood; but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” 8 And Abraham said, “God will see to the sheep for His burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them walked on together.

9 They arrived at the place of which God had told him. Abraham built an altar there; he laid out the wood; he bound his son Isaac; he laid upon on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 And Abraham picked up the knife to slay his son. 11 Then an angel of the Lord called to him from heaven- ‘‘Abraham! Abraham!” And he answered, “Here I am.” 12 And he said, “Do not raise your hand against the boy, or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your favored one, from Me.” 13 When Abraham looked up, his eye fell upon a ram, caught in the thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering in place of his son. 14 And Abraham named that site Adonai-yireh,8 whence the present saying, “On the mount of the Lord there is vision.”

15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, 16 and said, “By Myself I swear, the Lord declares- Because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your favored one, 17 I will bestow my blessing upon you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven and the sands on the seashore; and your descendants shall seize the gates of their foes. 18 All the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your descendants, because you have obeyed My command.” 19 Abraham then returned to his servants, and they departed together for Beer-sheba; and Abraham stayed in Beer-sheba.

8. “The Lord will see;” cf. v. 8.

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