Design By Humans

Genesis 22. A Son's Worth

Genesis 22.

1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.

    Why is God attempting to tempt Abraham? Are we about to see deception from the LORD?

2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

    I'm sure this would come across as a little unexpected, not only does God forget that Isaac is Abraham's second son, he's just gone and asked him to kill him.

3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.

    What no questions? I can imagine his thoughts..."Hmmm, What shall I do this morning, Oh... let's gather up some wood and go and burn my son, it's OK, the LORD told me to do it, It's not like I've been waiting ninety years for a son with Sarah". What mind-bending substance must Abraham have been on? he pleaded for Sodom and Gomorrah, God agreed his terms and then ignored them. Why wouldn't he plead for his own son?

4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.

    OK.

5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

    Abraham, evidently doesn't want any witnesses to the ritual murder of his son. Who would?

6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.

    Off they go then.

7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

    Isaac smells a rat! Why hasn't Abraham brought a lamb? He's an astute boy.

8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

    ...or perhaps not, He must have inherited his critical thinking skills from father. Why didn't he realise that the purpose of sacrifice is to give something of yours up, if God provides the lamb then no actual sacrifice is being made. Such a gullible boy.

9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.

    No struggle? Isaac really is a docile creature.

10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

    Again, not even a second thought. This is a properly barbaric act, all the LORD has done for Abraham is help him scam a couple of kings and made him cut off his foreskin. Who would kill their child in return for that?

11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

    God didn't show up in person for this one, Does God use angels when he wants plausible deniability?

12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

    OK, Apparently God doesn't want Isaac dead after all. Phew. That must have been a pretty traumatic event for Isaac, I'd say the same of Abraham but he has shown about as much parental love for the boy as a robot. I'm thinking he may have gone senile.

13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

    Abraham sees a ram that has gotten stuck and helps it by setting fire to it as a means to please God, Why does God like burnt ram? I can understand Abraham being pleased that he doesn't need to kill his son, but he didn't need to in the first place, he could have said no, also why isn't Abraham angry that God pulled this stunt in the first place?

14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen..

    "it is said to this day"? When was this written, the narrative has taken on the style of folk myth again, it does this quite often

15 And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,

    Right.

16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:

    Go on...

17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

    But Abraham has already been promised all of this, more than once. This doesn't seem like much of a reward, he's basically been given the same promises he's already heard. His reward amounts to exactly nothing.

18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

    But he'd already been granted this.

19 So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.

    OK.

20 And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, Behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor;

    Some time later Abraham becomes an uncle.

21 Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram,

    Nahor's children are Huz, Buz, kemuel (who himself has a son called Aram),..

22 And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel.

    ...Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph and Bethuel. That's quite a lot of kids to announce in one go. I'm guessing Milcah and Nahor wanted to make sure they had finished breeding before sending Abraham the "congratulations, you're an uncle" letter.

23 And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham's brother.

    Bethuel has a daughter, Rebekah, So far this book hasn't listed women often in genealogies, I'm guessing this means Rebekeh will be important later.

24 And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah.

    Whoa, Nahor had a load of other kids by his concubine too, I wonder if Abraham is jealous.

What have we learned?

Abraham is willing to murder his own son, his own long-awaited and promised-by-God son, just because God commands it. You might think that Abraham has such love for God that this is a demonstration of that love but let's look at Abraham's respect for the Lord in the past; God was going to destroy all of Sodom, Abraham didn't like it and was man enough to argue his case, he argued strongly enough to have God capitulate. Abraham clearly thinks that the LORD fallible, capable of being wrong and capable of being corrected, so we are left with no option but to conclude that Abraham didn't think there is anything wrong with killing his son or else he would have argued to protect him.

The nature of sacrifice has been called into question, In verse eight it is suggested that God will provide a lamb to be sacrifice and I note that if God is providing the offering, in what sense is it an offering. Now that I come to think of it, if God provided the planet and all of the animals on it, in what sense is *any* sacrifice made by man an actual sacrifice? And in what way does God benefit? Let's take an analogy: A parent gives a child a bag of sweets, the child is grateful and so as a means of thanking the parent takes one of the sweets and burns it. This act benefits no one.

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GENESIS

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