A question of interpretation: Genesis 22: 1-12

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  1. Jeff Berndt profile image91
    Jeff Berndtposted 6 years ago

    Okay, most people know the story.

    "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.

    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."

    And Abraham does what God told him to do, and when he's about ready to kill his beloved son, God says,

    "Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

    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."

    That's what's written in Genesis, which goes on to say that for Abraham's obedience to God, "in [Abraham's] seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because [Abraham] hast obeyed [God's] voice."

    But what if--stay with me, now--what if that really was a test, but God wasn't testing what Abraham thought He was testing? What if Abraham failed the test? What if the test was really more along the lines of "Are you crazy enough to kill your own child because I told you to, or will you have enough love for your child to say, 'Hang on--would a God that loves me ask this of me?'"

    Thoughts?

    1. prettydarkhorse profile image64
      prettydarkhorseposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      maybe this story make sense during that time. It is a part of their culture that time to sacrifice lives. But the story is absurd, it is like military, lol. Follow the order, no questions ask, and supposedly, God will not test you because if he is all knowing he will know what you will do.

    2. livelonger profile image93
      livelongerposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      There are a lot of midrashim (exegetical commentaries) that do just that: suggest that Abraham failed G-d's test. Abraham was willing to speak on behalf of the innocent when it came to Sodom and Gomorrah, but not his own son. Others say he failed because he  didn't ask Sarah for permission. There's one midrash I read that said that Abraham was furious at G-d for pulling this stunt, and G-d had to woo him back for asking him to do something so awful (and, in fact, which he would forbid).

      The patriarchs were not necessarily considered exemplary people for our time. Noah, for example, was a righteous man, but he didn't argue for the innocent of the world to be saved like Abraham did. So, as righteous as Noah was, Abraham's act on behalf of the Sodomites was a character improvement that Noah was not yet capable of.

      A common interpretation of the akeidah (binding of Isaac) is that G-d tested Abraham in a conventional test of devotion for their time (child sacrifice was very common back then), but then halted it as an illustration that G-d abhors human sacrifice. Lessons were often told as part of a story back then. This is made explicit in Deut. 12:31 as a (negative) commandment to the Israelites.

    3. Dave Mathews profile image60
      Dave Mathewsposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      Regardless of how you choose to view it, God is testing Abraham's loyalty.

      1. A Troubled Man profile image60
        A Troubled Manposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        It's not so much the petty and selfish ends of means God wishes to show, but instead it is the devious and dastardly methods he employs.

        1. Disappearinghead profile image76
          Disappearingheadposted 6 years agoin reply to this

          Read my post ATM. It should address the point you made.

          1. A Troubled Man profile image60
            A Troubled Manposted 6 years agoin reply to this

            It didn't. Sorry.

            1. Disappearinghead profile image76
              Disappearingheadposted 6 years agoin reply to this

              Ok smile

    4. aka-dj profile image79
      aka-djposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      You can find my thoughts on this in a hub.

      I wrote about it.

      It's called "Abraham's Sacrifice, (if you want to read it).  smile

    5. profile image0
      Deborah Sextonposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      **********************

      Abraham knew he would not have to kill his son.

      Isaac asked his father where the lamb was, to which Abraham said that God would supply the lamb.

      Gen 22:8
      And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

      That is when he was promised to be the Father of Nations.

      Gen 22:
      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:

      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;

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

    6. kess profile image60
      kessposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      Since knowing that you know is Faith...
      There can be no doubt about what the outcome of anything thing will be.

      Such is the case with Abraham and Isaac

      Then was His Faith tested? Yes but not the way we usually administer a test.

      Plus test of Faith is never a testing of ignorance  which is the cause of all fears.

      The tests of God which of Faith says I will Do..

      The test False faith says I will see IF I can do....this is the false god.

      Which requires reading and rehearsing the things heard and seen of and by men, which exemplify the fact that Ignorance reigns over those and they boast of a faith they know nothing of.

  2. Disappearinghead profile image76
    Disappearingheadposted 6 years ago

    As I understand it this wasn't so much of a test of Abraham but an opportunity for God to bind himself to his covenant with Israel. God goes to great lengths to establish this covenant with Abraham and his descendants, and this act here was another part of the deal. That is, if Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his son to God, then by the terms of the covenant, God is now compelled to sacrifice his son Jesus for Abraham's descendants, and by extension the World. Thus because of Abraham's faithfulness in this act, all nations are now blessed. I also understand that the mountain on which the sacrifice was to take place is the same mountain on which Jesus was crucified.

    1. Jeff Berndt profile image91
      Jeff Berndtposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      "...this wasn't so much of a test of Abraham but an opportunity for God to bind himself to his covenant with Israel."

      Yeah, I don't get that. I mean, Omnicient, Omnipotent God has to jump through legal hoops before he can choose a chosen people? How does that work? I mean, he didn't even need any raw materials to create the universe; just hey, "fiat lux," and lux was fiated all over the place.

      "Thus because of Abraham's faithfulness in this act, all nations are now blessed. "
      Or, because of Abraham's depraved willingness--even eagerness--to kill his own son, the world needed to be saved.

      "I also understand that the mountain on which the sacrifice was to take place is the same mountain on which Jesus was crucified."
      That'd be neat. Who else thinks this, and why? (genuine curiosity speaking)

      1. jacharless profile image79
        jacharlessposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        I am inclined to agree with Disappearinghead,

        This is also noted as the location of the Third [and final] Temple to be built.
        To my understanding, the Temple Mount.

        Commemorated in Av, ( which incidentally is the only month not mentioned in the canonical bible. ), the last summer month -the precise month both temples were destroyed, Joshua (Y`shua) was murdered, the WW1 unsettling and also the expulsion from Spain. Lets just say, it is not such a great month...

        ...and waaaaaay too coincidental.
        James.

  3. Rafini profile image85
    Rafiniposted 6 years ago

    Okay, okay, good question...what if the "test" was something other than what was recorded in the Bible.  I like that question!!  I really, really do!

    My answer would have to be this:  Why would Abraham's seed be blessed if he'd failed the test? 

    I can't think of any test where the test-taker is rewarded for failing....

    1. Rafini profile image85
      Rafiniposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      oh, did I end the conversation again?  damn, I really do dislike chasing everyone away....  hmm

  4. profile image57
    paarsurreyposted 6 years ago

    This was just done to announce prohibition of human killin in the name of the Creator God.

    It is for this that one should not  believe that Jesus was killed for atonement of sins of others; the Creator God does not need it.

  5. profile image0
    brotheryochananposted 6 years ago

    It's amazing what things we as people will do. for example we might give a person the money that fell out of their pocket and steal some change from our wives. We may not ever smoke a joint but have trouble quitting smoking cigarettes. We may turn down the salacious offer of sex with a hottie only to watch porn at home. Its the human aspect that makes Christianity interesting and watching our development makes life purposeful.

    A point is, that in some areas christians are so very strong that they will never ever do that thing and yet fail in a smaller area or be strong in a small area and fail in a greater area. Some will breeze through what others stumble at over and over.

    Each person has their strengths and weaknesses.

    Such is with Abraham. There is no IF in this scenario. The IF scenario did not and would not have occurred. Abraham said, "God will supply us a sacrifice". It was in Abraham NOT to doubt God during this situation. God did supply the sacrifice and save Isaac and there were blessings from God.

    I am not saying it was easy for Abraham. I imagine abrahams walk to the mountain for those three days was heart breaking, probably as heart breaking as Jesus' walk to His (sacrifice) cross. But Abraham was rewarded for his faith in God.

    There are so many aspects to this story, so much to talk about but I will just end it here.
    Thanks for the question

  6. ediggity profile image60
    ediggityposted 6 years ago

    I think the bigger question is, why did God choose Abraham in the first place?  Once that question is answered God's request becomes more tolerable.  God is grooming Abraham to rule his chosen people.  A request for sacrifice to perpetuate the will of God is the ultimate test to verify obedience to his calling.  Considering God actually sacrificed his son for us shows the request wasn't something he wasn't willing to do himself.  smile

    1. profile image0
      brotheryochananposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      exactly smile

 
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