Saturday, March 16, 2013

Genesis 22

My link to this revision of Genesis 22 went dead, so I thought I would put it here.

Some time later the Evil One disguised himself as a still small voice and went out to test Abraham. He said to him: ‘Abraham’.

‘Here I am,’ Abraham replied. ‘Here I am, O Sovereign Lord’.

And then the Evil One said: ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about. 

And Abraham went out to do this thing. Early the next morning he got up and saddled his donkey . He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place the Evil One had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants: ‘Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his Father Abraham, ‘Father?’

‘Yes, my son?’ Abraham replied.

‘The fire and the wood are here,’ Isaac said, ‘but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ Abraham answered  ‘God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering., my son.’ And the two of them went on together. When they reached the place Abraham had been told about, he built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. he bound his son Isaac - his only son Isaac, whom he loved - and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.

Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham!’ And the Evil One made to speak, but was prevented.

‘Here I am,’ Abraham replied.

‘Lay down your knife’ said the Angel of the Lord. ‘Do not do a thing to the boy. How could you believe that the Lord your God would ask such a thing of you? Only the Evil One would ask such a thing. Now I know you fear God, but you do not know God, for you were prepared to do such a thing in the name of He who created heaven and earth in pure love!’

And Abraham looked up, and say a ram with its horns caught in a thicket; and he took the ram, and offered it up as a burnt offering on the altar where he had bound his son.  So Abraham called that place ‘The Lord will provide”; as it is still said today, ‘On the mountain of the Lord He will provide’.
The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, ‘I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this, and not withheld from the Evil One your son, your only son, whom you love, your descendants will drink to the full the cup you have filled today. In your blindness you would have killed your only son at the command of the Lord; you will mourn not one son, but sons and daughters beyond counting. As numerous as the stars in the sky will be your descendants; as numberless as the sand on the seashore; and they will not be withheld from the Evil One. You fear God, but you have not known God; In every land and in every time your sons and daughters will be slain by those who  fear God, but do not know God. They will make burnt offerings not of one boy, but of cities and nations, and the face of the earth will be darkened with the blood of your children’.

And Abraham fell down before the angel of the Lord and cried out ‘ O Sovereign Lord! This is more than any man can bear! If you lay this curse upon me, you must  be even as the Evil One who commanded me to slay my son Isaac!
And he lay in the dust and covered his head, and waited for the fire from heaven to devour him. 

And the angel of the Lord spoke: ‘The Lord says: know that no curse is laid upon you, but only the knowledge of that which you foreordained when you lifted your hand. Do not despair; for your children have the better part. How much easier is it to walk the road of the oppressed than that of the oppressor! On the last day, your descendants shall possess the gates of their enemies, and theirs will be the power to bind and to loose, and through them only shall all nations of the earth be blessed.’

 Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.

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