A Daily Genesis

Genesis 22:2c

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†.[/COLOR] Gen 22:2c . . and offer him there as a burnt offering[/B]

The Hebrew word for "burnt offering" is [I]'olah[/I] (o-law') which is a very different kind of offering than those of Cain and Abel. Theirs were [I]minchah[/I] (min-khaw') which are usually gifts rather than atonements. They're also voluntary and bloodless.

Some say that Abraham's offering shouldn't be translated "burnt" and others say it should.

No doubt the best translator of 'olah within the context of the Akedah is the prophet Abraham himself. The very fact that he hewed wood, took a source of fire with him up the mountain, constructed an altar, put the wood on the altar, and then bound and positioned Isaac upon the wood and the altar; tells me that Abraham fully understood that when his divine master said 'olah He meant for the man to cremate his son.

The evidence that Isaac also fully understood that 'olah implied incineration is when he asked his dad: "Father; here are the wood and the fire: but where is the sheep?"

There are some who insist that Abraham misunderstood God. They say he was only supposed to take Isaac along with him up on the mountain and they together were to offer a burnt offering. What's the appropriate response to that?

Well; as I stated: Abraham was a prophet (Gen 20:7). Also; Abraham had three days to think about what he was asked to do. Had Abraham the prophet any misgivings about human sacrifice-- any at all --he surely would have objected and/or at the very least requested a clarification. I'm confident that's true because of the example of his rather impudent behavior recorded in the last part of the 18th chapter of Genesis.

God ordered Abraham to offer his son as a burnt offering. That means he will have to slit Isaac's throat; and then cremate his remains. Why isn't Abraham recoiling and getting in God's face about this with a vehement protest? The inference is quite obvious. Abraham didn't believe human sacrifice wrong. In other words: for Abraham, human sacrifice was a non-issue or he would have surely objected to it.

[B][SIZE=2]NOTE[/SIZE]:[/B] A technical point often overlooked in the "human sacrifice" issue is that in every instance banning the practice in the Old Testament, it is underage children that are condemned as offerings-- innocent children; viz: babes; and in particular, one's own. (e.g. Lev 18:21, Lev 20:2-5, Deut 12:31, Deut 18:10, cf. 2Kgs 16:3, 2Kgs 17:31, 2Kgs 23:10, 2Kgs 21:6, Ps 106:34, Ezk 20:31, Ezk 23:37, Jer 7:31, Jer 19:4, Jer 32:35). I have yet to encounter an instance where God expressed abhorrence at sacrificing a consenting adult.

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