A Daily Genesis

Genesis 22:9b-10

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 22:9b . . Abraham built an altar there; he laid out the wood;[/B]

This was a place where, apparently, Abraham had never worshipped before because he had to build an altar.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 22:9c . . he bound his son Isaac;[/B]

If Isaac was old enough, and strong enough, to shoulder a load of firewood (Gen 22:6) then he was old enough, and strong enough, to get away from Abraham, who, at the time, was past 100 years old. If they had not already talked it over, then when Abraham pulled out his rope and assayed to bind Isaac; the lad would surely request an explanation; don't you think?

Had Isaac not consented to the ritual, then he could have easily escaped because Abraham was alone; he had no one to assist him to restrain Isaac: the servants having remained behind with the burro. Besides, Isaac had to agree or the whole affair would disintegrate into a ritual murder.

Binding was for Isaac's own good. No doubt he was willing enough to die; but nobody is comfortable with injury. When the knife would begin to make an incision in Isaac's neck to sever his carotid artery, he might reach up and grab his father's hand, the meanwhile twisting and thrashing in a natural response to pain and fear-- similar to what most anybody would do in a dentist's chair without Novocain.

The binding would help keep him still and avoid collateral damage; otherwise, Abraham might accidentally cut off Isaac's nose or poke him in the eye and quite possibly disfigure him horribly instead of succeeding in killing the lad in a humane fashion.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 22:9d . . he laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.[/B]

That may seem impossible for a man of Abraham's age, but no specifications for altars existed at that time. They could be two feet high, ten, or just a rudimentary hearth of stones laid right on the ground like a campfire or in a shallow excavation like a wood pit barbecue.

At that moment, even before Isaac was dead, and even before the tiniest spark of a fire was kindled: Abraham's offering of his son was complete. In other words: had God not wanted Abraham to sacrifice his son, He would have stopped the proceedings before Abraham laid his son on the wood because once that happens the offerer relinquishes control over his offering.

From that point on; the offering belongs to God; and it becomes His prerogative to do with it as He pleases-- to kill Isaac or not to kill him was God's exclusive right and privilege. Bottom line is: it wasn't necessary for Isaac to be dead in order to count as a sacrifice: he only had to be laid on the wood of the altar to count.

"Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?" (Jas 2:21)

It's easily seen from that passage in James that not all human sacrifice is evil. In point of fact, in certain cases; it's the right thing to do. But the point is: James makes it clear that Isaac counted as an offering even though he was not slain.

I just don't know why it is that people think that the 22nd chapter of Genesis teaches God's supposed abhorrence for all manner of human sacrifice when it is so obviously meant to convey the quality of Abraham's confidence in God's promise made at Gen 15:2-6.

In other words: if Abraham was to go on to generate a posterity through his son whose numbers would be too many to count; then God would have to restore Isaac to life in order to make good on the promise; and according to Heb 11:17-19 Abraham was counting on that very thing. In other words: according to Jas 2:21-23, Abraham's willingness to kill his son validates Gen 15:2-6 where it's stated that Abraham believed God.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 22:10a . . And Abraham picked up the knife[/B]

Abraham didn't just pick the knife up and hold it in his hand in some sort of symbolic gesture. No, he picked it up with the full intention of using it on his boy; as these next words of the narrative fully indicate.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 22:10b . . to slay his son.[/B]

Do you think Abraham was messing around? I guarantee you he was NOT. He fully intended to slit Isaac's throat.

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