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Instead of

April 21, 2008

Our final big translation in Hebrew is a good chunk of Gen 22. Abraham sacrificing Isaac. Dang. Here’s my rough translation of verses 8-13. (Side note: I’m still learning the delicate art and process of sentence breaks in Hebrew, so for now, I do really long run-on sentences. Side note 2: the knife in the passage is not a butter knife. Think machete. Side note 3: the word for slaughter in this passage is the same word that appears throughout Leviticus (and the rest of the OT I think) talking about animal sacrifices.)

And Abraham said, “God will see to the lamb for the burnt offering for himself, my son.” And they walked, the two of them together. And they came to the place that God said to him and Abraham built there the altar and he set out the wood. And he bound Isaac his son and he set him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife in order to slaughter his son. And the messenger of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham! Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I!” And he said, “Do not stretch out your hand to the boy and do not do to him anything because now I know that you fear God and you did not withhold your son, your only, from me. And Abraham lifted his eyes and saw and, behold, a ram behind seized in the thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and he offered it as the burnt offering instead of his son.

Dang. Tain’t no way I could spend 3 days (!) walking up a big mountain with one of my kiddos knowing I was going to tie her up, put her on a pile of wood to slit her throat and cut her into pieces like an animal and then burn her. Not happening.

I still completely wrestle with this passage. How Abraham could think about doing this with the child of promise, his son, his only! How God could ask this of Abraham when He later expresses absolute disgust at child sacrifice, even though He knew He would provide a ram instead of Issac. I don’t know how to process it.


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