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Let thy words be few. Ecclesiastes 5:2

The Bible in fewer words

Episode 8: The sacrifice of Isaac

(Genesis 22)

God tells Abraham to kill his son, Isaac

22 1God tempted Abraham by saying,

2Take your only son Isaac, the one that you love, and offer him to me as a burnt sacrifice.

Abraham prepares to kill Isaac for God

3Abraham saddled his donkey while his son Isaac gathered firewood. Then he piled the wood on Isaac's back, took fire and a knife, and went to the place where God had chosen.

7When they arrived, Isaac asked his father, "Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"

8Abraham replied, "God will provide a lamb."

An angel to the rescue

9When they arrived at the place God selected for the sacrifice, Abraham built and altar, arranged the wood, tied Isaac down, and prepared to kill his son with his knife.

11Then he heard an angel calling out from heaven, saying,

12Don't kill the boy.

Now I know that you fear God, since you were willing to kill your only son for me.

13Abraham then saw a ram caught in a thicket. He caught the ram and offered it to God instead of his son.

God blesses Abraham for his willingness to kill his son

16God swears to himself, saying,

I swear to myself that since you were willing to kill your only son for me, 17 I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars and the sand of the seashore. 18They will possess the land of their enemies, and all of the nations will be blessed in them.

Caravaggio (15:71-1610): Sacrifice of Isaac

Notes

God tempted Abraham (v.1)
Has anyone ever been tempted by God?
Take your only son Isaac (v.2)
God says that Isaac is Abraham's only son. But he wasn't. (And God knew that he wasn't.)

Abraham's first son was Ishmael (Genesis 16:15), whom Abraham abandoned, at Sarah and God's request (Genesis 21:1-21).

How many sons did Abraham have?

Offer Isaac to me as a burnt sacrifice (v.2)
Only an evil God would ask a father to kill his son; only a bad father would be willing to do it.

Does God approve of human sacrifice?

What the Bible says about children, parenting, fathers, human sacrifice, and family values

Now I know that you fear God, since you were willing to kill your only son for me (v.12)

Abraham had proved his love for God by his willingness to murder his son.

Greater evil hath no man than this, that he is willing to kill his own son for God.

How many sons did Abraham have?

Does God know everything?

I will make your offspring as numerous (v.17)
To reward Abraham for his willingness to kill his son, Isaac, God promised to make Isaac's descendents as numerous as "the stars of heaven" -- which, of course, never happened. The Jews have always been, and will always be, a small minority.