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The Great Test: The Binding of Isaac

The Great Test: The Binding of Isaac


G‑d’s strange Command

Peace and harmony had returned to Abraham’s house, after Ishmael and his mother had left. But Abraham was not to find complete peace. Once more his faith was to be tested severely.

Under stress of tribulation Abraham had proved unshaken in his faith in G‑d. Would his faith be just as strong in the midst of blissfulness? G‑d now put Abraham’s sincerity and obedience to the greatest possible test. Appearing to Abraham suddenly, G‑d said to him, “Please take your son, your only one, whom you love, yea, Isaac, and go away to the land of Moriah and bring him up there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains, of which I will tell you.”

Abraham did not plead with G‑d for his son. He did not ask how this command could be reconciled with the promise that Isaac was to become the father of a large nation that was to bear G‑d’s name. G‑d commanded, and Abraham hastened to obey.

Father and Son Together

Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his ass with his own hands and prepared wood for the fire; then he took two servants and his son Isaac and started on the trip to Moriah. Isaac, then already a fully grown man of thirty-seven, soon realized for what purpose he was being taken on this trip.

Thus father and son were firm in their decision to fulfill G‑d’s command. Many an obstacle was put in their way to make it difficult for them to go through with the test. However, with firm hearts and solemn determination, Abraham and Isaac continued on their way until they reached Mount Moriah on the third day. Here G‑d showed Abraham the place where he was to build the altar and bind Isaac on it. Abraham and Isaac ascended to the place G‑d had designated.

The Akedah Altar

Having prepared the altar, upon which he bound his beloved son, Abraham lifted the knife to sacrifice Isaac. At that moment an angel called unto him to halt and do no harm to his son, for this was only a test and Abraham had proved his loyalty to G‑d. Full of gratitude and holy inspiration, Abraham looked around and saw a ram that had been caught in a thicket by his horns. Abraham took the ram and offered it, instead of Isaac, to G‑d.

Abraham’s Reward

And the angel of G‑d called unto Abraham a second time out of heaven and said, “And he said, "By Myself have I sworn, says the L-rd, that because you have done this thing and you did not withhold your son, your only one, that I will surely bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand that is on the seashore, and your descendants will inherit the cities of their enemies.“

Abraham and Isaac Return

Full of happiness and solemn joy at the miraculous ending of their trip, Abraham and Isaac descended from the mountain and returned to the place where they had left their servants. As fast as they could, they returned home to Sarah. Abraham feared that somehow Sarah might have guessed the real purpose of the journey, and he was therefore anxious to return home with his beloved son Isaac safe and sound.

Sarah’s Death

News of Isaac’s safe return reached Sarah before his arrival, and her troubled heart could not stand the shock. Sarah died from the shock of happiness that overwhelmed her. She was one hundred and twenty-seven years old.

Abraham mourned deeply over the loss of his wife, and with him mourned the entire country. He bought the Cave of Machpelah, near Hebron, where Adam and Eve had been buried, and there he laid his wife Sarah to rest.

From Our People by Jacob Isaacs published and copyrighted by Kehot Publication Society 1946-1948
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leon roiter barranquilla November 28, 2016

we all deside based on our belief system Our mind Works within a belief system. you have to pick your own conclusión. ashem will not do it for were granted freedom of choise. Reply

Anonymous USA November 27, 2016

Akedah Does anyone know the reasoning that Isaac is mentioned as Abraham's "only son" ("your son, your only one") three different times in 22:2, 22:12, 22:16? Abraham had 2 sons...Isaac and Ishmael. Reply

Hessel Meilech RSA September 9, 2016

Akedah This is the point. How many readers in today's world would take their sons up to the nearest mountain with the purpose to kill him.The conclusion is that the akedah is a narrative not to kill our children unlike the surrounding pagans. Reply

Yehuda Shurpin for November 26, 2014

Re: Anonymous 127 is the age given in the Torah. But indeed, the Torah itself describes Sarah's giving birth as a miracle. So whether or not it was possible naturally is really a moot point. Reply

Anonymous NYC November 26, 2014

I just finished reading about the Akedah. The story has some inconceivable comments about Sarah and her age. I can not believe that she was a127 when she passed and pregnant finally at the age of 90. A woman can not he of that age and still fertile, so there is a problem accepting it. No matter what, nature will do it's work, sending a woman thru menopause beyond a certain age. There have been cases when a woman in her 60's was able to bare a child, since it was possible for her, she became the oldest woman to have one. Yet, it is said that Sarah, at 90, which would definitely cover the oldest woman on earth to ever bare a child at such an age, could not have had it. Sarah was actually in her 40's or early 50's when she became pregnant with Issac. Please, let's be realistic in what is meant to be read about what was then. The burning bush story is a bit far fetched, but possible. I'm not saying there isn't a g-d, but I am saying human beings were the same back then as they are today. Reply

Shaul Wolf June 12, 2014

Re: The Medrash on this verse poses the very same question, where was Yitzchak and why was his descent from the mountain not mentioned.

There are two answers given:

1)Abraham sent Yitzchak to study in the academy of Shem. Knowing that everything he had merited was in reward for the Torah he had studied, Abraham wanted to ensure that the Torah remained with his descendants
2) Abraham sent him later at nightfall, so as to not cast on him an evil eye. When people would see that he survived they would begin to talk about Yitzchak, arousing judgment. Reply

leon roiter barranquilla June 12, 2014

Yitzhak did not descend Moriah with Abraham.

After the Akedah Yitzhak dessapears he is mentioned again when Abraham orders to search for a wife. Several years had passed by.

Kindly confirm. Reply

Ekpedeme Nigeria February 7, 2014

Isaac's Age at the time of attempted Sacrifice Are we certain that Isaac was thrity seven of age then? Reply

Don March 2, 2013

The Great Flood I have more of a question than comment. If the Great Flood distroyed all the land, how did Abraham, or even Noah know where Adam and Eve were buried? Reply

Ms. janice dunn March 22, 2011

If Sham was the ancestor of Noah, and that is the beginning of the Jewish history, Where does the ancestory of the Gential's ancestory begin?There is no other race of people on the earth. Reply

Tzvi Freeman August 24, 2007

Re: Sarah's Death Some say it was the shock of happiness that her son had merited such a great degree of self-sacrifice. Reply

Tsvetozar Mezdra, Bulgaria August 18, 2007

Sarah's Death Was it the shock of happiness that her son is alive that caused her death or the shock of fear what is going to happen to her son? Reply

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