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Near sacrifice of Isaac

Related: religion - bible

Near sacrifice of Isaac

Abraham and Isaac (ca. 1634-1635) - Rembrandt

The near-sacrifice of Isaac, in Genesis 22, is a story from the Hebrew Bible in which God asks Abraham to present his son Isaac as a sacrifice on Mount Moriah. To many readers the tale is one of the most challenging, complex, mystifying, and perhaps ethically troublesome episodes in the entire Bible. The story is referred to as the Akedah or Akedat Yitschak in Hebrew -- "the binding of Isaac".

Abraham agrees to God's command without argument, even though God gives him no reason for the sacrifice (called an Olah in Hebrew -- for the significance of sacrifices, especially in Biblical times, see the korbanot). The text of the story says that God wishes to test Abraham, which indicates that He does not intend for Abraham to actually sacrifice his son. Indeed, the story ends with an angel stopping Abraham at the last minute, at which point Abraham discovers a ram caught in some nearby bushes that he can present as an offering instead of Isaac. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near_sacrifice_of_Isaac [May 2005]

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