Did YHVH Tell Abraham to Sacrifice Isaac?

Posted by on Nov 12, 2017

In the story of the banishment of Ishmael in Genesis 21, YHVH told Avraham that in his son Yitschak (Isaac) his seed was called (Gen 21:12), but in Gen 22:2 YHVH seems to have turned the promise upside down when He told Avraham to sacrifice him. And in the culmination of the story in Gen 22:12, it seems that YHVH had “changed” His mind again when He told him not to sacrifice Yitschak thus having created another internal challenge for Avraham. This, however, creates more problems than it solves.

This interpretation that Avraham was told to slaughter and sacrifice his son is not at all grounded well in the text, as the connection between what YHVH told Avraham to do and what he intended to do is never raised or even hinted at in the context of the Genesis 22. For these interpreters, who promote such a concept of human sacrifice as if it had come from the Almighty, it does not seem to matter if that this is an idolatrous practice among the ancient pagans, which still is being promoted today in the form of abortion of unborn.

Such unscriptural interpretation of the story comes from the reading of translations like this one,

And He said, “Take your son, now, your only son Yitschak, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriyah, and offer him there as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains which I command you.” (Gen 22:2)

But did really YHVH told Avraham to sacrifice Yitschak, the promised son, whom Avraham so much loved? Can we rethink the whole story of the sacrifice of Yitschak before we see the beautiful picture of what truly transpired at the end? We will address this issue of offering Yitschak in the following vein and offer the conclusion for the reader’s consideration.

The challenges we are faced with in the Isaac sacrifice

The challenges we are faced with in the story of offering Yitschak as a living sacrifice, posed by the narrative as we know it above and by theological discussions in Rabbinic and Christian circles, occurs on four levels:

1. The Lord of the universe changed His promise given to Avraham that from him through the promised son Yitschak many nations would come out. The challenge is: If He had changed His mind once, He could change it again.

2. By telling Avraham to sacrifice Yitschak, the Righteous One had instituted the practice of a human sacrifice contrary to what He has stated in His Torah that this is an abomination to Him. This seems self-contradictory and more importantly wrong. The huge challenge here is the human sacrifices.

3. Avraham’s uncertainty is also problematic; he did not even question the Creator’s decision to sacrifice his only son, who He gave him. We should recall here that Avraham negotiated the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah even for the sake of ten righteous but did not negotiate the fate of his own son. The challenge is: in the story, we see no sign that Avraham had even intended to ask YHVH, “Why did You give a son whom You want me now to sacrifice?”

4. Avraham consciously and willingly obeyed and brought up his unsuspecting son on the altar to sacrifice him, and Yitschak did not even question his father’s decision. The challenge is: If Avraham had indeed believed that this was the will of YHVH, why did he tell his son before heading to the place.

We will explain the reason for these questions in due course, as the present author will try to present all facts the text offers with the understanding he has without being conclusive on the matter. With that said, since the Hebrew text of the story is rich with meanings and shadow pictures, the sacrifice of Yitschak is one of the present author’s favorite stories of the Bible.

We see from the challenges above that we are faced with serious theological, moral, and ethical problems, which we need to address to our best knowledge and understanding. Failure to come to some understanding or not addressing these problems at all would leave a big hole in our faith, since this story is a pivotal point of YHVH’s Redemption Plan.

As already said, the Isaac story is well discussed by the Rabbinic and Christian theologians not without controversy to the text and even to the internal denominational doctrines. For instance, Abraham ibn Ezra (1089–c.1167), famous Torah commentator, believed that Elohim’s words sometimes change and referring to our story, he said that Elohim first told Avraham to sacrifice Isaac, and then told him not to. Likewise, in Numbers 3:12-13 YHVH gave the priesthood to the firstborn, but then He replaced them with the Levites. We can understand why he said that, but this situation is hardly parallel.  

That was enough for Ibn Ezra and others in the Rabbinic Judaism to conclude that the Just One can change His mind. But we know that Abraham ibn Ezra is in a contradiction to the Sages’ own teaching on the first born that originally the service was meant for the firstborn, but when they sinned by worshipping the golden calf, they became disqualified. The Levites, who had not committed idolatry, were chosen in their stead. We read this in Midrash Aggadah and also in the Torah, see Num 3:40-41.

On the other side of the argument, the Christian theologians teach that the overall theology has been changed at the cross where the Law has been replaced by grace with the death of the Messiah, contrary to what Yeshua Himself stated in His First Address to the nation of Israel, aka the Sermon on the Mountain.

According to Christian interpretation, Avraham reconciled the ideas that he would be the father of many nations, by having faith in resurrection, even though he was told to sacrifice his son. On the basis of this faith, the Christian theology holds the view that Avraham could sacrifice his son and still believe that he would be resurrected and become the father of many nations. They derive the doctrine of resurrection from the contradiction between God’s promise that Isaac will be the promised son and the command to sacrifice him. 

In other words, according to the Christian theology, the doctrine of resurrection comes from the contradiction of the Word of YHVH. A priori, this is a false premise to stat with: there is no contradiction of the word of YHVH, therefore, the doctrine of resurrection cannot be derived from it. Otherwise, they correctly see that the sacrifice of Isaac was a prefiguring the death but also the resurrection of Yeshua, the Lamb of YHVH, by whose blood the sins have been forgiven.

Therefore, we see that we are challenged with more questions, which behooves us to understand, to our best knowledge and ability, what indeed happen on Mount Moriyah, namely: (1) Why is the verse not written the way the commentators say it should be understood?  Is changing the text to its opposite called “interpretation”?; (2) Did YHVH change His promise when He told Avraham to sacrifice Yitschak, because if He did, none of us is on a safe ground concerning the promise made to us; and (3) the ultimate question is: Was indeed Yitschak offered as a human sacrifice, or there is something in the text we do not understand?

We do not ask the reader to substitute our judgment for his or her own but to carefully examine the matter, as it will be exposed below.

Was Abraham told to sacrifice Isaac?

A good departure point to describing “sacrifice of Isaac” is to explain what the narrative does and what it does not say. But first of all, we need to clear an old misconception, heavily influenced by Christian movies and traditions, that Yitschak at the time of “the sacrifice” was a little boy who was led by his father unsuspectedly to slaughter. But was he a little boy who knew nothing or a grown man who willingly obeyed his father, as we argued in the article How Old Was Yitschak When Avraham Offered Him?

A closer look at the Hebrew text of Genesis 22, however, should suffice to notice that nowhere in it has YHVH “commanded” Avraham to sacrifice anything. It is remarkable that YHVH did not “command” Avraham anything. This is self-evident from the reading of the Hebrew text as we will explain below. Although this may appear surprising, this conclusion follows naturally from the plain words of the text. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that Avraham was not told to slaughter his son Yitschak.

We find the command to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac in the translations but not in Hebrew. This seems quite astounding that the Torah has failed to mention this “little” detail. What then did YHVH tell 

Let us read Gen 22:2 what it does say in Hebrew. The first problematic word is the word “now” as found probably in all English translations and unfortunately in JPS, as well. Thus translated, the verse seems like a command which had to be performed immediately, i.e., “right now.” What do we find in Hebrew though is something else.

The Hebrew word behind “now” is נא, na, and it simply means “Please!” We find this Hebrew word in Gen 12:13, as we read,

Please, say you are my sister, so that it shall be well with me for your sake, and my life be spared because of you. (Gen 12:13)

Avram did not command Sarai to say she was his sister “now” (because they were not yet in Egypt), but simply pleaded with her to say it, when they would enter Egypt in order to save his life. So, hardly we can translate נא, na, in Gen 12:13 as “now” since the context and the timing do not permit it.

Therefore, the proper translation of Gen 22:2 must be: And He said, “Take, please, your son, … That was not a harsh command from YHVH to Avraham to slaughter his son but a plea. It is remarkable to learn that the Almighty Sovereign of the universe can make a plea before a mortal, but this is what we read in the narrative. This should come to us as a surprise for it was YHVH who called Avraham his friend.

The second thing that may surprise many is that nowhere in the whole narrative do we find that YHVH has commanded Avraham “to bind and slaughter”, that is, to sacrifice his son. Simply nowhere. The problematic words in the translations are “offer him there as a burnt offering”. The confusion comes from the association of offering burnt sacrifices after being slaughtered. The problem here is how two Hebrew words are translated.

The Hebrew words in question are עָלָה alah, and עֹלָה olah.

Take your son, now, your only son Yitschak, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriyah, and עָלָה alah him there as עֹלָה olah on one of the mountains which I command you. (Gen 22:2)

As the reader has already noticed both words are spelled out in Hebrew identically and pronounced similarly (there are no vowel letters in Hebrew, only consonants). 

The traditional interpretation suggests that the noun עֹלָה or עוֹלָה olah, always refers to “a burnt offering” as in bringing up an animal sacrifice by fire on the altar of the Temple. A literal translation, however, would require a different approach. The verb עָלָה alah, is a primitive root and means to ascend, to bring up, to rise up and is used in a great variety of senses, primary and secondary, literally and figuratively. 

So, YHVH’s instruction in Genesis 22:2 is שָם וְהַעֲלֵהוּ and simply means “and bring him up there [the mountain]” where “vav” at the end of the word וְהַעֲלֵהוּ means “him” and שָם sham means “there”, hence, “bring him (Yitschak) up on the mountain.

Although, alah and olah, are spelled with the same Hebrew consonants, עֹלָה olah (alternative spellings are עוֹלָה עַוְלָה  עָוֶל עֶוֶל) may come from a different root: עָוַל aval, as Strong Dictionary hints, and therefore, they are two different words, as we will explain. Notice the alternative spellings of both words עוֹלָה.

If this is the case, olah means (moral) evil, iniquity, perverseness, unrighteousness, wickedness. Olah comes from the root verb עָוַל aval, which means to distort (morally), to deal unjustly. The first use of this word is found in Gen 8:20 where Noach was told to build an altar to YHVH and take of every clean animal and bring them up on the altar. We read thus,

And Noach built an altar to Yehovah and took of every clean beast and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. (Gen 8:20)

In Gen 8:20 we find the same expression “offered burnt offerings” as in our verse Gen 22:2. We also find this word in Lev 4:22-24 with its literal meaning of “iniquity”.

When a ruler sins,  he shall lay his hand on the head of the goat and slay it at the place where they slay עֹלָה olah the burnt offering before Yehovah. It is a sin offering. (Lev 4:22-24)

Hence, from Hebrew we read thus (notice how olah couples with chatah the Hebrew word for “sin”).

When a ruler sins (chata),  he shall lay his hand on the head of the goat and slay it at the place where they slay the iniquity (olah) before Yehovah, it is a sin (chatah). (Lev 4:22-24)

Clearly our word olah is used in parallel with the word chattah to teach us that an iniquity is a sin for us, bringing up (alah) an animal on the altar and ascending it up (alah) in the smoke of fire, is a representation of iniquity (olah) and not the iniquity itself. This interpretation works for Noach but contradicts Avraham. This might have caused the translators to render both words as one and the same: firstly, by their identical spelling and close pronunciation, and secondly by their service. But they may not be. 

Therefore, the phrase “offered burnt-offering” is to be translated asbrought up iniquity” [the animals as representations of iniquities]. 

But Avraham was never told to do olah, “burnt offering”, as Noach was told, since that would have been an offering of human sacrifice. Again, nowhere in the whole narrative do we find that YHVH has commanded Avraham “to bind and slaughter” or sacrifice Yitschak (implied in the phrase “offer him there as a burnt offering“, but simply His instruction in Genesis 22:2 was שָם וְהַעֲלֵהוּ and bring him up there [the mountain]”. Therefore, the most rational conclusion is that the phrase לְעֹלָ֔ה שָם וְהַעֲלֵהוּ and bring him up there [the mountain] for iniquity” (where Yitschak by no means was “iniquity” but a representation of iniquity) on Mount Moriyah.

By now the reader should have notice the upcoming shadow picture of something in the Almighty’s plea,

Take, please, your son, your only son Yitschak, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriyah, and bring him up there as an iniquity on one of the mountains which I command you! (Gen 22:2)

The text is as simple as it is, and this is how we should read it without any preconceived ideas. We keep on reading,

And Avraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Yitschak his son. And he split a tree for the iniquity (olah) and arose and went to the place which Elohim had commanded him. (Gen 22:3)

The new surprising thing we find in this verse. Avraham did something he was not commanded to do at all: he split a tree and took it with him, for what he presumed he was told to do on the mountain. That was, what the present author believes, the first thing Avraham that might have led him to draw a wrong conclusion. When we read the Hebrew text, we see that the word for “wood” is eytz, whose simple meaning is “tree”.

The confusion might have come from the usage of the expression in Hebrew “and bring him up there for iniquity” to mean “to burn something on the mountain” as his ancestor Noach did after the Flood, and what was the common practice at that time to bring something on an altar to burn it. But strictly speaking and judging by what the text does and what it does not say, YHVH did not ask Avraham to take a tree with him to burn it on the mountain. He simply did not tell Avraham to do such a thing.

After three-day walk to the mountain Moriyah, Avraham saw the place from a distance and he said to the young men who were with him,

Stay here with the donkey while the boy and I will go over there and worship and come back to you. (Gen 22:5)

First thing first: the Hebrew word behind “boy” should be yelad meaning child, but this is not what we find here, but na’ar, a young man (for more on the age of Yitschak, refer to the corresponding article).

The word usually translated as “to worship” actually means “to bow down” and notice also what Avraham told his servants: “we will come back to you”. In other words, he said “we (plural), that is Avraham and Yitschak, will come back to you”. In his mind Avraham believed that they both would return to the camp after he finished whatever YHVH would ask him to do on the mountain. No word that he would sacrifice Yitschak. 

And Avraham took the tree of the iniquity (olah) and laid it on Yitschak his son. And he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. (Gen 22:6)

If Avraham had already presumed that YHVH had asked him to burn something, in his mind he was expected to take a fire and a knife with him, which he did. Another prophetic picture we cannot overlook is that Avraham laid the tree upon Yitschak, and they headed for the summit of the mountain.

Now comes the critical moment in our story, which is full of emotions: Yitschak for the first time we are told questioned his father’s actions, as we further read,

“My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Look, the fire and the wood! But where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (Gen 22:7)

If his father took the fire and the knife, where was the animal sacrifice, Yitschak asked? From the day Avraham was asked to bring his son up to the mountain (for unknown reason) until the moment Yitschak inadvertently asked this prophetic question, we can count at least three full days. We can expect that there were some conversations between the father and the son on the purpose of going up to the mountain and exactly what they both were supposed to do there, but for unknown reason we are not told of their existence.

And now is the moment we are expecting, Avraham said,

My son, Elohim does see for Himself the lamb for an iniquity (olah). (Gen 22:8)

Here again we see another new element in the story: the lamb. Let us recall what the text does and what it does not say: Avraham had never been commanded to slaughter and sacrifice a lamb on the top of the mountain, so that he would need a tree for the fire, and a knife. Nevertheless, we see both the father and the son played their prophetic roles for the fulfillment of the Redemption Plan of YHVH.

But this is not all, as there is more to come. The expression יִרְאֶה־לֹּ֥ו אֱלֹהִים elohim yereh lo, “Elohim will see for Himself” speaks a lot. The Hebrew text as it is vocalized by the scribes does say what it says in third person singular active imperfect tense: elohim yereh lo, “Elohim will see for Himself”, but the verb רָאָה ra’ah, to see, can also be written with different vowels (vowels do not exist in Hebrew) to read in third person singular passive imperfect tense thus: elohim yera’eh lo, “Elohim will be seen for Himself”.

This is how this phrase is written originally (with no vowel points) in the Torah: יראה־לּו אלהים. Therefore, we see that in Hebrew both expressions can be written identically and differ only in the vowel points.

The Masoretic text supports the former rather than the latter, namely: elohim yereh lo, “Elohim will see for Himself”, according to how the scribes have decided to vocalize this phrase. The alternative and also legitimate vocalization would be elohim yera’eh lo, “Elohim will be seen for Himself”. Either way, the Hebrew text will be identical for both translations. Which vocalization is the correct one, we do not know as none of them is wrong or grammatically incorrect?

However, we see a significant change of the meaning of the text that shifted from “Elohim will see for Himself” to “Elohim will be seen for Himself”. What is the difference? Theologically this is a big change from “Elohim will provide for Himself the lamb” to “Elohim will appear for Himself the lamb.”

The reader is asked not to draw swift theological conclusions, but to take into account what the Hebrew word for “Elohim” means; literally it means a mighty one or someone in power or authority, as the word “Elohim” itself does not necessarily mean the Creator of the universe.

“Elohim” does not mean “G-o-d” as it is commonly translated and understood. Behind the word “God” there is a theological concept depending on the religion and the denomination of the ones who use it, but it does not necessarily mean what the Hebrew “Elohim” means.

The Hebrew “Elohim” means much more to it than that. It can refer to the Creator (as the present author would translate “Elohim” as “The Absolute One” instead of “God”). “Elohim” can refer to His messengers (angels), but it can also refer to men and judges, as we find this in the command to Mosheh (Moses) to appear before Pharaoh and be like “elohim”. YHVH did not tell Mosheh to be a God before Pharaoh but be His representative in power and authority to judge the Egyptians. i.e., to speak with authority, which Mosheh did.

So, to return back to our story, Avraham, speaking prophetically, did not say that YHVH will appear in a form or shape of something, but that One in power and authority will be seen as a lamb.

Who could that in power and authority will be seen we will see at the end of our study?

What Avraham was never asked to do

Again, regardless of how Avraham pronounced יראה־לּו אלהים the phrase is prophetic enough. If he had said it one way or the other, it was a beautiful and prophetic Hebrew wordplay, which has not lost its prophetic meaning. We keep on reading,

And they came to the place which Elohim had told him, and Avraham built an altar there and placed the trees in order. And he bound Yitschak his son and laid him on the altar, upon the trees. (Gen 22:9)

Let us pause for a moment. The present author is in opinion that there is a time gap between verse 8 and verses 9-10. This time gap was not filled only for the time it took for both to climb up to the top of the mountain but also for something else, as we will explain.

After they reached the summit of Moriyah, Avraham might have paused for a while waiting for something. But what was it? We read verse 10,

And Avraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son, (Gen 22:10)

Here, contrary to what we have seen in the Biblical movies, we see that Avraham did not raise his hand in the air holding a knife to stab his son Isaac in the chest, but he stretched out his hand to take the knife, because in his mind he had to sacrifice his son.

The humane way to slaughter an animal for food or sacrifice is to cut gently the jugular vein with a very sharp and smooth knife so that it would cause minimal or no suffering to the animal. While the blood is dripping on the ground, the only thing the animal may feel is a deep sleep coming upon itself: the animal does not even know that it is dying but falling asleep. That was how Avraham had slaughtered his sheep for food and by no means we could have expected him to attempt to stab his son the way we have seen it in the Christian movies.

Strictly speaking and judging by what the text does and what it does not say, we need to say again that:

(1) YHVH did not ask Avraham to take a tree with him to burn something on the mountain.

(2) Avraham had never been commanded to slaughter a lamb on the altar, much less to sacrifice his son, so that he would need the tree for the fire, and the knife for the slaughter.

(3) He had never been told to build an altar either.

None of this was in the plea of YHVH to him, and yet he did prepare the altar to sacrifice Yitschak the promised son on it. So, what might Avraham have waited for when they reached the summit and paused for a while?

How Avraham might have misunderstood YHVH

Let us summarize how Avraham and Yitschak might have seen the whole story.

Avraham was never told “to bind and slaughter” or sacrifice Isaac, but simply YHVH’s instruction was “bring him up there [on the mountain] for iniquity.” That was what he heard when YHVH spoke to him.

While he was wondering why YHVH would ask him to go up to the mountain with his son and what the role of his son would be, he thought that he would be asked to sacrifice an animal for the iniquities of his generation, as he prepared for the journey by having taken wood for fire.

As they were walking towards Mount Moriyah, most likely they were discussing the purpose of their journey to the mountain. Upon arrival at the mountain, Avraham thought that whatever sacrifice they would be asked to do on the mountain, they would do as asked and both would return to the camp, as he told his accompanying servants.

Here, Yitschak asked the question, if they would do an animal sacrifice, where was the animal? Avraham, as he himself did not know what he would expect from the whole journey, gave the most natural answer that a lamb would be provided, if they would been told to sacrifice an animal on the mountain.

Upon arrival on the top of the mountain Avraham and Yitschak expected to find there a lamb or other clean animal suitable for sacrifice for the iniquities of their generation. As the time was going by and no animal was seen around, Avraham came to the conclusion that since there was no animal to be found on the mountain, from the very beginning YHVH might have meant his son for “olah”. And he prepared the altar to sacrifice his son.

What YHVH might have asked Avraham

Agnus Dei (the lamb of God), Francisco de Zurbarán, 1640

Agnus Dei (the lamb of God), Francisco de Zurbarán, 1640

Now, let us see the whole story from a heavenly perspective and how it might have transpired according to YHVH’s plan. The intelligent reader needs no reminding that a human sacrifice is an abomination to the Creator, and that by no means He would command anyone to do such an abomination, much less for YHVH and in the Name of YHVH.

YHVH pleaded to His friend Avraham to take his only son Yitschak, whom he loved, and bring him up to His mountain Moriyah as an “olah” as a representative of the iniquities of his but also of the future generations. Let us again recall the prophetic statement of Gen 3:15,

And I put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed. He shall crush your head, and you shall crush His heel.

In order to fulfill this promise, YHVH might have planned to give mankind a beautiful shadow picture of a man who would ultimately fulfill His Redemption Plan.

However, as YHVH saw from above the preparations Avraham did for an animal sacrifice by having taken wood for it, He waited patiently for the events to transpire. He was listening to the conversations between the father and the son during their three-day journey to the mountain. Upon their arrival at the skirts of Moriyah, YHVH saw that Avraham’s expectation was to find a lamb for the sacrifice at the mountain summit, to sacrifice it, and return back home with his son.

And here YHVH witnessing the conversation between the father and the son saw that Avraham had faith in Him: that although no animal had been provided so far for the sacrifice, he believed that YHVH would provide it one way or the other.

They arrived at the summit and built the altar for the sacrifice and waited for the lamb to appear. YHVH waited to see what action Avraham would do as no animal was around. And when He saw that Avraham had misunderstood His words and took the things in his own hands ready to sacrifice his own and only son in the place of the lamb, the Merciful One stopped his hand to sacrifice Yitschak right there, as He saw what Avraham was about to do. He could not allow a human sacrifice, much less to sacrifice Yitschak through whom the fulfillment of the prophecy would take place. And He said,

Do not lay your hand on the young man, nor touch him. Because now I know that you fear Elohim, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me. (Gen 22:12)

In this scene we see that Elohim is able to turn the evil into good and although humans may misunderstand Him and attempt to do evil believing they do good; He can turn it around, as He intervened the Yoseph story.

We see here both the father and the son played their prophetic roles in order to fulfill another shadow picture of a promised son who should come one day and crush the serpent’s head. This is how the Good News started at the very beginning of the world.

Therefore, YHVH had never had in mind a human sacrifice. He would never ask or command Avraham to sacrifice his son, or anyone else to do such an abomination; neither did He change what He had planned to do.

What was YHVH’s plan for Avraham and Yitschak?

What YHVH simply wanted from Avraham was to bring his beloved son to His mountain where He would show them something. What was it? What did YHVH want to reveal to His friend Avraham? For a deeper insight into this prophetic picture and what was revealed to Avraham, the reader is encouraged to read (for a complete understanding of our story) the articles To foresee Yeshua the Messiah and The Festival of the Unleavened Bread and the Messiah.

What was behind the scenes Avraham did not know about

It is the present author’s understanding of what had transpired on the mountain of YHVH. This study has not been meant to be conclusive nor exhaustive, but to give an unorthodox view of one of the most prophetic stories of the Bible: the shadow picture of good thing to come. But we still may be perplexed as to why the righteous Avraham would have even assumed that his friend YHVH would ask him to sacrifice his beloved and only son.

According to The Book of Jubilee 17:16, this is what took place between Elohim and the satan in heaven. We read thus,

And the prince Mastêmâ came and said before Elohim, ‘Behold, Avraham loves Isaac his son, and he delights in him above all things else; bid offer him as a burnt offering on the altar, and Thou wilt see if he will do this command, and Thou wilt know if he is faithful in everything wherein, Thou dost try him.

This “deal” between Elohim and the satan is not without precedent in the Scripture, as we should recall another agreement when YHVH tested through the satan the faith of Iyov (Job).

And satan answered Yehovah and said, “Is Iyov fearing Elohim for naught? Have You not made a hedge around him, and around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out Your hand, please, and strike all that he has – if he would not curse You to Your face!” And Yehovah said to Satan, “See, all that he has is in your hand. Only do not lay a hand on himself.” (Job 1:9-12)

It is very plausible that the conversation in The Book of Jubilee might have taken place when Avraham and Yitschak were awaiting the lamb on the mountain. As YHVH and the satan were watching the men, the satan stepped in and offered the deal to test Avraham’s faith, as he would test Iyov’s faith.

The test was granted and when Avraham was found faithful, despite the misunderstanding, YHVH declared,

By Myself I have sworn, because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, that I shall certainly bless you, and I shall certainly increase your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand, which is on the seashore, and let your seed possess the gate of their enemies. (Gen 22:16)

Thus, YHVH turned the evil intent of the satan into a blessing for Avraham. Avraham’s offering of his son was an example of faith, as the author of Hebrews testifies:

By faith Avraham, when put to the test, offered up Yitschak. He who had received the promises was ready to bring up his only son, of whom he had been told, it is through Yitschak that descendants shall be named for you. He considered the fact that Elohim is able even to raise someone from the dead—and figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. (Hebrews 11:17–19)

And indeed, Avraham while unknowingly of the test of the satan was ready to sacrifice his son believing that YHVH was able to raise him from the dead.

Continue reading Avraham gained righteousness but lost a son

May we merit seeing the coming of our Mashiach speedily in our days.