Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Abraham, offering a prayer of thanksgiving to God, counts his blessings—his land, his peaceful life, his children—and tells of his delight in his favorite child, Isaac. He stands praying in a field near his home in Beersheba. After the prayer, he calls to Isaac to return to their home.
God, in Heaven, summons an angel and tells him that he intends to test Abraham’s steadfastness by asking him to sacrifice Isaac, and he orders the angel to announce his wish to Abraham. Meanwhile, Abraham prays again, asking God what gift or offering might please him most. The angel then appears and tells Abraham that God commands the sacrifice of Isaac as an indication of Abraham’s love for the Lord. Abraham immediately experiences great inward conflict. He keeps repeating that Isaac is the most loved of all his children, that he would rather sacrifice anything else of his, including his own life, than to offer up Isaac. At the same time, he is aware that God’s will must be obeyed and that the sacrifice, no matter how painful, must be made. Abraham then calls Isaac, who is praying, and tells him that they must perform a sacrifice for the Lord. Isaac declares his willingness to help. Abraham feels his heart breaking as they walk toward Mount Vision to make the sacrifice.
On their arrival at the mountain, Isaac asks why Abraham seems so concerned. The boy begins to quake at the sight of the sharp sword in his father’s hand because, aware of his father’s acute misery, he guesses that he is to be the offering in the sacrifice to the Lord. Abraham then tries to explain to Isaac that they must follow God’s commandment, having no other choice. Isaac prays to his father, asking him to spare his life and wishing his mother to be there to intercede for him. Isaac also wonders what crimes he committed that his life should be demanded by God. Abraham, in his misery, explains that God’s will must...
(The entire section is 782 words.)
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