2: Telling Abraham to Kill His Son
We’ve moved forward in time now, to a guy called Abraham who has two children, Ishmael and Isaac. While Ishmael moves on to be the ancestor of the Muslims, Isaac turns out to be the ancestor of the Jews/Christians. Pretty strong family there, eh? Yes, Abraham has it all. A wife, two children who between them are going to create two ½ religions that will be the reason behind almost every single war mankind has, and he’s not doing too badly in life. His sons both grow up to be about thirty before Abraham gets taken aside by God, who wants to ask him for “a little favour”…
So What Did God Do?
He only goes and tells Abraham to kill his son! That’s right, it turns out that God is feeling a little insecure in his role as grand leader and creator of everything, and thinks that the only way he can regain his self-confidence is if he can persuade one of the humans he created to go and kill his own son. And Abraham, like a schmuck, agrees. He takes Isaac by the hand and leads him slowly up a hill, presumably without having mentioned the ritual sacrifice that is going to be a big part of the kid’s future. Or, in fact, the end of it. Isaac is about thirty according to the different gospels at this point, so the fact he follows his father is probably because he thinks something important is about to happen. How little he knows!
In the gospel itself, Isaac keeps asking his dad where the animal that’s going to be sacrificed is, and Abraham keeps saying to him that “God will find one”. How cruel is Abraham? The fact that God is willing to capitalise on the fact that Isaac’s dad is a prick only goes to show how much of a dick move this is on his part, because when Abraham finally turns round and prepares to stab his son, he sends an angel down to say “no, don’t bother – God’s changed his mind.” So… this is all an elaborate prank, it seems. God wasn’t in denial at all, he was just feeling bored and wanted to mess around with something.
Abraham and Isaac have the most awkward conversation in history as they walk back down the hill. And seeing how Abraham forced Isaac to carry the sacrificial wood up the hill, I imagine Isaac wouldn’t have been too keen on bringing it back down again for father dearest. The resulting conversation between Abraham and his wife Sarah can’t have been a picnic either.