Friday, April 9, 2010

Entry 7 - reading day 5

Genesis 22

Dear Reader,

I am not going to read much this weekend, as I have a conference. My goal is to get through one verse a day for Friday to Sunday. Today it was the story of Abraham and Isaac. First off, let me say that I do not know if I would’ve had the stomach to obey God in such matters.

One should, I realize, attempt to follow God’s instructions, but it would be hard for me as parent. Moreover, unlike Abraham, who opted not to inform Isaac of what happening, I would have told my child about the Lord’s decree simply because I would felt that they had a right no to know what was happening with and to them. I, personally think that 1) Abraham was afraid he wouldn’t be able to go through with it if he had to look at Isaac and tell him directly and 2) that the boy would run away in fear and therefore bring about God’s wrath into Abraham’s house.

While I consider both reasons valid, I still would have told Isaac. I would have no option to believe that I’d raised the boy incorrectly so that he would run away and therefore bring God’s wrath into my house (and his own, by default). I would also trust that he knew that I believed in my soul that the Lord wanted me to do with a very heavy heart. If Isaac were my son and didn’t believe these two things I would think I had failed as a parent.

The last I would like to comment on today is the similarity between this story and that of Odysseus, Odysseus didn’t want to serve in the Trojan War and tried to pretend to be mentally ill. Palamedes who sent to evaluate Odysseus ‘s sanity, was very intelligent and placed Telemachus, Odysseus' son, in front of the plow. Odysseus veered the plow, so as not to kill his son and revealed his sanity, then left for the Trojan War.

Odysseus tried to be deceitful and shirk his duty, but Abraham obeyed his with, as I’ve said, a heavy heart to be sure. Abraham was rewarded for his faith and Odysseus was separated from his family for 20 years (10 at war, 10 lost at sea). I guess it’s better to just do what you’re supposed to do in terms of duty most times.


  1. Only if you assume the gods act like spoiled children. What sort of superior being puts someone through that?

  2. Nothing happened, he obeyed, God said you did good

  3. I wonder if the story of Abraham was written in response to the Odysseus story. Sometimes Bible stories are not so much "factual" as they are, "in response to". They are written to say, "our God and our people are better than your god and your people." The whole Noah story is a good example. There are lots of flood narratives in the ancient near east, but our story tells about a God with a particular issue in mind,(not one that I particularly agree with, but in comparison with the capricious reasoning of some of the other gods being written about in the day, somewhat legitimate) who realizes the gravity of the consequences of wiping everyone/everything out, and then promises to NOT do that again. It was a story of a relationship in development. Maybe the Abraham story is like that...

  4. You don't think the entire experience of tying up his son and preparing to sacrifice him was anything more than nothing?

    You think Isaac didn't spend the rest of his life knowing his father would kill him at a word from god? What does that do to a person?