The story of the binding of Isaac… many would like to spend a lot of time questioning this text of terror. Good. Scripture isn’t real unless you sit down with it and wrestle the truth out of it. Go wrestle.
Other have done just that and offer a few insights that might help us redeem this passage nominally about testing Abraham’s faith (though the word testing isn’t anywhere in the test).
Isaac asks about the lamb for the offering as it would normally be a lamb, but what is actually provided is a ram. It’s not the young that are sacrificed, but the older generation. Now there are various ways we can read this. Leonard Cohen wrote an anti-war song off the back of this, sacrificing the younger generation by the will of older men to keep the balance of their world as it is.
Or there is a slight shift in that that enables us to see a story where the older generations step back and set free younger generations, not to do as they have done but let the promise, the covenant move on through this new generation.
Either way a story that gives you the shivers both in the face value of a story about abuse and a God who tests fold to the extreme but also in the metaphor that the gospel is to be passed on, one generation to the next; you can’t hang on to it or control what the next generation will do with it. Either way an uneasy story.
Hymns for this unease?