12″ x 16″ acrylic on paper, 2019
Abraham and the Sacrifice of Issac
God decided to test Abraham’s obedience by ordering him to take his son born of Sarah, Issac, to Mount Moriah and sacrifice him as a burnt offering to God himself. Abraham obeyed and when they had reached the mountain the wood for burning was tied to Issac’s back and they climbed the mountain to the site of sacrifice. Issac was bound and placed on the altar. As Abraham raised the knife to slit his son’s throat an angel commanded him to stop which he did. For his obedience to God the angel promised Abraham victory over his enemies and that his descendants would be as countless as “the stars in the sky and the grains of sand on the seashore.”
This story has many interpretations and some see it as an example of God’s mercy for sparing Issac. Many see it as a point in the faiths of Abraham, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, where it was established that complete, unquestioning obedience must be given to God. Even if it was something as radical as slaughtering one’s own son the rewards could be great. At times this absolute obedience was extended to those claimed to be the spokesmen of God as well.
This moment is described in Genesis 22.
Mark W McGinnis