1 It happened some time later that God put Abraham to the test. ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ he called. ‘Here I am,’ he replied.
2 God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, your beloved Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, where you are to offer him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I shall point out to you.’
3 Early next morning Abraham saddled his donkey and took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. He chopped wood for the burnt offering and started on his journey to the place which God had indicated to him.
4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.
5 Then Abraham said to his servants, ‘Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I are going over there; we shall worship and then come back to you.’
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering, loaded it on Isaac, and carried in his own hands the fire and the knife. Then the two of them set out together.
7 Isaac spoke to his father Abraham. ‘Father?’ he said. ‘Yes, my son,’ he replied. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’
8 Abraham replied, ‘My son, God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.’ And the two of them went on together.
9 When they arrived at the place which God had indicated to him, Abraham built an altar there, and arranged the wood. Then he bound his son and put him on the altar on top of the wood.
10 Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to kill his son.
11 But the angel of Yahweh called to him from heaven. ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ he said. ‘Here I am,’ he replied.
12 ‘Do not raise your hand against the boy,’ the angel said. ‘Do not harm him, for now I know you fear God. You have not refused me your own beloved son.’
13 Then looking up, Abraham saw a ram caught by its horns in a bush. Abraham took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son.
14 Abraham called this place ‘Yahweh provides’, and hence the saying today: ‘On the mountain Yahweh provides.’
15 The angel of Yahweh called Abraham a second time from heaven.
16 ‘I swear by my own self, Yahweh declares, that because you have done this, because you have not refused me your own beloved son,
17 I will shower blessings on you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven and the grains of sand on the seashore. Your descendants will gain possession of the gates of their enemies.
18 All nations on earth will bless themselves by your descendants, because you have obeyed my command.’
19 Abraham went back to his servants, and together they set out for Beersheba, and Abraham settled in Beersheba.
20 It happened some time later that Abraham received word that Milcah, too, had now borne sons to his brother Nahor:
21 Uz his first-born, Buz his brother, Kemuel father of Aram,
22 Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, Bethuel
23 (and Bethuel was the father of Rebekah). These were the eight children Milcah gave Nahor, Abraham’s brother.
24 He had a concubine named Reumah, and she too had children: Tebah, Gaham, Tahash and Maacah.
1 The length of Sarah’s life was a hundred and twenty-seven years.
2 She died at Kiriath-Arba — now Hebron — in the land of Canaan, and Abraham proceeded to mourn and bewail her.
3 Then rising from beside his dead, Abraham spoke to the Hittites,
4 ‘I am a stranger resident here,’ he said. ‘Let me have a burial site of my own here, so that I can remove my dead for burial.’
5 The Hittites replied to Abraham,
6 ‘Please listen to us, my lord, we regard you as a prince of God; bury your dead in the best of our tombs; not one of us would refuse you his tomb for you to bury your dead.’
7 At this, Abraham rose and bowed low to the local people, the Hittites,
8 and pleaded with them as follows, ‘If you consent to my removing my dead for burial, you must agree to intercede for me with Ephron son of Zohar,
9 for him to let me have the cave he owns at Machpelah, which is on the edge of his field. Let him sell it to me in your presence at its full price, for a burial site of my own.’
10 Now Ephron was sitting among the Hittites, and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the Hittites, of all the inhabitants of his town.
11 ‘No, my lord, listen to me,’ he said. ‘I give you the field and the cave in it; I make this gift in the presence of my kinsmen. Bury your dead.’
12 Abraham bowed low to the local people
13 and, in the hearing of the local people, replied to Ephron as follows, ‘Be good enough to listen to me. I shall pay the price of the field; accept it from me and I shall bury my dead there.’
14 Ephron replied to Abraham,
15 ‘Please listen to me, my lord. What is a plot of land for four hundred shekels of silver between me and you? Bury your dead.’
16 Abraham agreed to Ephron’s terms, and Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver he had stipulated in the hearing of the Hittites, namely four hundred shekels of silver, according to the current commercial rate.
17 Thus Ephron’s field at Machpelah, facing Mamre — the field and the cave in it and all the trees anywhere within the boundaries of the field — passed
18 into Abraham’s possession in the sight of the Hittites, of all the inhabitants of his town.
19 And after this, Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave of the field of Machpelah, facing Mamre — now Hebron — in the land of Canaan.
20 And so the field and the cave in it passed from the Hittites into Abraham’s possession as a burial site of his own.
1 Zophar of Naamath spoke next. He said:
2 Is babbling to go without an answer? Is wordiness a proof of uprightness?
3 Do you think your talking strikes people dumb, will you jeer with no one to refute you?
4 These were your words, ‘My conduct is pure, in your eyes I am free of blame!’
5 Will no one let God speak, open his lips and give you answer,
6 show you the secrets of wisdom which put all cleverness to shame? Then you would realise that God is calling you to account for your sin.
7 Can you claim to fathom the depth of God, can you reach the limit of Shaddai?
8 It is higher than the heavens: what can you do? It is deeper than Sheol: what can you know?
9 It would be longer to measure than the earth and broader than the sea.
10 If he intervenes to close or convoke the assembly, who is to prevent him?
11 He knows how deceptive human beings are, and he sees their misdeeds too, and marks them well.
12 Hence empty-headed people would do well to study sense and people who behave like wild donkeys to let themselves be tamed.
13 Come, reconsider your attitude, stretch out your hands towards him!
14 If you repudiate the sin which you have doubtless committed and do not allow wickedness to live on in your tents,
15 you will be able to raise an unsullied face, unwavering and free from fear,
16 for you will forget about your misery, thinking of it only as a flood that passed long ago.
17 Then begins an existence more radiant than noon, and the very darkness will be bright as morning.
18 Confident because there is hope; after your troubles, you will sleep secure.
19 When you lie down to rest, no one will trouble you, and many will seek your favour.
20 But as for the wicked, their eyes are weary, there is no refuge for them; their only hope is to breathe their last.
1 Job spoke next. He said:
2 Doubtless, you are the voice of the people, and when you die, wisdom will die with you!
3 But I have a brain, as well as you, I am in no way inferior to you, and who, in any case, does not know all that?
4 Anyone becomes a laughing-stock to his friends if he cries to God and expects an answer. People laugh at anyone who has integrity and is upright.
5 ‘Add insult to injury,’ think the prosperous, ‘strike the fellow now that he is staggering!’
6 And yet the tents of brigands are left in peace: those who provoke God dwell secure and so does anyone who makes a god of his fist!
7 You have only to ask the cattle, for them to instruct you, and the birds of the sky, for them to inform you.
8 The creeping things of earth will give you lessons, and the fish of the sea provide you an explanation:
9 there is not one such creature but will know that the hand of God has arranged things like this!
10 In his hand is the soul of every living thing and the breath of every human being!
11 Can the ear not distinguish the value of what is said, just as the palate can tell one food from another?
12 Wisdom is found in the old, and discretion comes with great age.
13 But in him there is wisdom, and power too, and good counsel no less than discretion.
14 What he destroys, no one can rebuild; whom he imprisons, no one can release.
15 Is there a drought? He has withheld the waters. Do they play havoc on earth? He has let them loose.
16 In him is strength, in him resourcefulness, beguiler and beguiled alike are his.
17 He robs a country’s counsellors of their wits, turns judges into fools.
18 He undoes the belts of kings and knots a rope round their waists.
19 He makes priests walk barefoot, and overthrows the powers that are established.
20 He strikes the most assured of speakers dumb and robs old people of their discretion.
21 He pours contempt on the nobly born, and unbuckles the belt of the strong.
22 He unveils the depths of darkness, brings shadow dark as death to the light.
23 He builds nations up, then ruins them, he makes peoples expand, then suppresses them.
24 He strips a country’s leaders of their judgement, and leaves them to wander in a trackless waste,
25 to grope about in unlit darkness, lurching to and fro as though drunk.
Proverbs 2 [9-15]
9 Then you will understand uprightness, equity and fair dealing, the paths that lead to happiness.
10 When wisdom comes into your heart and knowledge fills your soul with delight,
11 then prudence will be there to watch over you, and understanding will be your guardian
12 to keep you from the way that is evil, from those whose speech is deceitful,
13 from those who leave the paths of honesty to walk the roads of darkness:
14 those who find their joy in doing wrong, and their delight in deceitfulness,
15 whose tracks are twisted, and the paths that they tread crooked.
Thoughts and Reflections
Abraham has faith and trusts God will not hurt Isaac even though he was prepared to sacrifice his Son. To prove this, Abraham told the two men that accompanied them to the mountain that they will both be back. They story also illustrates the relationship between father-son. This father-son relationship is not only between Abraham and Isaac but also Abraham and God.
If you were Abraham, would you have prepared to sacrifice your beloved son to God?
About This Project
For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!