Saturday, July 1, 2017

Genesis 22

Greg Jenks has posted on this bit of the lectionary this week, so I decided to see if I had any wits for it. I studied this text in 2003 at a conference in Cambridge mediated by Jacob and Jo Milgrom on the Hebrew roots of Christian sacrifice. I have sung the story with my wife acting as Isaac with the text as set by Benjamin Britten in his third canticle. There are no quick answers here. Fear of one's father is not a healthy option for interpretation.

This God tempts Abraham. I have an odd habit of rendering האלהים occasionally as this God to draw attention to the unnecessary definite article. This form occurs in about 1 in 8 occurrences of this stem. Isaac is spelled differently here from the Psalms. Like the lads he is almost insignificant in this severe encounter. Note that this is the third time that the text has and Abraham rose up early in the morning. Such recurrence (19:27, 21:14) ties this passage to the prior chapters. Abraham is God's choice. He lives in a brutal and inhospitable world.

The word עקד traditionally bound, gives the story its name, Akedah, in Jewish tradition. It is a hapax. So I need to find a unique English word for it. There are not many synonyms for bind in English.

Repetitions to note: the unique one, lifting up the eyes, the lamb and the ram are not repeated, the use of the verb to see. Butcher is my usual gloss for this sacrificial word, frequent in Leviticus. Hearing with God's voice is also an odd construction in the Hebrew that I have reproduced frequently. Obey is another root (יקה) rarely used.

Genesis 22 Fn Min Max Syll
וַיְהִ֗י אַחַר֙ הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֔לֶּה וְהָ֣אֱלֹהִ֔ים נִסָּ֖ה אֶת־אַבְרָהָ֑ם
וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֵלָ֔יו אַבְרָהָ֖ם וַיֹּ֥אמֶר הִנֵּֽנִי
1 And it was following these things that this God tempted Abraham,
and said to him, Abraham. And he said, Here am I.
3e 4B 21
14
וַיֹּ֡אמֶר קַח־נָ֠א אֶת־בִּנְךָ֨ אֶת־יְחִֽידְךָ֤ אֲשֶׁר־אָהַ֙בְתָּ֙ אֶת־יִצְחָ֔ק וְלֶךְ־לְךָ֔ אֶל־אֶ֖רֶץ הַמֹּרִיָּ֑ה
וְהַעֲלֵ֤הוּ שָׁם֙ לְעֹלָ֔ה עַ֚ל אַחַ֣ד הֶֽהָרִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֖ר אֹמַ֥ר אֵלֶֽיךָ
2 And he said, Take please your child, your unique one that you love, Yitschaq, and go you to the land of Moriah,
and bring him up there for a burnt offering on one of the hills that I will indicate to you.
3e 4C 31
22
וַיַּשְׁכֵּ֨ם אַבְרָהָ֜ם בַּבֹּ֗קֶר וַֽיַּחֲבֹשׁ֙ אֶת־חֲמֹר֔וֹ וַיִּקַּ֞ח אֶת־שְׁנֵ֤י נְעָרָיו֙ אִתּ֔וֹ וְאֵ֖ת יִצְחָ֣ק בְּנ֑וֹ
וַיְבַקַּע֙ עֲצֵ֣י עֹלָ֔ה וַיָּ֣קָם וַיֵּ֔לֶךְ אֶל־הַמָּק֖וֹם אֲשֶׁר־אָֽמַר־ל֥וֹ הָאֱלֹהִֽים
3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and he saddled his ass, and he took two of his lads with him, and Yitschaq his child,
and he split the wood for a burnt offering, and he arose and he went to the place that the God had indicated to him.
3e 4C 34
26
בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֗י וַיִּשָּׂ֨א אַבְרָהָ֧ם אֶת־עֵינָ֛יו וַיַּ֥רְא אֶת־הַמָּק֖וֹם מֵרָחֹֽק 4 On the third day, when Abraham lifted up his eyes,
and he saw the place in the distance,
3c 4B 23
וַיֹּ֨אמֶר אַבְרָהָ֜ם אֶל־נְעָרָ֗יו שְׁבוּ־לָכֶ֥ם פֹּה֙ עִֽם־הַחֲמ֔וֹר וַאֲנִ֣י וְהַנַּ֔עַר נֵלְכָ֖ה עַד־כֹּ֑ה
וְנִֽשְׁתַּחֲוֶ֖ה וְנָשׁ֥וּבָה אֲלֵיכֶֽם
5 Then Abraham said to his lads, Sit yourselves here with the ass, and I and the lad will go further thus.
And we will worship, and we will return to you.
3e 4B 29
12
וַיִּקַּ֨ח אַבְרָהָ֜ם אֶת־עֲצֵ֣י הָעֹלָ֗ה וַיָּ֙שֶׂם֙ עַל־יִצְחָ֣ק בְּנ֔וֹ וַיִּקַּ֣ח בְּיָד֔וֹ אֶת־הָאֵ֖שׁ וְאֶת־הַֽמַּאֲכֶ֑לֶת
וַיֵּלְכ֥וּ שְׁנֵיהֶ֖ם יַחְדָּֽו
6 And Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering that he put on Yitschaq his child, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife,
and they went, the two of them as one.
3e 4B 36
8
וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יִצְחָ֜ק אֶל־אַבְרָהָ֤ם אָבִיו֙ וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אָבִ֔י וַיֹּ֖אמֶר הִנֶּ֣נִּֽי בְנִ֑י
וַיֹּ֗אמֶר הִנֵּ֤ה הָאֵשׁ֙ וְהָ֣עֵצִ֔ים וְאַיֵּ֥ה הַשֶּׂ֖ה לְעֹלָֽה
7 And Yitschaq said to Abraham his father, saying, My father. And he said, Here am I, my child.
And he said, Behold the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?
3e 4C 24
19
וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ אַבְרָהָ֔ם אֱלֹהִ֞ים יִרְאֶה־לּ֥וֹ הַשֶּׂ֛ה לְעֹלָ֖ה בְּנִ֑י
וַיֵּלְכ֥וּ שְׁנֵיהֶ֖ם יַחְדָּֽו
8 And Abraham said, God sees him, the lamb for the burnt offering, my child.
And they went, the two of them as one.
3d 4A 19
8
וַיָּבֹ֗אוּ אֶֽל־הַמָּקוֹם֮ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אָֽמַר־ל֣וֹ הָאֱלֹהִים֒ וַיִּ֨בֶן שָׁ֤ם אַבְרָהָם֙ אֶת־הַמִּזְבֵּ֔חַ וַֽיַּעֲרֹ֖ךְ אֶת־הָעֵצִ֑ים
וַֽיַּעֲקֹד֙ אֶת־יִצְחָ֣ק בְּנ֔וֹ וַיָּ֤שֶׂם אֹתוֹ֙ עַל־הַמִּזְבֵּ֔חַ מִמַּ֖עַל לָעֵצִֽים
9 And they came to the place that this God had indicated to him, and there Abraham built the altar, and he arranged the wood,
and he trussed Yitschaq, his child, and he put him on the altar above the wood.
3e 4C 36
25
וַיִּשְׁלַ֤ח אַבְרָהָם֙ אֶת־יָד֔וֹ וַיִּקַּ֖ח אֶת־הַֽמַּאֲכֶ֑לֶת
לִשְׁחֹ֖ט אֶת־בְּנֽוֹ
10 And Abraham reached out his hand and he took the knife,
to butcher his child.
3e 4C 18
5
וַיִּקְרָ֨א אֵלָ֜יו מַלְאַ֤ךְ יְהוָה֙ מִן־הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וַיֹּ֖אמֶר אַבְרָהָ֣ם ׀ אַבְרָהָ֑ם
וַיֹּ֖אמֶר הִנֵּֽנִי
11 And the messenger of Yahweh called to him from the heavens, and said, Abraham, Abraham.
And he said, Here am I.
3e 4C 22
6
וַיֹּ֗אמֶר אַל־תִּשְׁלַ֤ח יָֽדְךָ֙ אֶל־הַנַּ֔עַר וְאַל־תַּ֥עַשׂ ל֖וֹ מְא֑וּמָּה
כִּ֣י ׀ עַתָּ֣ה יָדַ֗עְתִּי כִּֽי־יְרֵ֤א אֱלֹהִים֙ אַ֔תָּה וְלֹ֥א חָשַׂ֛כְתָּ אֶת־בִּנְךָ֥ אֶת־יְחִידְךָ֖ מִמֶּֽנִּי
12 And he said, Do not reach out your hand to the lad and do not do to him anything whatever,
because now I know that you fear God and you did not keep back your child, your unique one, from me.
3d 4C 20
29
וַיִּשָּׂ֨א אַבְרָהָ֜ם אֶת־עֵינָ֗יו וַיַּרְא֙ וְהִנֵּה־אַ֔יִל אַחַ֕ר נֶאֱחַ֥ז בַּסְּבַ֖ךְ בְּקַרְנָ֑יו
וַיֵּ֤לֶךְ אַבְרָהָם֙ וַיִּקַּ֣ח אֶת־הָאַ֔יִל וַיַּעֲלֵ֥הוּ לְעֹלָ֖ה תַּ֥חַת בְּנֽוֹ
13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and he saw, and behold a ram following, held fast in a thicket by its horns,
and Abraham went and he took the ram, and brought him up for a burnt offering instead of his child.
3e 4C 26
25
וַיִּקְרָ֧א אַבְרָהָ֛ם שֵֽׁם־הַמָּק֥וֹם הַה֖וּא יְהוָ֣ה ׀ יִרְאֶ֑ה
אֲשֶׁר֙ יֵאָמֵ֣ר הַיּ֔וֹם בְּהַ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה יֵרָאֶֽה
14 And Abraham called the name of that place, Yahweh Sees.
As is said today, On the hill of Yahweh, it will be seen.
3c 4B 16
14
וַיִּקְרָ֛א מַלְאַ֥ךְ יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־אַבְרָהָ֑ם
שֵׁנִ֖ית מִן־הַשָּׁמָֽיִם
15 And the messenger of Yahweh called to Abraham,
a second time from the heavens,
3d 4A 11
7
וַיֹּ֕אמֶר בִּ֥י נִשְׁבַּ֖עְתִּי נְאֻם־יְהוָ֑ה
כִּ֗י יַ֚עַן אֲשֶׁ֤ר עָשִׂ֙יתָ֙ אֶת־הַדָּבָ֣ר הַזֶּ֔ה וְלֹ֥א חָשַׂ֖כְתָּ אֶת־בִּנְךָ֥ אֶת־יְחִידֶֽךָ
16 And said, By myself I have sworn, an oracle of Yahweh.
For because that you have done this thing, and you have not kept back your child, your unique one,
3e 4C 11
27
כִּֽי־בָרֵ֣ךְ אֲבָרֶכְךָ֗ וְהַרְבָּ֨ה אַרְבֶּ֤ה אֶֽת־זַרְעֲךָ֙ כְּכוֹכְבֵ֣י הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וְכַח֕וֹל אֲשֶׁ֖ר עַל־שְׂפַ֣ת הַיָּ֑ם
וְיִרַ֣שׁ זַרְעֲךָ֔ אֵ֖ת שַׁ֥עַר אֹיְבָֽיו
17 That blessing, I will bless you, and increasing, I will increase your seed, as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand that is by the bank of the sea,
and your seed will possess the gate of its enemies.
3e 4C 31
11
וְהִתְבָּרֲכ֣וּ בְזַרְעֲךָ֔ כֹּ֖ל גּוֹיֵ֣י הָאָ֑רֶץ
עֵ֕קֶב אֲשֶׁ֥ר שָׁמַ֖עְתָּ בְּקֹלִֽי
18 And in your seed all the nations of the earth will be blessed,
inasmuch as you heard with my voice.
3e 4B 15
10
וַיָּ֤שָׁב אַבְרָהָם֙ אֶל־נְעָרָ֔יו וַיָּקֻ֛מוּ וַיֵּלְכ֥וּ יַחְדָּ֖ו אֶל־בְּאֵ֣ר שָׁ֑בַע
וַיֵּ֥שֶׁב אַבְרָהָ֖ם בִּבְאֵ֥ר שָֽׁבַע
19 And Abraham returned to his lads, and they arose and they went as one by Beersheva,
and Abraham settled in Beersheva.
3d 4C 24
10
וַיְהִ֗י אַחֲרֵי֙ הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֔לֶּה וַיֻּגַּ֥ד לְאַבְרָהָ֖ם לֵאמֹ֑ר
הִ֠נֵּה יָלְדָ֨ה מִלְכָּ֥ה גַם־הִ֛וא בָּנִ֖ים לְנָח֥וֹר אָחִֽיךָ
20 And it was after these things, that it was announced to Abraham, saying,
Behold Milcah has given birth, even she, children for Nahor, your brother,
3d 4B 20
16
אֶת־ע֥וּץ בְּכֹר֖וֹ וְאֶת־בּ֣וּז אָחִ֑יו
וְאֶת־קְמוּאֵ֖ל אֲבִ֥י אֲרָֽם
21 Uz his firstborn, and Buz his brother,
and Qemuel, the father of Aram.
3e 4B 10
9
וְאֶת־כֶּ֣שֶׂד וְאֶת־חֲז֔וֹ וְאֶת־פִּלְדָּ֖שׁ וְאֶת־יִדְלָ֑ף
וְאֵ֖ת בְּתוּאֵֽל
22 And Kesed, and Chazo, and Pildash, and Yidlap,
and Bethuel.
3e 4B 16
5
וּבְתוּאֵ֖ל יָלַ֣ד אֶת־רִבְקָ֑ה
שְׁמֹנָ֥ה אֵ֙לֶּה֙ יָלְדָ֣ה מִלְכָּ֔ה לְנָח֖וֹר אֲחִ֥י אַבְרָהָֽם
23 And Bethuel had Rebekah.
These eight Milcah gave birth to for Nahor, brother of Abraham.
3e 4B 8
17
וּפִֽילַגְשׁ֖וֹ וּשְׁמָ֣הּ רְאוּמָ֑ה
וַתֵּ֤לֶד גַּם־הִוא֙ אֶת־טֶ֣בַח וְאֶת־גַּ֔חַם וְאֶת־תַּ֖חַשׁ וְאֶֽת־מַעֲכָֽה
24 And his courtesan, (and her name was Reumah)
and she gave birth, even she, to Teba and Gacham and Tachash and Makah.
3e 4C 9
21