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THE BINDING OF ISAAC: AN INNER-BIBLICAL POLEMIC ON THE QUESTION OF "DISOBEYING" A MANIFESTLY ILLEGAL ORDER

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It is traditionally accepted among scholars that the "original" episode of the Akedah is narrated in Gen. xxii 1-13, 19. Verses 14-18, the "second angelic speech", offering Abraham a blessing for his obedience, are usually considered, on stylistic, structural and critical grounds, a secondary interpolation. Recent studies, however, have argued that Abraham's extraordinary obedience actually necessitates the extra blessings which he receives in the second angelic speech. It, therefore, could not have been simply inserted into the original account. This has suggested to many scholars that the author responsible for vv. 15-18 has left his mark also on vv. 1-13, 19.

In re-examining the style, composition and content of this story, I will suggest that the mark may be found in the first angelic speech, stopping Abraham at the crucial moment (vv. 11-12). Without the angelic intervention an episode would emerge in which Abraham disobeyed the divine command, sacrificing the ram "instead of his son", on his own responsibility.

Affiliations: 1: Gilon Misgav, Israel

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