Monday, March 25, 2024

"Love and the Akedah"

 A-Poem-a-Day Until Resurrection Day

Image credit:


The Binding of Isaac – Genesis 22


Take your son

your only son

whom you love…


Twenty-two chapters into Scripture

and it’s the first time love is mentioned

as God tells Abraham


Sacrifice Isaac

as a burnt offering


What swirls

through the mind

of this old patriarch

(who after a hundred years

fathers the son

of God's promise…

the son he loves

and proudly watches grow)

What swirls as he swings

the sharp axe, splitting wood


It was three days journey

from Beersheba to Moriah—

Leaving his servants behind

Abraham hands Isaac

the bundled wood

and carries fire and knife

up the mount himself


Avi, (my father)

where is the lamb?


God will provide the lamb

my son


Abraham erects an altar of stone

arranges the wood and binds the lad

(whose faith and obedience

must be at least as great as his own)


Unflinching before the God

he has finally come to trust

the aged patriarch

(known to lie

to save his own skin

known to try to pull off

God's covenant himself

when it seemed God was slow

in keeping His promise)

this same patriarch…

raises the glinting blade

above his son, his only son

whom he loves…


Split-second to knife-fall

the angel of the Lord calls out


Abraham! Abraham!

Do not lay a hand on the boy…


The old man

who has proven he would

withhold nothing from his God—

drops the bloodless blade

unbinds and embraces Isaac


and there, tangled

in a thicket, struggles

the substitute sacrifice

…a ram


Two millennia later

God's Son

His only Son

Whom He loves

carries wood

of a crossbeam

up the very same mountain


No angel of the Lord

arrives last moment

to halt the hammerfall

No ram appears in a thicket


For God so loves the world

He provides…


His Son

His only Son…


The Sacrificial Lamb


Maude Carolan

[1] Akedah is the Hebrew word for binding.

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