Homilies on Genesis and Exodus

By Ronald E. Heine; Origen | Go to book overview

HOMILY VIII
On the fact that Abraham offered his son Isaac

GIVE ME YOUR ATTENTION, you who have approached God, who believe yourselves to be faithful. Consider diligently how the faith of the faithful is proved from these words which have been read to us. "And it came to pass," the text says, "after these words, God tested Abraham and said to him: ' Abraham, Abraham.' And he said: 'Here I am.'"1 Observe each detail which has been written. For, if one knows how to dig into the depth, he will find a treasure in the details, and perhaps also, the precious jewels of the mysteries lie hidden where they are not esteemed.

This man was previously called Abram. Nowhere do we read that God called him by this name or said to him: " Abram, Abram." For God could not call him by a name that was to be abolished, but he calls him by this name which he himself gave, and not only does he call him by this name, but he also repeats it. And when he had responded: "Here I am," he says to him: "Take your dearest son Isaac, whom you love, and offer him to me. Go," the text says, "into the high land and there you shall offer him for an holocaust on one of the mountains which I shall show you."2

Why God gave him this particular name and called him Abraham, he himself has interpreted: "Because," the text says, "I have made you a father of many nations."3 God gave him this promise when he had his son Ismael, but it is promised him that that promise will be fulfilled in a son who will be born of Sara. He had kindled his soul, therefore, in love for his son not only because of posterity, but also in the hope of the promises.

____________________
1
Gn 22. 1.
2
Gn 22.2.
3
Gn 17.5.

-136-

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