Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

The Messenger

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

The Messenger

Article excerpt

"The movements of faith must constantly be made by virtue of the absurd. . . ."-Kierkegaard

Neither cherubim nor seraphim Could bear the order. God Himself Spoke those dire words to Abraham, To take his only son into Moriah, Three days from home. All that way On foot and assback, he had to brood Over the strange commands of Elohim. So they traveled, father and son (the wood To roast the lambkin stretched a saddlebag), And two grown men for comfort or defense. He was much too old, the boy too young For such a journey, far from Beer-sheba; The rocks hid brutal thieves and murderers Moved by voices mortal and profane.

All this I saw as I hovered near the earth. God told him to stab the child to death, Then burn him on the altar, such and such A mountain, He said, and His word was law. Spying the crest God promised, he would not Let his young friends travel the last mile With him, but said: "Wait here with the ass While I take the lad to worship yonder." Loading the firewood upon his son, He took torch in one hand, knife in the other; And as they went the child thought it a game They played. What a joy to be with father, Alone at last! Though now his father seemed A little lost and troubled. "I see the fire," The boy said. "Here is wood for sacrifice. This must be the place. Where is the lamb?" "God will provide," he replied. So He would. …

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