Abraham feared God and obeyed His commandments; and God promised to bless Abraham very greatly. He gave him riches in cattle, and silver, and gold; and said that the land of Canaan should belong to him and his descendants. God also gave him a son in his old age, whom he loved, very dearly and named Isaac. But God intended to try Abraham, to see if he loved Him above all else.
One day God told Abraham to take his son Isaac, and to journey into the land of Moriah; there to build an altar and offer Isaac as a sacrifice upon it. It was a strange command, but Abraham knew that God would not bid him do what was wrong, and believed that even if he slew his son, God was able to raise him to life again. So he rose early in the morning, saddled his ass, took two of his young men, and wood for the fire; and then, accompanied by Isaac, started on his journey. On the third day they came near the place God had pointed out, and Abraham left the young men with the ass, while he and his son journeyed up the mountain alone. As they went along, Isaac -- who carried the wood, while his father carried the knife and the fire, said: |My father.| And Abraham replied, |Here am I, my son.| Then Isaac said: |Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?| Abraham answered: |My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering.|
The altar was built, Isaac was bound and laid upon it, and Abraham's arm was uplifted to strike the blow that was to take his son's life away. Then God called to Abraham, |Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him; for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing that thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from Me.| Abraham looked up, and behind him saw a ram which was caught in a thicket by its horns; this he took and offered as a sacrifice to God.
So God tried Abraham; and also Himself provided the lamb for the burnt offering, as Abraham had said.
[Illustration: ABRAHAM AND ISAAC.]