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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database

Philo Of Alexandria, Allegorical Interpretation, 3.177

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1. Hebrew Bible, Genesis, 22.1-22.19 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

22.1. וַיְהִי אַחַר הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וְהָאֱלֹהִים נִסָּה אֶת־אַבְרָהָם וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אַבְרָהָם וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּנִי׃ 22.1. וַיִּשְׁלַח אַבְרָהָם אֶת־יָדוֹ וַיִּקַּח אֶת־הַמַּאֲכֶלֶת לִשְׁחֹט אֶת־בְּנוֹ׃ 22.2. וַיֹּאמֶר קַח־נָא אֶת־בִּנְךָ אֶת־יְחִידְךָ אֲשֶׁר־אָהַבְתָּ אֶת־יִצְחָק וְלֶךְ־לְךָ אֶל־אֶרֶץ הַמֹּרִיָּה וְהַעֲלֵהוּ שָׁם לְעֹלָה עַל אַחַד הֶהָרִים אֲשֶׁר אֹמַר אֵלֶיךָ׃ 22.2. וַיְהִי אַחֲרֵי הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וַיֻּגַּד לְאַבְרָהָם לֵאמֹר הִנֵּה יָלְדָה מִלְכָּה גַם־הִוא בָּנִים לְנָחוֹר אָחִיךָ׃ 22.3. וַיַּשְׁכֵּם אַבְרָהָם בַּבֹּקֶר וַיַּחֲבֹשׁ אֶת־חֲמֹרוֹ וַיִּקַּח אֶת־שְׁנֵי נְעָרָיו אִתּוֹ וְאֵת יִצְחָק בְּנוֹ וַיְבַקַּע עֲצֵי עֹלָה וַיָּקָם וַיֵּלֶךְ אֶל־הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר־אָמַר־לוֹ הָאֱלֹהִים׃ 22.4. בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי וַיִּשָּׂא אַבְרָהָם אֶת־עֵינָיו וַיַּרְא אֶת־הַמָּקוֹם מֵרָחֹק׃ 22.5. וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָהָם אֶל־נְעָרָיו שְׁבוּ־לָכֶם פֹּה עִם־הַחֲמוֹר וַאֲנִי וְהַנַּעַר נֵלְכָה עַד־כֹּה וְנִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה וְנָשׁוּבָה אֲלֵיכֶם׃ 22.6. וַיִּקַּח אַבְרָהָם אֶת־עֲצֵי הָעֹלָה וַיָּשֶׂם עַל־יִצְחָק בְּנוֹ וַיִּקַּח בְּיָדוֹ אֶת־הָאֵשׁ וְאֶת־הַמַּאֲכֶלֶת וַיֵּלְכוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם יַחְדָּו׃ 22.7. וַיֹּאמֶר יִצְחָק אֶל־אַבְרָהָם אָבִיו וַיֹּאמֶר אָבִי וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֶּנִּי בְנִי וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה הָאֵשׁ וְהָעֵצִים וְאַיֵּה הַשֶּׂה לְעֹלָה׃ 22.8. וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָהָם אֱלֹהִים יִרְאֶה־לּוֹ הַשֶּׂה לְעֹלָה בְּנִי וַיֵּלְכוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם יַחְדָּו׃ 22.9. וַיָּבֹאוּ אֶל־הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר אָמַר־לוֹ הָאֱלֹהִים וַיִּבֶן שָׁם אַבְרָהָם אֶת־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וַיַּעֲרֹךְ אֶת־הָעֵצִים וַיַּעֲקֹד אֶת־יִצְחָק בְּנוֹ וַיָּשֶׂם אֹתוֹ עַל־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ מִמַּעַל לָעֵצִים׃ 22.11. וַיִּקְרָא אֵלָיו מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה מִן־הַשָּׁמַיִם וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָהָם אַבְרָהָם וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּנִי׃ 22.12. וַיֹּאמֶר אַל־תִּשְׁלַח יָדְךָ אֶל־הַנַּעַר וְאַל־תַּעַשׂ לוֹ מְאוּמָּה כִּי עַתָּה יָדַעְתִּי כִּי־יְרֵא אֱלֹהִים אַתָּה וְלֹא חָשַׂכְתָּ אֶת־בִּנְךָ אֶת־יְחִידְךָ מִמֶּנִּי׃ 22.13. וַיִּשָּׂא אַבְרָהָם אֶת־עֵינָיו וַיַּרְא וְהִנֵּה־אַיִל אַחַר נֶאֱחַז בַּסְּבַךְ בְּקַרְנָיו וַיֵּלֶךְ אַבְרָהָם וַיִּקַּח אֶת־הָאַיִל וַיַּעֲלֵהוּ לְעֹלָה תַּחַת בְּנוֹ׃ 22.14. וַיִּקְרָא אַבְרָהָם שֵׁם־הַמָּקוֹם הַהוּא יְהוָה יִרְאֶה אֲשֶׁר יֵאָמֵר הַיּוֹם בְּהַר יְהוָה יֵרָאֶה׃ 22.15. וַיִּקְרָא מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה אֶל־אַבְרָהָם שֵׁנִית מִן־הַשָּׁמָיִם׃ 22.16. וַיֹּאמֶר בִּי נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי נְאֻם־יְהוָה כִּי יַעַן אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתָ אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה וְלֹא חָשַׂכְתָּ אֶת־בִּנְךָ אֶת־יְחִידֶךָ׃ 22.17. כִּי־בָרֵךְ אֲבָרֶכְךָ וְהַרְבָּה אַרְבֶּה אֶת־זַרְעֲךָ כְּכוֹכְבֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם וְכַחוֹל אֲשֶׁר עַל־שְׂפַת הַיָּם וְיִרַשׁ זַרְעֲךָ אֵת שַׁעַר אֹיְבָיו׃ 22.18. וְהִתְבָּרֲכוּ בְזַרְעֲךָ כֹּל גּוֹיֵי הָאָרֶץ עֵקֶב אֲשֶׁר שָׁמַעְתָּ בְּקֹלִי׃ 22.19. וַיָּשָׁב אַבְרָהָם אֶל־נְעָרָיו וַיָּקֻמוּ וַיֵּלְכוּ יַחְדָּו אֶל־בְּאֵר שָׁבַע וַיֵּשֶׁב אַבְרָהָם בִּבְאֵר שָׁבַע׃ 22.1. And it came to pass after these things, that God did prove Abraham, and said unto him: ‘Abraham’; and he said: ‘Here am I.’" 22.2. And He said: ‘Take now thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest, even Isaac, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.’" 22.3. And Abraham rose early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he cleaved the wood for the burnt-offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him." 22.4. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off." 22.5. And Abraham said unto his young men: ‘Abide ye here with the ass, and I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship, and come back to you.’" 22.6. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt-offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took in his hand the fire and the knife; and they went both of them together." 22.7. And Isaac spoke unto Abraham his father, and said: ‘My father.’ And he said: ‘Here am I, my son.’ And he said: ‘Behold the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?’" 22.8. And Abraham said: ‘God will aprovide Himself the lamb for a burnt-offering, my son.’ So they went both of them together." 22.9. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built the altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, upon the wood." 22.10. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son." 22.11. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said: ‘Abraham, Abraham.’ And he said: ‘Here am I.’" 22.12. And he said: ‘Lay not thy hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him; for now I know that thou art a God-fearing man, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from Me.’" 22.13. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt-offering in the stead of his son." 22.14. And Abraham called the name of that place Adonai-jireh; as it is said to this day: ‘In the mount where the LORD is seen.’" 22.15. And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham a second time out of heaven," 22.16. and said: ‘By Myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son," 22.17. that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;" 22.18. and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast hearkened to My voice.’" 22.19. So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beer- sheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beer-sheba."
2. Philo of Alexandria, On The Life of Abraham, 176 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

176. And even while saying this, he seizes his son with all rapidity, and places him on the altar, and having taken his knife in his right hand, he raised it over him as if to slay him; but God the Saviour stopped the deed in the middle, interrupting him by a voice from heaven, by which he ordered him to stay his hand, and not to touch the child: calling the father by name twice, so as to turn him and divert him from his purpose, and forbid him to complete the sacrifice. XXXIII.
3. Philo of Alexandria, On The Confusion of Tongues, 180 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

180. And this may be enough to say in this manner; and it is right that this point also should be considered, namely that God is the cause only of what is good but is absolutely the cause of no evil whatever, since he himself is the most ancient of all existing things, and the most perfect of all goods; and it is most natural and becoming that he should do what is most akin to his own nature, that is to say, that the best of all beings should be the cause of all the best things, but that the punishments appointed for the wicked are inflicted by the means of his subordinate ministers.
4. Philo of Alexandria, On Flight And Finding, 47, 66, 45 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

45. for the means of life being given to a bad man, inflate and raise up to great height the mind which is devoid of wisdom, which is called the Syrian; but if they are bestowed on a lover of instruction, then they make the mind inclined to abide by the steady and solid doctrines of virtue and excellence. This is the brother of Rebekkah, that is to say, of perseverance, and he dwells in Charran, which name, being interpreted, means "holes," a symbol of the external senses; for he who is still moving about in mortal life has need of the organs of the external senses.
5. Philo of Alexandria, On The Creation of The World, 46 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

46. Let them run over in their minds the first creation of the universe, when, before the sun or the moon existed, the earth brought forth all kinds of plants and all kinds of fruits: and seeing this in their minds let them hope that it will again also bring forth such, according to the appointment of the Father, when it shall seem good to him, without his having need of the aid of any of the sons of men beneath the heavens, to whom he has given powers, though not absolute ones." For as a charioteer holding the reigns or a helmsman with his hand upon the rudder, he guides everything as he pleases, in accordance with law and justice, needing no one else as his assistant; for all things are possible to God. XV.
6. Philo of Alexandria, On Dreams, 1.87 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.87. And in the fourth signification, what is meant by the sun is the God and ruler of the universe himself, as I have said already, by means of whom such offences as are irremediable, and which appear to be overshadowed and concealed, are revealed; for as all things are possible, so, likewise, all things are known to God.
7. Philo of Alexandria, On The Virtues, 26 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

26. And cowardice is a disease, and a worse one, too, than any of those which affect the body, inasmuch as it destroys the faculties of the soul; for diseases of the body, indeed, are at their height but for a short period, but cowardice is an evil which grows with the man in a greater degree, or, at all events, not less than the parts of the body which are united to it, cleaving to the soul from its earliest infancy to the very extremity of old age, unless God himself interpose to cure it; for all things are possible to God.
8. Philo of Alexandria, That God Is Unchangeable, 4 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

4. For the appropriate progeny of God are the perfect virtues, but that offspring which is akin to the wicked, is unregulated wickedness. But learn thou, if thou wilt, O my mind, not to bear children to thyself, after the example of that perfect man Abraham, who offered up to God "The beloved and only legitimate offspring of his soul,"2 the most conspicuous image of self-taught wisdom, by name Isaac; and who gave him up with all cheerfulness to be a necessary and fitting offering to God. "Having bound,"3 as the scripture says, this new kind of victim, either because he, having once tasted of the divine inspiration, did not condescend any longer to tread on any mortal truth, or because he saw that the creature was unstable and moveable, while he recognised the unhesitating firmness existing in the living God, on whom he is said to have believed.4 II.
9. Josephus Flavius, Jewish Antiquities, 1.227, 1.232-1.233 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

1.227. Now they had brought with them every thing necessary for a sacrifice, excepting the animal that was to be offered only. Now Isaac was twenty-five years old. And as he was building the altar, he asked his father what he was about to offer, since there was no animal there for an oblation:—to which it was answered, “That God would provide himself an oblation, he being able to make a plentiful provision for men out of what they have not, and to deprive others of what they already have, when they put too much trust therein; that therefore, if God pleased to be present and propitious at this sacrifice, he would provide himself an oblation.” 1.232. 4. Now Isaac was of such a generous disposition as became the son of such a father, and was pleased with this discourse; and said, “That he was not worthy to be born at first, if he should reject the determination of God and of his father, and should not resign himself up readily to both their pleasures; since it would have been unjust if he had not obeyed, even if his father alone had so resolved.” So he went immediately to the altar to be sacrificed. 1.233. And the deed had been done if God had not opposed it; for he called loudly to Abraham by his name, and forbade him to slay his son; and said, “It was not out of a desire of human blood that he was commanded to slay his son, nor was he willing that he should be taken away from him whom he had made his father, but to try the temper of his mind, whether he would be obedient to such a command.
10. Ps.-Philo, Biblical Antiquities, 32.4 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

11. Anon., Genesis Rabba, 56.8 (2nd cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

56.8. דָּבָר אַחֵר, אָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁבִּקֵּשׁ אַבְרָהָם לַעֲקֹד יִצְחָק בְּנוֹ, אָמַר לוֹ אַבָּא בָּחוּר אֲנִי וְחוֹשֵׁשַׁנִי שֶׁמָּא יִזְדַּעֲזַע גּוּפִי מִפַּחֲדָהּ שֶׁל סַכִּין וַאֲצַעֲרֶךָ, וְשֶׁמָּא תִּפָּסֵל הַשְּׁחִיטָה וְלֹא תַעֲלֶה לְךָ לְקָרְבָּן, אֶלָּא כָּפְתֵנִי יָפֶה יָפֶה, מִיָּד וַיַּעֲקֹד אֶת יִצְחָק, כְּלוּם יָכוֹל אָדָם לִכְפּוֹת בֶּן שְׁלשִׁים וָשֶׁבַע [נסח אחר: בן עשרים ושש שנה] אֶלָּא לְדַעְתּוֹ. מִיָּד וַיִּשְׁלַח אַבְרָהָם אֶת יָדוֹ, הוּא שׁוֹלֵחַ יָד לִטֹּל אֶת הַסַּכִּין וְעֵינָיו מוֹרִידוֹת דְמָעוֹת וְנוֹפְלוֹת דְּמָעוֹת לְעֵינָיו שֶׁל יִצְחָק מֵרַחֲמָנוּתוֹ שֶׁל אַבָּא, וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן הַלֵּב שָׂמֵחַ לַעֲשׂוֹת רְצוֹן יוֹצְרוֹ, וְהָיוּ הַמַּלְאָכִים מִתְקַבְּצִין כִּתּוֹת כִּתּוֹת מִלְּמַעְלָן, מָה הֲווֹן צָוְחִין (ישעיה לג, ח): נָשַׁמּוּ מְסִלּוֹת שָׁבַת עֹבֵר אֹרַח הֵפֵר בְּרִית מָאַס עָרִים, אֵין רְצוֹנוֹ בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם וּבְבֵית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ שֶׁהָיָה בְּדַעְתּוֹ לְהוֹרִישׁ לְבָנָיו שֶׁל יִצְחָק. (ישעיה לג, ח): לֹא חָשַׁב אֱנוֹשׁ, לֹא עָמְדָה זְכוּת לְאַבְרָהָם לֵית לְכָל בְּרִיָה חֲשִׁיבוּת קֳדָמוֹי. אָמַר רַבִּי אַחָא הִתְחִיל אַבְרָהָם תָּמֵהַּ, אֵין הַדְּבָרִים הַלָּלוּ אֶלָּא דְבָרִים שֶׁל תֵּמַהּ, אֶתְמוֹל אָמַרְתָּ (בראשית כא, יב): כִּי בְיִצְחָק יִקָּרֵא לְךָ זָרַע, חָזַרְתָּ וְאָמַרְתָּ (בראשית כב, ב): קַח נָא אֶת בִּנְךָ, וְעַכְשָׁיו אַתְּ אָמַר לִי (בראשית כב, יב): אַל תִּשְׁלַח יָדְךָ אֶל הַנַּעַר, אֶתְמְהָא. אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אַבְרָהָם (תהלים פט, לה): לֹא אֲחַלֵּל בְּרִיתִי וּמוֹצָא שְׂפָתַי לֹא אֲשַׁנֶּה. כְּשֶׁאָמַרְתִּי לְךָ קַח נָא אֶת בִּנְךָ, לֹא אָמַרְתִּי שְׁחָטֵהוּ, אֶלָּא וְהַעֲלֵהוּ, לְשֵׁם חִבָּה אָמַרְתִּי לָךְ, אֲסִקְתֵּיהּ וְקִיַּמְתָּ דְּבָרַי, וְעַתָּה אַחֲתִינֵיהּ. br br [נסח אחר: משלו משל למלך שאמר לאוהבו העלה את בנך על שלחני, הביאו אותו אוהבו וסכינו בידו, אמר המלך וכי העלהו לאכלו אמרתי לך, העלהו אמרתי לך מפני חבתו. הדא הוא דכתיב (ירמיה יט, ה): ולא עלתה על לבי, זה יצחק. ] 56.8. Another explanation: Rabbi Itzchak said, \"At the time that Avraham sought to bind Itzchak, his son, [the latter] said to him, 'Father, I am a young man and I am concerned lest my body shake from fear of the knife and I will trouble you, and lest the slaughtering will be invalid and it will not be considered a sacrifice for you. Rather, tie me very well.' Immediately, ‘and he bound Itzchak.' Could he really tie up a man of thirty-seven (a different version: of twenty six years)? Rather, it was with his agreement. Immediately. 'And Avraham sent his hand.' He sends his hand to take the knife and his eyes brings down tears and the tears fall onto the eyes of Itzchak from the mercy of his father. And nonetheless, the heart was happy to do the will of his Maker. And the angels gathered in many groups above them. What did they yell out? 'The ways have become desolate, the wayfarer has ceased; He has rescinded His covet; He has become disgusted with the cities' (Isaiah 33:7) – He does not desire Jerusalem and the Temple that he had in mind to bequeath to the children of Itzchak. 'He did not consider a man' – merit did not stand Avraham well: 'No creation has importance in front of Me.'\" Rabbi Acha said, \"Avraham started to wonder, 'These words are only words of wonder. Yesterday, you told me (Genesis 21:12), \"Because in Itzchak will your seed be called.\" And [then] you went back and said, \"Please take your son.\" And now You say to me, \"Do not send your hand to the youth.\" It is a wonder!' The Holy One, blessed be He, said, 'Avraham, \"I will not profane My covet and the utterances of My lips, I will not change\" (Psalms 89:35) – When I said, \"Please take your son,\" I did not say, \"slaughter him,\" but rather, \"and bring him up.\" For the sake of love did I say [it] to you: I said to you, \"Bring him up,\" and you have fulfilled My words. And now, bring him down.’ [A different version: They said a parable about a king that said to his friend, 'Bring up your son to my table.' His friend brought him up and his knife was in his hand. The king said, 'And did I say to you, \"Bring him up to eat him?\" I said to you, \"Bring him up\"' – [and this was] because of [the king's] love.) This is [the meaning of] what is written (Jeremiah 19:5), 'it did not come up on My heart' – that is Itzchak.\"]"
12. Anon., Pirqe Rabbi Eliezer, 31

Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
aqedah, role of god in philos version of Feldman, Judaism and Hellenism Reconsidered (2006) 276
aqedah Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 309
child sacrifice Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 309
god, oath of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 309
isaac, as reward Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 309
oath of god Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 309
passions, freedom from Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 309
paul Marcar, Divine Regeneration and Ethnic Identity in 1 Peter: Mapping Metaphors of Family, Race, and Nation (2022) 185
sacrifice of isaac, as binding Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 309
sacrifice of isaac, isaacs participation in Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 309
sacrifice of isaac, literal interpretation of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 309
sacrifice of isaac, rewarded by god Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 309
sacrifice of isaac Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 309
ἀπάθεια' Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 309