Kill Me A Son

Today in my Intro to the Old Testament class we talked about the Akedah (the Binding of Isaac) in Genesis 22. While going through interpretations of the passage, I talked about interpretations from Jewish and Christian theologians and philosophers, showed works from Donatello, Caravaggio, and Rembrandt, and also played Loenard Cohen’s “Story of Isaac” and the first part of Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited.”

Seeing how each interprets the story a little differently fascinates me. Dylan’s interpretation is especially poignant.

Oh God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son”
Abe says, “Man, you must be puttin’ me on”
God say, “No.” Abe say, “What?”
God say, “You can do what you want Abe, but
The next time you see me comin’ you better run”
Well Abe says, “Where do you want this killin’ done?”
God says, “Out on Highway 61”

Dylan, in my opinion, appropriately highlights both the questionable moral character of a God that would ask such a thing and the same of a father who would agree, under any circumstances, to sacrifice his child.


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