About two weeks ago New Testament scholar Scot McKnight interviewed me about my recent book Abraham’s Silence: The Binding of Isaac, the Suffering of Job, and How to Talk Back to God (Baker Academic, 2021).
In the book I suggest that we have misunderstood the nature of the test God gave Abraham in Genesis 22 and that Abraham failed (or barely passed) the real test. I argue that the test was not whether Abraham would obey God, but whether he could discern that God’s character as merciful (that is, God wanted Abraham to realize that he didn’t really require child sacrifice).
The way Abraham would have shown that would have been by protesting the command God gave him to sacrifice his son; he should have interceded on behalf of Isaac. And God would have granted his request.
Of course, this goes against much traditional interpretation of Genesis 22. So if you want to understand why I read Genesis 22 differently, you might be interested in the podcast.
It was one of the more enjoyable podcast interviews I’ve done.
This is the description Scot has of the interview on the “Kingdom Roots” website:
It is traditional to think we should praise Abraham for his willingness to sacrifice his son as proof of his love for God. But have we misread the point of the story? Is it possible that a careful reading of Genesis 22 could reveal that God was not pleased with Abraham’s silent obedience?
Richard Middleton provides a fresh interpretation of Genesis 22 and reinforces the church’s resurgent interest in lament as an appropriate response to God. Belief in God doesn’t mean you’re forced to say what you think God wants you to say. God can and wants to hear your raw and honest requests.
Scot previously wrote a blog post about the book (and the upcoming podcast), called, “Was Abraham a Good Example?” I reposted it on my own blog site.
If you listened to the podcast, I would be interested in comments.