2211 And the Lord’s messenger called out to Abraham from the heavens, “Abraham! Abraham!”
Abraham said, “Here I am.”
12 The messenger said, “Do not reach out your hand against the lad; do not do anything to him. Now I know that you are in awe of God and did not hold back your son, your only son, from me.” 13 Abraham raised his eyes and saw a ram ]caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went, took the ram, and offered it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 Abraham named that place, “YHWH Sees.”As the saying is today:“On YHWH’s mountain is sight.”
Isaac is bound. Abraham is prepared to slaughter Isaac with an implement of the butchering trade. A cosmic pause.
A messenger from YHWH speaks from the heavens. Abraham has heard this voice in Haran and Mamre and other places. Hagar heard this voice at Beer-Lahai-Roi. This time the word from the messenger is, “Stop!”
What is revealed is a test. Later Job’s tester will not be called “messenger” but “satan.” How the messenger was able to divine Abraham’s intention to have his hand descend to slaughter Isaac is not known. If it could be told at this moment that Abraham was prepared to strike down Isaac and would not take the option to remain paused before the death blow, but extend it into eternity, why could that have not been called earlier—as he left Beer-Sheba?
Until the strike is completed, there could always be a spasm of anticipatory regret and a misplaced blow that would only injure Isaac, making him unclean for further sacrifice. Whether Isaac was sacrificed or not, the family will not be the same. Abraham vindicated, does not take into account Sarah wounded unto death, and Isaac distanced from both his father and his father’s G*D.
Or was this a trick, not a test? The very vehicle of “multiply and be fruitful” appeared to be at risk. However, this magician god had already prepared the final reveal that dissolves the mark’s confusion, inattention, and tension. Just like pulling a rabbit from a hat, there appears a ram caught in a thicket.
Abraham unbinds Isaac, binds the ram, aids an exhausted Isaac off the wood, places the ram on the wood, and proceeds with his worship of YHWH.
With nary a word about Isaac, Abraham doubles-down on this event being about him. Abraham does a re-naming of this place, from Moriah to YHWH-Yireh (The Lord Sees).
G*D sees Abraham’s intention and invites Abraham to raise his eyes to see G*D’s intention to work through the seed of Isaac—even if he does not laugh anymore