Isaac Offered as a Sacrifice to God – 1871 B.C. & Custom and Law in Ancient Mesopotamia

Hands OutI see You made the promise good about the child.  I’m anxious to see what happens next.  This is an interesting story, You should write it out and get it published, I bet it would be a best seller.

There is no data proving when the following occurred, but according to Jewish Historian Titus Flavius Josephus, it happened in 1871 B.C., when Isaac was 25 years old.

Isaac Offered as a Sacrifice to God 1871 B.C.

“And it came to pass after these things that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. 

Mount Moriah Mt. Gerizim
Mount Moriah (Mt. Gerizim)
In the Old Testament, Abraham was commanded to sacrifice his Son, Isaac in Genesis 22. In order to properly present the sacrifice, Abraham and Isaac ascended Mt. Moriah. It was on this mountain that God saw Abraham’s faithfulness and rewarded him, sparing Isaac.
No one is quite sure where this mountain is because the names of mountains have changed over time. However, many believe that Mt. Moriah is the same mountain as Mt. Gerizim.
The Samaritans considered Mt. Gerizim to be the same as Mt. Moriah, and have considered it a holy place since ancient times. They went to Mt. Gerizim to worship and present their offerings.

And he said, take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of  2 Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. 

Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. 

And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. 

And Isaac spake 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? 

And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

And they came to the place, which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. 

And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 

And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. 

And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a 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.

And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen” (Gen 22:1-14).

1 This symbolizes the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (Jn 3:16). 

God wouldn’t let Abraham kill Isaac, nor would God let Jesus stay dead. 

Abraham hadn’t known that He would or even could resurrect Isaac after he killed him, but it didn’t matter, he did what God told him to do because he trusted Him.

2. Mount Ophen Mount Zion and Mount Moriah
The mountains associated with Jerusalem today are Mount Ophen, Mount Zion and Mount Moriah. It’s believed that Mount Ophen is actually part of Mount Moriah which rises to 2,549 feet.

The Temple Mount sets at 2,428 feet. I believe the entire City of David was built on the lowest part of Mount Moriah.

2 Mount Moriah is the rocky hilltop of Jerusalem north of the old Jebusite city of Jerusalem where Solomon built the temple.  Actually the place earlier had been called the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, David bout it so he could offer a substitutionary sacrifice for himself and his house after he met the angel of death there during the great plague (2 Sam 24:17). 

The writer of 2 Chr 3:1 calls the site Mount Moriah.  Joseph, the first century Jewish historian, linked the site of the offering of Isaac with the site of the temple (Antiquities I, xiii.2)

Rabbinic literature follows this identification, and so does Muslim folklore concerning the Dome of the Rock, which stands there now.  Substitutionary sacrifices of Abraham and David at the site and the whole sacrificial system of the temple point forward to the substitutionary work of Christ on the cross.

Custom and Law in Ancient Mesopotamia

ur nammu law tablet
The Ur-Nammu law code is the oldest known, written about 300 years before Hammurabi’s law code.
When first found in 1901, the laws of Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC) were heralded as the earliest known laws.
Now older collections are known: They are laws of the town Eshnunna (ca. 1800 BC), the laws of King Lipit-Ishtar of Isin (ca. 1930 BC), and Old Babylonian copies (ca. 1900-1700 BC) of the Ur-Nammu law code , with 26 laws of the 57.
This cylinder is the first copy found that originally had the whole text of the code, and it is the world’s oldest law code.
Further it actually mentions the name of Ur-Nammu for the first time.

Laws from ancient Meso­potamia provide various interesting parallels to the Genesis stories. In particular, numerous regulations illustrate the marriage and inher­itance issues found in the accounts of the patriarchs.

For example: Just as Sarai procured an heir for Abram through her maid, the Sumerian laws of Ur-Nammu (founder and ruler of Ur’s Third Dynasty, c.2044—2007 B.C. allowed a husband to take a concubine after waiting in vain for his primary wife to bear children.

As in Sarai’s case, the primary wife might even have initiated the arrangement.

Hurrian law at Nuzi (mid-second mil­lennium B.C.) and the Code of Hammurabi in Babylonia (early 18th century B.C.) allowed a man to adopt as legitimate heirs any children he may have fathered through a slave woman.

In Sumer, the eldest son inherited the whole of his father’s estate and assumed responsibility for his siblings. But in Assyria and Nuzi brothers divided their father’s estate, with the eldest son receiving a double portion.

Nuzi law permitted inheritance rights to be transferred to a son born to the primary wife after she had adopted her surrogate’s son.

In a similar manner Isaac (although born after Ishmael) had the right to be Abraham’s chief heir.

Neo-Babylonian law included the pro­vision that sons born to a concubine would be subordinate to any sons born to the pri­mary wife and that the combined sons of the primary wife would inherit two-thirds of the estate.

The disinheritance of a son, a practice allowed in certain societies, generally required a court order that might be officially overturned if the father were found to have acted unfairly.

Some scholars, based upon such a prohibition in Nuzi law, have questioned the legality of Sarah’s demand to expel Hagar and Ishmael, which by analogy may indi­cate that Abraham lived under similar customs and laws.

4. Neo Babylonian
Neo-Babylonian, about 555-540 BC – From Sippar, southern Iraq This clay cuneiform cylinder was discovered in the Temple of Shamash at Sippar.

It records the pious reconstruction by Nabonidus (reigned 555-539 BC) of the temples of the moon-god Sin in Harran and of the sun-god Shamash and goddess Anunitum at Sippar.

He tells us that during the work at Sippar, inscriptions of older kings Naram-Sin (2254-2218 B.C.) and Shagaraki-shuriash (1245-1233 B.C.) were discovered, and Nabonidus offers dates that considerably exaggerate their age.

Nabonidus came to the throne after the assassination of two of the successors of Nebuchadnezzar, even though he had no direct family connection with the Babylonian royal family.

He was old enough to have a mature son (Bel-shar-usur, the biblical Belshezzar – the story of him wetting his pants and being killed by God is in the Book of Daniel) and was almost certainly an experienced soldier.

A number of Nabonidus’ inscriptions include historical references intended to show that his irregular accession to the throne had the blessing of the gods and of earlier Babylonian kings. Linked to this concern for legitimacy are the recurring references to Nabonidus’ search for earlier buildings in the course of his own reconstruction work.

Collecting ancient documents and objects was already practised, for example, at Ashurbanipal’s library at his palace at Nineveh. In the ruins of the Northern Palace at Babylon a museum-like collection of ‘antiquities’ was found, apparently collected by Nebuchadnezzar and his successors.

This was probably still visible in Persian times.

Indeed, Abraham was hesitant to comply with Sarah’s wish and did so only after divine inter­vention.

In addition to family legislation, cer­tain laws and customs concerning con­tracts and other agreements mentioned in Genesis had parallels in Mesopotamia.

Treaties discovered at Mari and modern Tell Leilan (from the early 2nd millen­nium B.C.) are strikingly similar to the treaty reports in Gen 21,26, 31:

* In each case a formal oath was requested and given.

* The oaths were followed by reports of stipulations, frequently including a pledge of non-hostility.

* The oaths generally involved ceremonial feasts or sacrifices (Gen 26:30) and a gift exchange of sorts, particularly if the parties to the agreement had met in person.

The Mesopotamian cultural milieu from which the patriarchs emerged helps us to understand patriarchal social structures and practices reported throughout Genesis.

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