After Isaac had laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac on the altar upon the
wood, Abraham braced his arms, rolled up his garments, and leaned his knees
upon Isaac with all his strength. And God, sitting upon His throne, high and
exalted, saw how the hearts of the two were the same, and tears were rolling
down from the eyes of Abraham upon Isaac, and from Isaac down upon the wood,
so that it was submerged in tears.
When Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his sons,
God spoke to the angels: "Do you see how Abraham my friend proclaims the unity
of My Name in the world? Had I hearkened unto you at the time of the creation
of the world, when you spoke saying, 'What is man, that You are mindful of
And the son of man, that You visit him?' Who would there have been to make
known the unity of My Name in this world?"
The angels then broke into loud weeping, and they exclaimed: "The highways lie
waste, the wayfaring man ceases, he has broken the covenant. Where is the reward
of Abraham, he who took the wayfarers into his house, gave them food and drink,
and went with them to bring them on his way? The covenant is broken, whereof
You spoke to him, saying, 'For in Isaac shall your seed be called," and saying,
'My covenant will I establish with Isaac'; for the slaughtering knife is set
upon his throat."
The tears of the angels
fell upon the knife, so that it could not cut Isaac's throat, but from
terror his soul escaped from him. Then God spoke to the archangel Michael,
and said, "Why do you stand here? Let him not be slaughtered." Without
delay, Michael, anguish in his voice, cried out: "Abraham! Abraham! Lay
not your hand upon the lad, neither do you anything unto him!" Abraham
made answer and said, "God did command me to slaughter Isaac and you command
me NOT to slaughter him. The words of the Teacher and the words of the
disciple unto whose words should one hearken?"
Abraham heard it said, "By myself have I sworn, said the Lord, because
you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son,
that in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply
your seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the
seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in
your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have
obeyed My voice."
At once Abraham left off from Isaac, who returned to life, revived by
the heavenly voice admonishing Abraham not to slaughter his son....
And because the angels wept, and their tears fell upon Isaac's eyes as
he lay bound upon the altar, his eyes were weakened. As it says, "And
it came to pass, when Isaac was old and his eyes were dim..."