Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Sacrifice of Isaac (Rembrandt)


Abraham's great hand covers the mouth and eyes
Of his son; the thrust of the knife so imminent
The angel's grip must knock it from his hand.
"Burnt offering," he was told, so meant to slice
The throat as he would a ram's. God is silent.
The angel, we assume at his Master's command,
Points to Heaven and explains away the slaughter.
Abraham has proven his fear of God, which is all
That's required. In reward, his sons and daughters
Will multiply like stars; his enemies' gates will fall,
And his seed will bless all the nations of the earth.
To the old man it must feel like his own rebirth.
Though his face shows neither terror nor relief,
There is bafflement at the grim power of his belief.

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