The Parable of the Old Man and the Young Man

It is the Vigil of Easter, Holy Saturday. Those of us who have a liturgical tradition read as many as twelve lessons from the Old Testament as we await the resurrection. The Old Testament readings give us hope. They focus our thoughts on the question: If God has done this in the past what more can we expect of him today?

One of the readings is the story of Abraham’s sacrifice. I’ve posted two versions of the story below. Both of them have very different endings.

The Parable Of The Old Man And The Young Man

So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
And took the fire with him, and a knife.
And as they sojourned both of them together,
Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps
and builded parapets and trenches there,
And stretchèd forth the knife to slay his son.
When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
Neither do anything to him, thy son.
Behold! Caught in a thicket by its horns,
A Ram. Offer the Ram of Pride instead.
But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

Wilfred Owen

Abraham, worth a righteous one
Take up on the wood
Put it on your son
Lake or lamb
There is none to harm
When the angel came
You had raised your arm

Abraham, put off on your son
Take instead the ram
Until Jesus comes

I somehow prefer Sufjan’s telling.


One thought on “The Parable of the Old Man and the Young Man

  1. Pingback: The Parable of the Old Man and the Young Man | Uncle Frog

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