Abraham and Holocaust – Theology Essay
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary has three definitions for the term holocaust. The following are the definitions: “1) a sacrifice consumed by fire; 2) a thorough destruction involving extensive loss of life especially through fire; 3a) the mass slaughter of
European civilians and especially Jews by the Nazis during World War II – usually used with the; and 3b) a mass slaughter of people.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definitions (1 and 2) are clearly the ones used in Genesis 22:2-8.
The Douay Genesis translation includes a reference to the holocaust when God asked Abraham to sacrifice son. Genesis 22:2-8 states, “He said to him: Take thy only begotten son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and go into the land of vision; and there thou shalt offer him for an holocaust upon one of the mountains which I will shew thee. So Abraham rising up in the night, saddled his ass, and took with him two young men, and Isaac his son: and when he had cut wood for the holocaust, he went his way to the place which God had commanded him. And on the third day, lifting up his eyes, he saw the place afar off. And he said to his young men: Stay you here with the ass; I and the boy will go with speed as far as yonder, and after we have worshipped, will return to you. And he took the wood for the holocaust, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he himself carried in his hands fire and a sword. And as they two went on together, Isaac said to his father: My father. And he answered: What wilt thou, son? Behold, saith he, fire and wood: where is the victim for the holocaust? And Abraham said: God will provide himself a victim for an holocaust, my son. So they went on together.”
The meaning of the word holocaust is clearly stated by Douay in Genesis. In Genesis 22:2-8, the word holocaust is used to describe the sacrifice that God has asked Abraham to make for him. In Genesis 22:3, it describes where Abraham begins to cut up wood to be used for fire that he will need to carry through with the holocaust/sacrifice. In 22:7, Abraham is described as carrying fire in his hands to start the fire. The story also depicts that Isaac understands that there will be a sacrifice, but he does not know that he was chose by God to be the sacrifice.
As listed in The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition 3, “the Holocaust” is used to describe the killing of millions of Jews by the Nazis during World War II. It is used to describe the killing because the Jews were placed in oven like rooms and burned to death by the Nazis. The Nazis wanted to purify their country by killing all the Jews. As with the sacrifice of Isaac, many of the Jews did not know they would be burned to death.
Merriam-Webster OnLine (http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary)
Good News Bible – Genesis 22:2-8