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Abraham and Isaac revisited
poetry reading from As Simple As Soap by Tobin Mueller
Jump to: Lyrics As Simple As Soap album
Poetry Text

Abraham had one Great Wish:
To have kids.

imagine the moment, after it took so long for that Wish to come true,
when Abraham heard “The Voice of Promise” return to him,
with a shocking command, an insanely twisted sadistic test:

Take your son, your only son Isaac,
whom you love,
and slaughter him for me…

Who would do such a thing?
Slay your son, or try to, in the name of... anything?
Hard to imagine.

The terror and confusion in the boy’s eyes,
his father towering over him, that big hand descending...
[sigh] that part’s not so hard to imagine.
Leave out the knife, is it all that uncommon?
But the arc of that dagger… it must’ve replayed in Isaac’s head over and over
like a 9/11 video-loop.
How many times he must’ve thought:
Am I nothing more than a sacrifice?
Fodder for Father?

I used to feel for Isaac.
But, as I grow older, I empathize more with Abraham.
He went through way more anguish, if you ask me.

I’ve tried to put a different spin on it:
Perhaps the Abraham was showing the world
that child sacrifice is a bad idea?
After all, if the angel hadn’t’ve intervened, it would’ve been pretty embarrassing.
What kind of moral would they be trying to sell then?
Or... maybe there was no angel at all and Abraham made that part up?
Maybe he was betting God wouldn’t be paying attention,
wouldn’t realize He was being tricked with the whole divine intervention story.
Of course, if that had been the case, Abraham could have let his son in on the ruse
a little earlier, but, hey, who can trust a kid to keep quiet?

Do you think Abraham ever questioned the whole set up?
Not the God part, not even the parenting part.
But the “why me?” part. The “How did I get myself into this predicament” part?
Think about it. If he never had any kids to begin with,
none of this whole sordid business would have happened.

Without the deals he had to make in order to have kids,
in order to one day become the “great Patriarch”
with lands to pass on and a successor to anoint,
he could have lived his life free of covenants,
free of altars,
free of the awkwardness he must’ve felt holding that stupid dagger up in the air.
He could’ve been free of parental responsibilities.
Free of so many headaches, burdens, blame.
He could’ve been free of debt, for godsakes!
He would’ve been able to simply dig wells, which was one of his favorite activities.
Digging wells is a good business.
If he hadn’t’ve wanted kids so badly,
to be the father of a whole “People”
he could have ignored God like the rest of us.
What an innocent life I could have led,
he might've suddenly realized.

Maybe this is what he was really thinking
as he walked back to his wife
on that fateful day,
his traumatized son trailing behind.

(...As a father myself
I wonder if he ever considered that the whole mess was his own damn fault?
Start to finish.

Eh, I doubt.
He probably figured, what the hell,
things turned out well enough in the end.)

"Abraham and Isaac revisited" ©1998, 2016 Tobin Mueller

As Simple As Soap

Return to the As Simple As Soap page.

Other lyrics pages from As Simple As Soap

  1. As Simple As Soap
  2. Old
  3. The Fall
  4. Puzzle People
  5. Wall of Heaven
  6. The Cigarette
  7. Under the Basement Stairs
  8. To Die Awake
  9. Abraham and Isaac revisited
  10. Swing Set Music