God Promises to Abraham

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After going through the pain of childbirth, naming their babies, seeing their children grow up, and dreaming of their futures, filicide is usually far from the minds of most parents. The emotional ties that parents share with their children are hard to sever, yet in Genesis the culture was accepting of child sacrifices. The fear of the gods was stronger in ancient times, when science was lacking appropriate explanations, and so gods were believed to cause natural events. If the God from Genesis, who was much more powerful than any man and exponentially more vengeful, told parents to sacrifice their child, for the sake of their family (and the rest of the population for that matter), then the pious parents would sacrifice that child—even if the intent was not to kill, but to test worshipers. Modern culture frowns upon the act of filicide, and parallels Greek society’s view that child sacrifice was not an option. Yet, even in that society, Medea commits filicide with hardly any involvement of a Greek god or a seer. Medea willfully chooses to execute her offspring with prideful malice in response to her unfaithful husband in a disapproving society, while Abraham in Genesis piously follows his God and the social norms of his time by offering up his beloved child—and is saved from his loss because of his great faith. The audience of Medea would be repulsed with her selfish motives while Abraham (whose wife was barren for many years) would be praised for his immovable trust in God’s promises. God promises Abraham that He will “make your [Abraham’s] offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore” (Genesis 22:17). Abraham is married to Sarah who “was barren; she had no children” (11: 30). Ch... ... middle of paper ... ...r own children—that was written by Euripides. The chorus, who signifies the common people and the women of Corinth, pleads with Medea to reconsider her choice after they name her “most unholy woman” for considering this act. They have only heard of “just one other woman/who dared to attack, to hurt her own children” and so supports that child-killing was not the norm (1323-24). Medea’s hamartia would have been her intense hubris and stubbornness that caused her to kill her children. The audience would not have felt as much sympathy to Medea as they would have given Abraham, the pious follower. Medea’s power struggle was not something the average citizen would have to deal with and the culture would not have been supportive. Abraham, however, was justified in his culture and did what he believed to be right, and so was rewarded by the salvation of his first born.

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