G-D's Relationship With Avraham

G-D's Relationship With Avraham

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There are many biblical scholars in this world that believe in the JEDP theory when the Old Testament should be looked at as one literary whole. The JEDP theorists believe that the Old Testament was compiled by four different sources; the Yahwist, Elohist, Deuteronomist, and Priestly sources. There are many passages in the bible that can confirm the JEDP theory, but when examined closely one could see the similarities in the passages that were supposedly written at different times by different groups of people. JEDP theory believers assume that Genesis 12:1-9 was written by the J source or Yahwists, and Genesis 22:1-19 was written by the E source or Elohists, with some J material intertwined. When looked at more closely a reader can see that these two passages actually have similarities that would suggest that the Old Testament should be looked at as one literary whole instead of four different documents put together. By looking at language similarities and themes both of these texts are linked and parallel each other in many ways.
The first connection is probably the most easily seen by the common reader which is the use of language in both texts. In Genesis 12:1 according to Fox's translation it says, "YHWH said to Avram: Go-you-forth from your land…" and similarly in Genesis 22:2 G-d says, "… and go-you-forth to the land of Moriyya/Seeing." In both cases when G-d is speaking to Avram, who is later renamed Avraham, G-d uses the term "go-you-forth" If these two sections of the bible had actually been written by different sources at different times then how come the same words are used? The answer is that they were not written by different sources but the reason the same language is used for both is because it is one source. Had it been written by two different sources there would most likely be different words used for, go-you-forth, like travel, journey or move. The fact that the source of the Old Testament chose to use the word "go-you-forth" for both of these passages meant that there was supposed to be a link between the two especially because it is G-d speaking these words in both situations.
Besides for the obvious language connection there are also many thematic connections that would unite the two passages to the same source.

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In the case of slaughter sites there are two connections throughout the text. The first is connected through language. In both cases the place where the offering is going to take place is referred to as a, "slaughter-site". In Genesis 12:7 it states, "He [Avram] built a slaughter-site there" and in Genesis 22:9 it states, "There Avraham built the slaughter-site." The likenesses of the two phrases are too close to be two different sources. A thematic resemblance between the two slaughter-sites has to do with what occurred after they were built. Once Avram/Avraham made his sacrifice to G-d he then continued on his journey. This goes along with the theory that alters could be made anywhere and whoever compiled the bible must have believed that as opposed to believing that the Temple was the only place to make sacrifices.
One of the most thematic likenesses between these two passages comes from the idea of offspring. In both of these chapters Avram/Avraham is told that his will either "make a great nation" (Genesis 12:2) or "I [G-d] will make your seed many, yes, many" (Genesis 22:17). Even before Isaac is born to Sarai and Avraham G-d speaks of Avraham's seed, implying that he will have children. In Chapter 22 when Avraham brings Isaac up to be sacrificed G-d again says that Avraham will have many many offspring. This connects the idea that even though Avraham thought Sarai was barren and thought that he was going to kill his only son, he was wrong and he was going to make a great nation through his offspring. These two passages having the offspring or seed as a central part involve the importance of Avraham's progeny to the continuance of the Jewish people.
Another central theme in both of these passages is Avram/Avraham journeying for G-d. In Genesis 12:1-9 G-d tells Avram to leave the land of his father's and go to the land that G-d leads him to. Avram goes to this land and builds an slaughter-site for G-d. This is what some would call blind faith. Avram disrupts his whole life and leaves all that he knows and takes his wife and family to "the land". Shortly after that in Genesis 22:2 G-d tells Avraham to leave with Isaac for "one of the mountains that I will tell you of." Again Avraham has blind faith and takes his son to this unknown land just because G-d tells him to. With both of these stories a reader would take out of the story that sometimes one has to believe with blind faith. This concept is extremely important to Genesis because at this point there is no reason for anyone to believe in G-d. In later parts of the bible there are major miracles that can confirm one's faith in G-d but at the time of Avraham there was no such thing, Avraham believed blindly that G-d was leading him in the right direction. This theme is extremely important and is reiterated in both of these passages.
Looking at these two sections as separate works of literature is completely illogical. Besides the fact that they are linguistically linked more importantly there are relating themes. The similarities between these two encounters with G-d and Avraham are uncanny and have to be connected to the same literary source. Although the JEDP theory has some knowledgeable reasoning the Old Testament has to be looked at as a literary whole to be fully understood.
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