15 And it came to pass in the seventh week, in the first year thereof, [2003 A.M.] in the first month in this jubilee, on the twelfth of this month, there were voices in heaven regarding Abraham, that he was faithful in all that He told him, and that he loved the Lord, and that in every affliction he was faithful. 16 And the prince Mastêmâ came and said before God, 'Behold, Abraham loves Isaac his son, and he delights in him above all things else; bid him offer him as a burnt-offering on the altar, and Thou wilt see if he will do this command, and Thou wilt know if he is faithful in everything wherein Thou dost try him. 17 And the Lord knew that Abraham was faithful in all his afflictions; for He had tried him through his country and with famine, and had tried him with the wealth of kings, and had tried him again through his wife, when she was torn (from him), and with circumcision; and had tried him through Ishmael and Hagar, his maid-servant, when he sent them away.
Sanhedrin 89bBabylonian Talmud
Rabbi Yoḥanan said in the name of Rabbi Yosei ben Zimra: This means after the statement [devarav] of Satan, as it is written: “And the child grew, and was weaned, and Abraham prepared a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned” (Genesis 21:8). Satan said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, this old man, you favored him with a product of the womb, i.e., a child, at one hundred years of age. From the entire feast that he prepared, did he not have even one dove or one pigeon to sacrifice before You as a thanks-offering? God said to Satan: Did Abraham prepare the feast for any reason but for his son? If I say to him: Sacrifice your son before Me, he would immediately slaughter him. Immediately, after these matters, the verse states: “And God tried Abraham.”
Notes and References
"... But even this inspiring narrative raised questions for early interpreters. Why, to begin with, should God want to test Abraham? Certainly not in order to find out whether Abraham was worthy. For, as we have just seen, Abraham had already proven himself worthy many times in the past ... In seeking the answer to these questions, interpreters looked to other parts of the Bible, in particular, to the book of Job, another biblical figure whom God had tested. In his case, however, the test was initiated not by God but by Satan, who in effect challenged God's high opinion of Job: 'Do some harm to him, indeed, afflict all that he has, and then see if he does not curse You to Your face' (Job 1:11). To ancient interpreters it seemed plausible that, with regard to Abraham as well, God may have received a challenge from Satan or some other angel(s) ..."
Kugel, James L. The Bible as it Was (pp. 170-171) Harvard University Press, 1998
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