J. Schweig, Jerusalem

AQEDAH, the Binding of Isaac. The test. Abraham is commanded by God to sacrifice his son Isaac as a burnt offering (Genesis 22:1–19). Abraham obeys, traveling to the mountains of Moriah. There he prepares to sacrifice his son. At the last moment—the knife raised—he is stopped by a command from above. A ram caught in a thicket is to serve as the sacrifice instead. The mosaic panel at Beth Alpha depicts this Biblical account in three scenes: On the right panel are Abraham, Isaac and the altar ablaze with fire. Abraham holds the knife in one hand and his small son in the other. The center scene shows the hand of God restraining the sacrifice of Isaac. A ram by a tree will be the substitute sacrifice. On the left are the two youths standing by the donkey saddled with the wood for the sacrificial fire. According to the Biblical account, they accompanied Abraham and Isaac partway on their journey to Moriah.