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Catholic Dictionary




The son of Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 21:2-3). A few years after his birth, Yahweh tested Abraham's obedience by ordering him to sacrifice the growing boy as a burnt offering. Without hesitation Abraham set out with Isaac to the designated spot, built an altar, and prepared to kill his son as an offering to Yahweh. But an angel intervened, Isaac was spared, and Yahweh praised Abraham for his unquestioning obedience (Genesis 22:1-19). When Isaac was forty years old, his father arranged his marriage to Rebekah, who lived in the land of Abraham's kinfolk (Genesis 24). Eventually they had two sons, Esau and Jacob. In Isaac's old age a bitter enmity developed between the two sons because of Jacob's duplicity (Genesis 25:19-28). Isaac, blind and feeble, wanted to bestow his blessing on Esau, but Jacob, assisted by the conniving Rebekah, received it instead. Many years passed before the brothers were reconciled (Genesis 27:1-40). Isaac died at the age of one hundred eighty and was buried in Hebron (Genesis 35:28-29).